Following are highlights of two company presentations atthis week's 21st Annual Meeting of the Society of Neurosciencein New Orleans.

Sibia Inc.

Company researchers have cloned genes encoding a newlyisolated brain-specific form of a voltage-dependent calciumchannel. VDCCs regulate the flow of calcium ions intoelectrically excitable cells, such as nerve cells in the brain andmuscle cells in the heart and skeletal muscles.

The function of the newly cloned gene is as yet unknown, but"we think we will get to an understanding of what it's doingfairly quickly," said Michael Dunn, manager of businessdevelopment at the San Diego company.

VDCCs are among three receptor classes being targeted bySibia. They are all strongly implicated in neurodegenerativeprocesses common to several major central nervous systemdiseases. The others are excitatory amino acid receptors andneuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

Cellular Transplants Inc.

The Providence, R.I., company presented animal data on itsimplant device to treat Parkinson's disease.

The data showed that PC12 cells encapsulated in a polymermembrane reduced Parkinson's-like symptoms in a rat model.PC12 is a dopamine-producing tumor cell line derived fromrats.

Cellular has treated more than 200 rodents over the past yearand a half, said Dr. Seth Rudnick, the company's president andchief executive and plans to begin clinical trials by the end of1992.

Rudnick told BioWorld that Cellular has just closed anoversubscribed mezzanine round of financing amonginstitutional investors, some of the company's earlier ventureinvestors and private individuals. Cellular had set out to raise$15 million.

Cellular raised $2.5 million in seed money in 1989 from theMayfield Fund and $8.1 million in the fall of 1990 in its firstventure round with St. Paul's; Hill, Carmen, Kirby & Washing;and Commonwealth Bioventures.

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