Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has received a second U.S. patent on brain-derivedneurotropic factor (BDNF).

The patent, which covers compositions containing the BDNF protein, was issued to MaxPlanck Institute and Regeneron, which is the exclusive world-wide licensee.

Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) of Tarrytown, N.Y., and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) of ThousandOaks, Calif., announced that they have filed an investigational new drug application (IND)to begin testing BDNF in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig'sdisease).

BDNF is supposed to protect and promote survival of motor neurons that progressivelydegenerate in ALS, an invariably fatal condition that afflicts up to 30,000 Americans andhas no known cause of cure.

Regeneron's first U.S. patent on BDNF covers the gene itself and is also exclusivelylicensed from the Max Planck Institute. It was issued in January.

-- Nancy Garcia