Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Wednesday said it has filedto begin Phase I trials of its ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF)as a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

CNTF is a protein that binds to the surface receptors on motorneuron cells that control muscles, and which degenerate in ALSpatients. The binding sets off signal transduction events in thecell, leading to changes in gene expression that ultimatelysupport the survival of the motor neuron cells, said MarkFurth, vice president of technology.

There is no treatment or cure for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN), located in Tarrytown, N.Y., inFebruary received orphan drug designation for CNTF in ALSand is considering developing it as a treatment for othermuscle and nervous system degenerative diseases, Furth said.

The stock gained 75 cents to $16. -- KH

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