Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has acquired the rights to apotential Alzheimer's drug and has signed two contracts forscreening the drugs of two other companies that may beeffective in stroke and psychoses.

The Lexington, Mass.-based company (NASDAQ:IPIC) announcedthe corporate agreements last week

Under an exclusive option agreement with Medea Research ofMilan, Italy, Interneuron will screen and may fund thedevelopment in North America of compound MR 3066. Theoption can lead to an exclusive license and marketing rights inNorth America, Charles Casamento, Interneuron's chiefexecutive officer, told BioWorld. Other financial terms werenot disclosed.

"We have patents on using aminopyridines for Alzheimer'sdisease," Casamento said. "This particular (patented) compoundis an aminopyridine (that) is farther along than what we'vedone yet. It fits perfectly within our corporate strategy."

The Italian compound is believed to boost brain levels ofacetylcholine without depleting stores of choline in the braincell membranes, Casamento said. Loss of acetylcholine is oneof the factors implicated in Alzheimer's.

In two other agreements, Interneuron will evaluate with itsbehavioral pharmacology screens several potential compoundsfor stroke for the Fisons Corp. Interneuron will also testpotential anti-psychotics for Cambridge Neurosciences Inc.Terms of these agreements were not disclosed. -- RobertaFriedman, Ph.D.

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