British Bio-technology Group plc (BBG) and InSite Vision Inc.announced Tuesday that they have agreed to evaluate BB-882,British Bio-tech's PAF antagonist, as an ocular anti-inflammatory agent.

This is an expansion of the agreement between the twocompanies on developing ocular delivery methods for BBG'splatelet activating factor (PAF) antagonists, which it developsusing computerized molecular modeling and rational drugdesign techniques.

InSite Vision of Alameda, Calif., and British Bio-tech(NASDAQ:BBIOY) of Oxford, England, initiated theircollaboration in November 1992, when they agreed to co-develop BB-94, a metalloproteinase inhibitor. That compound,formulated in InSite's DuraSite delivery system (which is aneyedrop formulation that releases drugs in a sustained fashionas a result of physical erosion of a cross-linked polymer), isnow the subject of an investigational new drug (IND)application filed with the U.S. FDA on April 21.

British Bio-tech is already conducting clinical trials in theUnited Kingdom on its PAF antagonist BB-882 in both oral andinjectable formulations for treating pancreatitis and septicshock.

Phase II trials on the injectable formulation for treatingpancreatitis began in March, Phase IIs on the injectableformulation for treating sepsis were initiated in April, andPhase I trials on an oral formulation for treating asthma,initiated in collaboration with Glaxo Holdings plc in August1992, are still ongoing. The companies expect to enter Phase IItrials on BB-882 in asthma in the first quarter of 1994,according to Erin Burke, a BBG spokeswoman.

BBG's collaborator, InSite, will both fund and conduct the U.S.clinical trials on BB-882 for ocular delivery to treatinflammation. InSite also has the option to negotiate a co-exclusive license to develop, market and manufacture BB-882for ophthalmic applications in North America. British Bio-techretains co-exclusive rights in North America and exclusiverights elsewhere.

In terms of the collaboration on BB-94, InSite will conductPhase I and II clinical studies this year to assess thecompound's efficacy and safety in corneal neovascular disease.

InSite also has ongoing collaborations with Synergen Inc.(NASDAQ:SYGN) and with Genta Inc. InSite and Synergen ofBoulder, Colo., agreed in January 1992 to evaluate IL-1ra(interleukin-1 receptor antagonist) and potentially othercompounds in ocular inflammation. And Genta (NASDAQ:GNTA)of San Diego teamed up with InSite in early May to evaluateantisense compounds for anti-viral or anti-inflammatoryophthalmic applications.

The common factor in all three of InSite's major collaborationswith biotech companies is that they "are not limited to oneproduct," said Christa Nicholas, a group product director atInSite.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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