Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Irvine, Calif., announcedTuesday that it has obtained from the Georgia Institute ofTechnology a worldwide exclusive license to commercializecalpain inhibitors that may prevent brain damage caused bystroke and other oxygen-limiting neurodegenerative disorders.

The terms of the agreement, which include licensing androyalty fees, were not disclosed, said D. Scott Hagan, Cortex'svice president of finance. He added that the Wilkerson Groupprojects the market for stroke drugs at $1.1 billion.

A year-old drug discovery program between Georgia Tech andCortex (NASDAQ:CORX) identified three classes of drugs thatblock the calpain enzyme. Hagan would only describe the drugsas low molecular-weight synthetic compounds.

Excess calpain formed in oxygen-starved brain cells leads tocell death. Hagan told BioWorld that Cortex believes thatcalpain inhibitors should not cause as many side effects ascalcium channel blockers, glutamate or adenosine analogs, all ofwhich are being developed by biotechnology companies.

Gensia Pharmaceuticals Inc. has an adenosine analog in PhaseIII clinical trials, but would not comment on Cortex's productsbecause Gensia is in registration.

-- Carol Talkington Verser, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

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