Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has been issued a patent for amethod to increase the effectiveness of an over-the-counteranti-obesity drug.

The patent covers the process of combining the amino acidtyrosine with the existing anti-obesity drugphenylpropanolamine (PPA). Preliminary findings show that theaddition of tyrosine increases the effectiveness of PPA,according to Charles J. Casamento, president and chiefexecutive officer.

Interneuron's technology may permit the formulation ofproducts with lower doses of PPA that achieve the sameappetite suppression as existing products. Products containingPPA carry Food and Drug Administration-mandated labelswarning individuals with hypertension to consult physiciansbefore taking the product because PPA increases bloodpressure.

"We haven't studied (the tyrosine-PPA combination) in humans,but our hope is that you would reduce the risk incardiovascular patients of increasing blood pressure,"Casamento told BioWorld. He said clinical trials will start in1992 or 1993.

Interneuron estimates over-the-counter sales of diet productscontaining PPA at "several hundred million dollars." TheLexington, Mass., company will seek a partnership with a majorpharmaceutical company to market products based on thepatent.

Interneuron stock (NASDAQ:IPIC) closed Wednesday at $5.63, up25 cents.

-- Steve Usdin BioWorld Washington Bureau

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