Athena Neurosciences Inc. announced Monday that it has formeda research collaboration with Hybritech Inc. to developdiagnostics for Alzheimer's disease.

Hybritech will provide financing and scientific support todevelop the tests. In exchange, Hybritech of San Diego willreceive exclusive worldwide marketing rights, excluding Japanand some Southeast Asian countries, for products arising fromthe collaboration. South San Francisco, Calif.-based Athenawill receive milestone payments and royalties on sales. Nofurther details were released.

Athena plans to seek a Japanese corporate partner to developthe Japanese and Southeast Asian markets.

The laboratory tests will be based on markers for abnormallevels of amyloid plaque, which is deposited in certain regionsof the brain of Alzheimer's patients.

Alzheimer's affects more than 2.5 million people in the UnitedStates. Currently, a definitive diagnosis can only be made byinvasive brain biopsy procedures or by brain autopsy afterdeath.

Privately held Athena is focusing its research on products todiagnose and treat Alzheimer's and for the treatment of strokeand head injury. Hybritech, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Co.,develops diagnostics. -- Karen Bernstein

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