Deprenyl Research Ltd. of Toronto has signed a licensingagreement with Parteq Research & Development Innovationsgiving Deprenyl exclusive worldwide rights to a method oftreating skin cancer.

Under the five-year agreement announced Tuesday, Deprenyl,through a new wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, has paid Parteq anup-front fee and will make milestone payments as well asroyalty payments on the sale of the drug, 5-aminolevulinicacid (ALA). The location and name of the subsidiary haven'tbeen decided.

Parteq, a not-for-profit organization, acted as the technologytransfer agent for Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, andthe Royal Military College of Canada.

ALA, which is a precursor of protoporphyrin IX, is appliedtopically to patients with skin cancer. When ALA comes intocontact with living tissue with a certain enzyme profile, suchas cancer cells, it induces the cells to synthesize abnormallylarge amounts of protoporphyrin IX.

Since protoporphyrin IX fluoresces, its presence can be used todetect tissue abnormalities. More importantly, protoporphyrinIX photosensitizes the tissue in which it has been induced.Exposure to light can then destroy those tissues.

According to Deprenyl, in tests at Queen's of 200 patients withvarious forms of skin cancer, Dr. James Kennedy of thedepartments of oncology and pathology reported an 85 percentsuccess rate in the first treatment.

Treatment of skin cancer is a new focus for Deprenyl(NASDAQ:DEPLF), which has targeted central nervous systemdisorders. The company's co-chairman, Dr. D. Geoffrey Shulman,is a dermatologist.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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