Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced Wednesday that it hasbeen awarded its third U.S. patent on bactericidal permeabilityenhancing protein (BPI).

The patent, number 5,234,912, covers compositions andmethods directed to liposomal and other lipid and detergentformulations of BPI. "The patent covers liposome compositionsof BPI, BPI fragments, variants and chimeras, and phospholipidand detergent formulations which enhance BPI solubility andstability," explained Roy Whitfield, Incyte's president and chiefexecutive officer.

BPI is a human neutrophil protein that serves as the body'snatural inactivator of endotoxin and may have potentialtherapeutic value for treating septic shock, adult respiratorydistress syndrome and other disorders resulting from Gram-negative bacterial infection in the blood and other tissues.

Privately held Incyte of Palo Alto, Calif., holds two otherpatents on BPI. U.S. Patent No. 5,089,274, which issued inFebruary 1992, covers the use of human BPI, or analogs orfragments of the protein, for treating endotoxin-relateddisorders. The patent also claims ways to purify BPI.

And U.S. Patent No. 5,171,739, which issued to Incyte inDecember 1992, covers genetically engineered BPI variants andtheir prophylactic applications.

Genentech Inc. (NYSE:GNE), whose scientists originally clonedthe BPI protein in collaboration with researchers at New YorkUniversity (NYU), entered into a $14 million collaboration withIncyte in September 1991 to develop BPI. Under the terms ofthat agreement, Genentech licensed Incyte's technology forclinical development in return for exclusive marketing rights inthe U.S. and Europe.

Genentech also gave Incyte the option of resuming control overthe pace of clinical development. The two companies revisedtheir BPI agreement last March. Under the new terms, Incytenow holds worldwide rights to all Incyte and Genentechtechnology related to BPI. Genentech agreed to increase itsequity stake in Incyte from 10 percent to an undisclosedamount in Incyte's next round of financing and will receive aroyalty on BPI product sales.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.