Columbia University has granted Cambridge NeuroScience Inc.exclusive worldwide rights to develop and market an axonelgrowth factor as an agent to promote recovery of damagednerve tissues in spinal cord injuries, the company announcedTuesday.

Columbia has filed for a patent on F-Spondin, which is found inthe developing spinal cord, and the agreement will go intoeffect after the patent is issued, said company spokesman JohnSmith. Cambridge Neuroscience (NASDAQ:CNSI) will makemilestone payments and pay Columbia royalties on net sales,Smith told BioWorld.

Recombinant F-Spondin may contribute to the growth andguidance of axons in both the spinal cord and the peripheralnervous system, he said. It would be able to act withoutcrossing the blood-brain barrier.

F-Spondin has just been cloned and sequenced, and CambridgeNeuroScience will "probably begin in vitro testing in the nearfuture," he said.

The company's stock fell 75 cents to $7 on Tuesday. -- KrisHerbst

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