ImmunoPharmaceutics Inc. of San Diego said Monday it filedfor what could be a key patent for computer software that hasbeen used to calculate the molecular shape of endothelinprotein, which causes high blood pressure.

The software involves an approach to rational drug design,using the binding site of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) as amold from which protein can be optimally configured. Thisreveals the pattern of the protein's string of amino acids.

ImmunoPharmaceutics, which was spun off from SynbioticsCorp. in 1989, said its application is based on how software isused to calculate the molecular shape of endothelin from theimprint it leaves on its related MAbs.

The company is screening in animals a panel of compounds thatmimic the shape of endothelin as possible drugs against highblood pressure. In theory, the look-alikes would block thecellular binding sites for endothelin, turning off the sequence ofmolecular events that lead to high blood pressure.

"The approach is intriguing and worth watching, but it's tooearly to tell if it will work," said James McCamant, editor of theMedical Technology Stock Letter. -- Carol Ezzell

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