Cephalon Inc. announced at the H&Q conference that it hasbegun Phase II clinical trials of Myotrophin in amyotrophiclateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) patients.

The West Chester, Pa., company (NASDAQ:CEPH) said it plans toenroll about 200 patients into a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in clinics across the U.S. and Canada.

"The Phase I data in normal subjects demonstrated an excellentsafety profile for Myotrophin," said Frank Baldino Jr., presidentand chief executive officer of Cephalon.

Myotrophin consists of recombinant human IGF-1 (insulin-likegrowth factor-1), a naturally occurring protein that mediatesthe nervous system's normal attempt to recover from injury. Inpreclinical studies Myotrophin was shown to promote thesurvival of motor neurons and enhance the regeneration ofdamaged motor neurons, the company said. Myotrophin hasbeen designated an orphan drug for treatment of ALS.

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