Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and the Max Planck Institutehave received a U.S. patent covering the gene for brain-derivedneurotrophic factor (BDNF), Regeneron announced Tuesday.

Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN)are jointly developing BDNF for the treatment of neurologicaldiseases. Regeneron is the exclusive licensee of BDNFtechnology from the Max Planck Institute.

Regeneron of Tarrytown, N.Y., said it plans to begin clinicaltrials by midyear to treat diseases of the peripheral nervoussystem through subcutaneous injection of BDNF. The companybelieves that, based on preclinical studies of the agent, it couldhave therapeutic benefit in treating peripheral neuropathiesand nerve injuries, motor neuron diseases such as Lou GehrigLsdiseases, ParkinsonLs disease, AlzheimerLs disease, and retinaland optic nerve degeneration and injuries.

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