Neurogen Corp. said it has received an exclusive worldwidelicense from the National Institutes of Health for a class of anti-convulsant chemical compounds.

The lead compound under development is ADCI, which blockscertain voltage-dependent sodium channels the wayconventional anti-convulsants do. But it also modulates theglutamate receptor, one of the brain's major excitatoryneurotransmitters that is known to play a role in the regulationand control of seizures.

Anti-convulsant drugs comprise a $400 million annual Neurogen hopes the new compounds will havecomparative efficacy with fewer side effects.

The NIH has filed for a patent covering the class of compoundsincluding ADCI. If the compounds are developed, Neurogen(NASDAQ:NRGN) will pay the NIH a royalty on sales.

The Branford, Conn., company also said it would pursueadditional chemical and preclinical work on the compoundsthrough a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement(CRADA) with NIH.

Neurogen is developing on its own compounds that inhibitspecific receptor subtypes of the gamma-aminobutyric acidreceptor family. Last month, the company signed an agreementworth up to $50 million to develop drugs to treat anxiety.

Neurogen shares lost $1.25, to $14.25. -- Karen Bernstein

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