Icos Corp. announced Thursday that it has filed aninvestigational new drug (IND) application for a humanizedmonoclonal antibody to treat multiple sclerosis.

The antibody targets leukointegrin, a small adhesive moleculeinvolved in the trafficking of white blood cells into the brain.Icos' executive vice president of finance and administration,Janice LeCocq, said the antibody acts to stop the trafficking ofthe cells and the chewing up of the myelin (the lining of thebrain) that occurs in multiple sclerosis.

Last year Icos (NASDAQ:ICOS) of Seattle reported results of apreclinical trial of the luekointegrin antibody at theOppenheimer & Co. Inc. annual health-care conference (seeBioWorld, Oct. 23, 1992). Macaque monkeys with experimentalallergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) were treated with theantibody for seven days and had complete resolution of theEAE disease.

LeCocq said the company has not yet identified any otherproducts, but has several novel molecules in the research andclinical phase for potential use in chronic inflammatorydiseases.

In addition to adhesion molecules, Icos is also developingphosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors, a group of enzymes thatregulate certain signal transduction pathways. Icos iscollaborating with Glaxo on the PDE research.

Icos also has an ICAM-R modulator in early development. Thecompany said this intracellular adhesion molecule may play arole in the earliest stages of inflammation and T cell activation.

Icos' stock was up 63 cents a share on Thursday, closing at$6.25. -- Brenda Sandburg

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