Antisense drug developer Genta Inc. and ophthalmic drugdelivery specialist InSite Vision announced Tuesday that theywill join forces to formulate and test antisense compounds foranti-viral or anti-inflammatory ophthalmic applications.

Genta of San Diego will contribute its Anticode compounds(both antisense and triple-strand constructs), which it isalready researching for applications in dermatological orsystemic treatments, according to chief executive officerThomas Adams. And InSite of Alameda, Calif., will prepare theformulations and conduct the preclinical tests of thosecompounds for ophthalmic applications.

In particular, the collaboration "will allow us to tailor an anti-viral (antisense construct) to a specific viral candidate targetwe have identified," explained Christa Nicholas, a group productdirector at InSite. Ideally, this approach would result in aproduct that kills the virus without any of the toxic side effectsassociated with most current anti-virals, Nicholas said.

As for anti-inflammatories, Genta (NASDAQ:GNTA) is alreadyinvestigating antisense compounds to interleukin-1 (IL-1),which is known to be overproduced during the inflammatoryprocess, for their dermatological applications in psoriasis anddermatitis, said Kenneth Brown, Genta's director of businessdevelopment.

"The beauty of the collaboration for Genta is that we cancapitalize on the oligonucleotides we're already making forother purposes and explore their ophthalmic applications,"Brown told BioWorld.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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