Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday that it receivedU.S. patent No. 5,169,764 covering genes encoding novelsecond-generation neurotrophic factors.

The patent, for a technology the company developed itself, isthe first awarded to Regeneron, according to Fredric Price, vicepresident of finance and administration and chief financialofficer.

The second-generation neurotrophic factor genes patented byRegeneron can be used to make novel "designer" moleculescontaining portions of more than one neurotrophic factor,providing in a single factor the ability to act on diverse sets ofnerve cells.

"This is an extraordinarily broad patent," said Price. "Thetechnology may be used to increase efficacy, reduce side effectsor both."

Regeneron of Tarrytown, N.Y., currently has second-generationneurotrophic factor genes in pre-clinical studies for a broadrange of diseases, but nothing specific, said Price. The companywas the first to enter human trials of ciliary neutrophic factor(CNTF) for the treatment of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and isalso working with Amgen Inc. to develop brain-derivedneurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) for thetreatment of peripheral neuropathies and motor neurondiseases. Regeneron is also developing on its ownneurotrophin-4 (NT-4) for a variety of neurological andneurodegenerative diseases and conditions.

-- Michelle Slade Associate Editor

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