Marion Merrell Dow Inc. (MMD) has decided not to exercise itsoption to license Gensia Inc.'s adenosine regulating agent (ARA)GP-1-531 for use in cardiovascular disease.

Gensia announced Monday that it will take over the product'sdevelopment along with Aramed Inc., the special-purposecorporation it formed in November 1991. Aramed has therights to develop the intravenous forms of the ARA compoundsfor cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, as well asintravenous and oral forms of ARAs for epilepsy and acuteseizures. In addition, Aramed has the right to develop in NorthAmerica and Europe the intravenous forms of ARA compoundsthat MMD does not license.

MMD had first rights to the compound under a 1990 technologyoption and license agreement with Gensia (NASDAQ: GNSA). Theagreement gave MMD first rights only to the oral formulationof ARA compounds. MMD licensed the first of Gensia's ARAcompounds, GP-1-468-3, last August; that compound isscheduled to begin Phase I clinicals in the first half of 1994.

The ARA compounds are analogs of Arasine, for which Gensiafiled a new drug application (NDA) in 1992 for use in cardiacand non-cardiac surgery. Three or four additional ARAs are toenter Phase I clinicals in 1993 and 1994 for a broad array ofconditions, including cardiovascular, cerebrovascular andneurological diseases and inflammation. Gensia said severalothers are also being considered for development.

ARAs have been shown to increase blood flow, reducereocclusions and reduce both granulocyte activation andproduction of oxygen-free radicals, which would otherwisecause extensive tissue damage. The ARAs apparently work byaugmenting the level of adenosine triphosphate, an energysource that is severely reduced during myocardial ischemia.

"We are very excited about having the rights back to developthe oral applications of GP-1-531 at Gensia and the intravenousforms with Aramed," Gensia chairman, president and chiefexecutive officer David Hale stated.

Gensia will develop the intravenous form of GP-1-531 forAramed to use in the treatment of acute cardiovascular disease;Gensia has the rights to develop the orally active forms of thecompound. Gensia plans to develop GP-1-531 for chroniccardiovascular disease. It also has a 1992 agreement withAllergan Inc. for development of ARAs for use as an eyetreatment.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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