Nova Pharmaceutical Corp. has begun Phase I clinical testing ofits leumedin anti-inflammatory compound, NPC 15669, to treatsepsis/septic shock and inflammatory bowel disease, thecompany announced Tuesday.

Leumedins (leukocyte mediator inhibitors) act by inhibiting theexpression of the adhesion molecule receptors on the surface ofwhite blood cells. Those receptors normally bind tocomplementary proteins on the surface of endothelial cells,making possible the migration of white blood cells from bloodvessels into tissues.

The company expects NPC 15669 to work in shock caused byboth gram-negative and gram-positive sepsis. The Baltimorecompany (NASDAQ:NOVX) estimates that 400,000 U.S. patientsdevelop sepsis annually.

Some 475,000 patients in the U.S. suffer from IBD, a chronicinflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.

Nova shares were unchanged at $4.63. Last week the companysaid it would merge with Scios Inc. in an exchange of stockvalued at $180 million. -- KB

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