Athena Neurosciences Inc. announced that it intends to acquirea novel formulation of the drug diazepam for treating epilepsyfrom Upsher-Smith Laboratories Inc.

The drug, Diastat, is designed to be administered rectally topatients suffering from a form of epilepsy characterized bymultiple, acute, repetitive seizures (known as ARS). Severe ARScan lead to neurological damage or even death in children andadolescents. Diastat, which is to be administered in the patient'shome, should work rapidly to abort the seizures.

The National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke(NINDS) is conducting Phase III clinical trials on the drug.Subject to regulatory approval, Athena (NASDAQ:ATHN) ofSouth San Francisco, Calif., intends to initiate additional PhaseIII studies on Diastat and to file a new drug application (NDA)in 1995. Diastat has qualified for orphan drug designation fortreating ARS.

"The main benefits of Diastat include rapid interruption ofseizures, ease and safety of administration at home andreduction in the need for hospital emergency room treatment,"said Jan Wallace, Athena's vice president of clinical andregulatory affairs. -- Jennifer Van Brunt

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