Synergen Inc. and InSite Vision Inc. have signed an agreementto evaluate Synergen's Antril interleukin-1 receptor antagonistin ocular inflammation, the companies said Monday.

Privately held InSite will conduct safety and efficacy studies ofAntril in animals and humans starting this summer. Resultsshould be available by late fall, said Synergen spokeswomanDebra Bannister.

If the preliminary studies are favorable, InSite of Alameda,Calif., will formulate Antril in its polymeric delivery system fortopical application in the eye.

InSite is considering using one of two polymer-based drugdelivery systems for Antril, said Christa Nicholas, InSite groupproduct director.

DuraSite, the first-generation product, releases drugs in asustained fashion as a result of physical erosion of the polymer.It transforms from a liquid to a gel after it is placed in the eye.InSite hopes to conclude shortly an in-licensing agreement on asecond polymer, which has a different mode of action, saidNicholas.

The companies are discussing commercial terms for thedevelopment of Antril and other Synergen compounds for theophthalmic market.

Shares of Boulder, Colo.-based Synergen (NASDAQ:SYGN) lost 50cents to $61.50.

InSite, which is raising its second round of venture funding, hasfour off-patent drugs in clinical trials: two for glaucoma, oneanti-inflammatory and a product for dry eye. The companyanticipates that marketing partner Ciba-Geigy will begin salesof the dry eye and anti-inflammatory products in the firstquarter of 1993.

Two more InSite products are scheduled to enter the clinic thisyear. A combination anti-infective/anti-inflammatory for usefollowing cataract surgery should enter Phase I/II trials inmidyear, and a lazaroid anti-oxidant compound to treat light-induced eye damage, in-licensed from Upjohn, will begin PhaseI trials.

Antril is in Phase III trials for sepsis and in Phase II trials forrheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease,graft-vs.-host disease, chronic myelogenous leukemia andcachexia.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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