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UCI, NeoTherapeutics Join Forces

O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

Research: Irvine company to develop technology based on university's drug-related work.

September 16, 1999|From Dow Jones News Services

UC Irvine, extending its ties with drug-development companies in Orange County, said Wednesday it will team up with NeoTherapeutics Inc. to conduct research and develop technologies based on the work of the university's pharmacology research team.

Irvine-based NeoTherapeutics, which develops drugs to treat neurological diseases, said it agreed to provide $900,000 to the university's research group over the next three years. The investment will be used to fund continued research on neurotransmitters and their receptors in the brain.

NeoTherapeutics has an option for an exclusive three-year license to develop drugs that stem from the university's research. NeoTherapeutics agreed to make additional investments of $1.1 million for further development of the optioned technology.

The company also has the option to form partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies to create drugs from the research conducted by the two parties.

The UCI research concentrates on matching neurotransmitters in the body with receptors and searching for their effects on a wide variety of physiological functions. If a transmitter is found to bind to a receptor in the body, then the receptor and the chemical could be used to develop new pharmaceuticals.

NeoTherapeutics said one receptor covered under the agreement binds to a melanin-concentrating hormone, which plays a role in the regulation of eating behavior. NeoTherapeutics plans to use the receptor to support research for drugs that eventually could treat obesity.

The development-stage company posted losses of $18.8 million over the last three years and recorded no sales.

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