Alkermes Inc. announced that it has initiated two U.S. clinicaltrials evaluating the use of RMP-7, its compound designed toenable drugs to cross the blood-brain barrier.

One of the trials, a Phase I/II, will test the ability of RMP-7 todeliver the anti-infective drug amphotericin B to the centralnervous systems of patients suffering from cryptococcalmeningitis, an AIDS-related opportunistic infection.

The second, a Phase I study, will test the safety of RMP-7 inpatients with brain tumors.

RMP-7 is a synthetic peptide (receptor-mediated permeability-7), developed by Alkermes that transiently increases thepermeability of the blood-brain barrier.

Alkermes (NASDAQ:ALKS) of Cambridge, Mass., also announcedthat it intends to begin three more clinical trials this yeartesting the advanced drug delivery systems it acquired fromEnzytech Inc. in its February merger. One of the systems,ProLease, enables the injectable sustained release of drugs. Theother, OraLease, is designed for oral delivery of drugs.

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