The therapeutic potential of opening and shutting cellular doorscalled potassium channels is the subject of a five-year licensingagreement between pharmaceutical giant Glaxo and a fledglingneuroscience company, NeuroSearch A/S of Copenhagen.

Glaxo's research and development arm, Glaxo Group ResearchLtd. of London, and the 4-year-old neuroscience company willexplore potential therapies for central nervous systemdisorders based on openers and blockers of the high-conductant calcium-activated potassium channel (BK-channel)discovered by NeuroSearch.

Potassium channels help bring cells to a more relaxed, restingcondition. The BK-channels are abundant in nerve cells, airwayand vascular smooth muscle cells, and in pancreatic B-cells. BK-channel modulators already discovered by NeuroSearch haveshown effects in animal models that indicate a possible role intreating CNS disorders, the company said.

Under the agreement, Glaxo will have exclusive rights tocommercialize the collaboration's discoveries worldwide. Glaxowill make research, milestone and royalty payments toNeuroSearch.

Glaxo is the world's second-largest pharmaceutical company interms of sales, and employs more than 45,000 people in 70countries.

NeuroSearch was established in 1989 to pursue chemical-biological discovery research and development programs aloneor in partnership with pharmaceutical companies. NeuroSearchhas synthesized about 1,200 novel substances and has, in sevenresearch programs, discovered novel, unique neurobiologicalmechanisms indicating potential therapeutic use in thetreatment of several important diseases mainly within thecentral nervous system.

Neurosearch has filed "a large number of" patent applicationsthroughout the world, the company announced. In the U.S., 10patents have been issued or have been allowed.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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