Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corp. continued its substantialinvestment in neuroscience by announcing Thursday that itwill provide more than $75 million over a 14-year period tothe Neurosciences Institute (NSI), an independent internationalresearch organization that will be located on the campus of theScripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

Under the terms of the alliance, Sandoz of East Hanover, N.J.,gets the first rights to any discoveries related to the centralnervous system. The NSI, which has had a formal researchprogram in theoretical neurobiology since 1988, will use thefunds to expand into the laboratory.

NSI, which has been located on the campus of RockefellerUniversity in New York since 1981, will relocate to the Scrippscampus once its five new laboratories are built. "Theselaboratories will provide opportunities for close interaction oftheoretical and experimental researchers studying brainfunction," according to the NSI.

NSI's head is Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman, who also wasappointed chairman of Scripps' department of neurobiology inJuly. "The vast technical advances and experimental discoveriesof the past two decades have created unique opportunities formajor progress in understanding the brain," Edelman said. "Welook forward to collaborating with Sandoz scientists (four ofthem will work with NSI researchers) and to applying ourresults to the prevention and treatment of brain disease."

This alliance expands Sandoz's commitment to research incentral nervous system disorders. "We expect that theagreement with NSI will greatly enhance developments in anumber of areas related to the CNS," said Timothy Rodwell,president and chief executive officer of Sandoz PharmaceuticalsInc. It will "help keep us at the forefront of science andtechnology, while providing appropriate balance with ongoinginternal and external research initiatives," he said.

But the Swiss pharmaceutical giant is also pumping money intoprograms in cardiovascular disease and immunology. Just lastmonth Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corp. signed an agreement toprovide the Scripps Research Institute with more than $300million in research funding over the next 10 years, starting in1997, in return for first rights to medical discoveries in allthree research areas.

Sandoz is also funding cancer research, as evidenced by its1991 commitment of $100 million over 10 years to Boston'sDana-Farber Cancer Institute to develop a new generation ofcancer drugs. Sandoz also penned an agreement with MagaininPharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:MAGN) of Plymouth Meeting,Pa., in December to develop anti-cancer products from thehost-defense peptides known as magainins.

Sandoz established a $30 million collaboration with Cytel Corp.(NASDAQ:CYTL) of San Diego in 1989 on peptide or peptide-likedrugs for treating autoimmune diseases and transplantrejection. That project didn't pan out, but Sandoz exhibited its"continued commitment to Cytel" by making an additional $5million investment last month. Cytel has refocused its researchtoward developing products for treating chronic infectiousdiseases and cancer.

As well, Sandoz acquired 60 percent of SyStemix Inc.(NASDAQ:STMX) of Palo Alto, Calif., in December 1991 for $392million, and has collaborations with Genetic Therapy Inc.(NASDAQ:GTII) of Gaithersburg, Md., and Bio-Transplant ofBoston.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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