Chemex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has begun a pilot safety andefficacy study with metotrezate, a potential topical treatmentfor severe psoriasis.

Scientists at the Fort Lee, N.J., company (NASDAQ:CHMX)discovered and patented the compound, which is now ownedand developed by a joint venture between Block Drug Co. Inc.and Chemex. There are approximately 1 million patients in theU.S. suffering from severe psoriasis.

Methotrezate is the second psoriasis drug for which Chemexhas begun Phase I studies. In January, the company beganclinical studies of TCV-309, a platelet-activating factorantagonist, for mild to moderate psoriasis. About 3 millionAmericans suffer from this condition.

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