Under a plan to diversify its portfolio, CoCensys said Thursdaythat it will join with Acea Pharmaceuticals Inc. to developtreatments for neurological and emotional disorders.

Under the terms of the partnership, CoCensys will receiveexclusive rights to Acea's proprietary compounds that targetthe NMDA receptor, a newly discovered glycine receptorbelieved to have potential in regulating critical central nervoussystem (CNS) functions.

CoCensys also has an option to acquire all of Acea if Acea meetscertain milestone targets, said Daniel L. Korpolinski, CoCensys'chief executive officer. In return, Acea will receive 2 millionshares of CoCensys' common stock, currently valued at $10 pershare.

"Our strategy is to move away from single-technologyplatforms to ensure a good flow of products out of thecompany," Korpolinski said.

A small company affiliated with the University of California,Irvine, Acea is developing therapeutics to treat stroke andhead trauma, and certain types of epilepsy and pain.

CoCensys, also based in Irvine, is focused on the discovery ofnovel receptors based in the central nervous system and thenaturally occurring ligands that target these receptors toidentify drugs to address a range of human CNS diseases anddisorders.

-- Michelle Slade Associate Editor

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