A U.S. patent on pieces of heparin was issued Tuesday toGlycomed Inc. (NASDAQ:GLYC). Patent No. 5,032,679 coverssmall chemical sequences found in the carbohydrate clot-dissolving drug.

Heparin is known to dampen the proliferation of smooth musclecells. The company's research on the heparin fragmentsfocuses on preventing reclosure of clogged arteries opened byballoon angio-plasty. Opening arteries by the balloon method candamage the smooth muscle cells in the artery wall. The cellsrespond by con-stricting the artery. A therapeutic agent basedon the heparin frag-ments may reduce the need for repeatangioplasties.

Glycomed of Alameda, Calif., has estimated that angioplastiesaccount for half a million procedures annually. Restenosis, orreclosing of the artery and subsequent blood flow restriction,requires about 30 percent of these patients to undergo asecond procedure.

The company is about to scale up preclinical testing ofcandidate compounds, company President Ed Conrad toldBioWorld. -- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D.

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