Cambridge NeuroScience Inc. has applied to the Food and DrugAdministration to designate its potential cognitive drugpramiracetam as an orphan drug, the company announcedTuesday.

The Massachusetts company is testing the drug for alleviatingmemory loss incurred with electroconvulsive shock therapy.Cambridge Neuroscience acquired the rights in April to developand market pramiracetam from Warner-Lambert Co., whichwill receive royalties if the drug reaches the market.

Cambridge NeuroScience is paying to continue clinical testingof the drug, which had shown promise in multicenter, Phase IItrials sponsored by Warner-Lambert.

More than 100,000 courses of electroconvulsive shock therapyare ordered each year in the United States, the company said.Pramiracetam, if confirmed to alleviate memory loss, mayalleviate patients' fears of ECT, said spokeswoman MarciaKean. "But it is too early to tell if it would increase usage" ofshock therapy, she told BioWorld.

The company's stock (NASDAQ:CNSI) closed down 75 centsTuesday at $8. -- Roberta Friedman

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