Sibia Inc. and the Pharmaceutical Sector of the Belgian drugand chemical company UCB announced that they have agreedto develop and co-promote an anti-epileptic drug discoveredby UCB.

Sibia, a private biopharmaceutical company formed by the SalkInstitute for Biological Studies in 1981, will take the drugthrough clinical trials for treating epilepsy and obtainregulatory approval in the U.S. and Canada. The La Jolla, Calif.,company and UCB will co-promote the product in the U.S. andCanada, and share the profits.

UCB will pursue the drug's registration in Europe for treatingepilepsy and anxiety. Sibia also receives rights to develop thedrug for other indications in the U.S. and Canada.

UCB's development label for the drug is L-059; Sibia's is SIB-S1.

SIB-S1 is a "small organic molecule synthesized at UCB as aresult of their research," said Michael Dunn, Sibia's director ofbusiness development. UCB has already conducted Phase I andearly Phase II trials demonstrating that the drug is safe. Also,the drug "showed significant therapeutic benefit" in Phase IIscarried out in Belgium, France and the U.K. on epileptic patientswho had not responded to other anti-convulsants, Sibia said.

William Comer, Sibia's president and chief executive officer,explained that the company will use its advanced receptortechnology to "determine how the drug actually works. Thiscould provide a better understanding of the mechanism ofseizure formation or spread, and pave the way for more potentand safer second-generation compounds, based on receptorsubtype-specificity."

Sibia's advanced receptor technology is based on the use ofcloned human brain receptor subtype genes, expressed inmammalian cell lines, as functional in vitro assays to identifyand develop new drug candidates.

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