Scios Inc. said Tuesday that it received a patent covering thecardiac hormone human BNP and its use as a pharmaceutical.Human BNP was discovered by researchers for the MountainView, Calif., company and has shown potential as a treatmentfor acute congestive heart failure. BNP, or brain natriureticpeptide, is named for the organ from which it was first isolated,though this hormone is produced primarily by the heart.

The Scios composition of matter patent for human BNP andrelated compounds, No. 5,114,923, also covers pharmaceuticalapplications in cardiopulmonary disease. Research suggests thatBNP has several biological effects, such as increasingelimination of salt and water from the body, dilating bloodvessels, and decreasing the secretion of other hormones thatlead to blood vessel constriction and elevated blood pressure,the company said. BNP levels have been shown to rise incongestive heart failure patients, indicating that BNP may be anatural corrective response to this disease, according to thecompany.

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