BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is using structure-baseddrug design to develop new pharmaceuticals, has received a$50,000 grant to design and synthesize inhibitors to the serineprotease enzyme Factor D.

Factor D inhibitors may be useful to treat and preventmyocardial infarction and coronary artery disease, according tothe Birmingham, Ala., company.

Activation of the factor is a crucial early step in setting off apathway known as the alternate complement cascade,according to BioCryst scientist Brent Cole. It is not known whythis pathway is activated during heart attacks, but it leads tothe release of a variety of immune system factors andultimately to tissue damage.

Privately held BioCryst is researching Factor D in conjunctionwith scientists from the University of Alabama, Birmingham.The Phase I small business innovation research grant is fromthe National Institutes of Health. -- KB

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