Genta Inc. has received exclusive licenses to two chemicalcompounds that it will commercialize for dermatologicalapplications before it markets its leading biotechnologycompounds.

The San Diego company has licensed G-101, an acne treatmentfor which Phase II trials have been completed in France, and G-201, a topical anti-steroid that has undergone preclinicalinvestigations outside the United States. Genta (NASDAQ:GNTA)would not disclose the source of the compounds, which arecovered by U.S. and European patents.

The stock dropped 75 cents to $13.75 on Tuesday after thecompany said its net loss widened in 1991 to $9.5 million, or$1.16 a share, compared with a loss of $3.9 million, or 65 cents,in 1990. Revenues, posted for the first time in 1991, were $2.8million. The 1991 results included a charge of $1.8 millionassociated with its acquisition of Virna Pharmaceuticals Inc.

R&D expenditures for the year ended Dec. 31 were $5.5 millionmore than in 1990 and included $1.4 million paid to license G-101 and G-201.

The company plans to file investigational new drug applicationswith the FDA for both drugs this year. The so-called"accelerated commercialization" strategy has been pursued byother biotechnology companies, including Cetus Corp., whichfirst marketed generic oncology drugs, Gensia PharmaceuticalsInc. and Athena Neurosciences Inc. It will allow Genta, "to getthe infrastructure in place that will allow us to put newproducts -- which we are hopefully going to be relying on formajor revenue and medical advance -- into an establishedpipeline," said Lionel Simon, vice president of technology andacquisition and licensing.

The strategy will "allow us to utilize any profits from theseproducts toward development of our longer-term anti-codeproducts," said Howard Sampson, vice president and controller.Anti-code is the term Genta uses to describe both its triple-strand technology, in which DNA is blocked from transcribingmessenger RNA, and its antisense technology, in which mRNA isblocked from translating proteins.

Phase I/II trials of Genta's G-1128 antisense compound "will beunder way shortly," Simon said. The drug, to be tested on bonemarrow that has been removed from leukemia patients, blocksthe gene that causes chronic myelogenous leukemia .

-- Kris Herbst BioWorld Washington Bureau

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.