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LAYTON BIOSCIENCE RETAINS SRI INTERNATIONAL TO 'MANUFACTURE' HUMAN NEURONS; ALTERNATIVE TO ANIMAL & HUMAN FETAL CELLS FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH

 MENLO PARK, Calif., June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, human neuronal cells will soon be available in virtually unlimited supply for use in neuroscience research, screening of neurotoxic compounds and other applications relating to diseases of the human central nervous systems (CNS).
 Layton BioScience Inc., a startup company based in Atherton, Calif., announced today that it has retained SRI International, one of the world's leading contract research organizations, to develop the human neurons using Layton's patented process for turning undifferentiated human cells into living nerve cells in the test tube. SRI will serve as the company's general R&D arm on this and other CNS-related products and technologies.
 Currently, researchers generally use neuronal cells from animals or human fetuses to study brain and nerve tissue functions and to screen therapeutic drugs or chemicals for toxic neurological effects. In early clinical studies, cells from aborted human fetuses have been injected into patients' brains, where they deliver chemicals that are deficient or missing, such as dopamine in Parkinson's victims.
 "Now it will be possible to use human neuronal cells to study human neuronal effects," said Layton BioScience President and Chief Executive Officer Gary L. Snable. "And our cell line of the hNT-Neuron cells will be uniform, readily available and disease-free -- without the ethical issues and safety risks raised by fetal cell use."
 Snable said the company expects to begins selling hNT-Neuron cells for scientific research before the end of this year. Plans are also under way to develop and validate the use of the hNT-Neuron cells in neurotoxicity testing kits.
 Development of the cells for therapeutic applications is further down the pipeline. SRI scientists will use genetic engineering techniques to enhance their value for screening new pharmaceuticals and studying neural functioning.
 SRI is also developing the teleocidin family of neuroprotectants for Layton. These compounds have demonstrated the ability to protect neurons, both in vitro and in vivo, from damage caused by overactivity triggered by the neurotransmitter glutamate in the wake of stroke, trauma and other neurodegenerative diseases.
 Layton's technologies are principally the inventions of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University.
 For Layton, the agreement with SRI allows it to hurdle one of the major tasks facing a startup company -- assembling the personnel, equipment and facilities required to rapidly pursue promising new technologies.
 SRI was founded in 1946 as the Stanford Research Institute. Today it is an independent scientific research and consulting organization with well-established capabilities in research and development of new pharmaceuticals, drug delivery systems and biomedical devices. The work for Layton will be centered in SRI's Neuroscience department.
 "We're delighted to have the opportunity to ally with SRI, a major research organization," said Snable. "This agreement give us access to all the disciplines of an established pharmaceutical firm. It gives us more than a running start."
 SRI's Jon Clemens, senior vice president of Science & Technology Group, said the pact fits perfectly with SRI's mission of assisting businesses by bringing new technologies out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.
 "SRI is well positioned to serve as the R&D arm for companies such as Layton," said Clemens. "We have top scientists and facilities in most required disciplines and can perform very cost effectively."
 As partial payment for its services, SRI will receive equity in Layton, according to Clemens.
 -0- 6/14/93
 /CONTACT: Jim Kloss of SRI International, 415-859-2547/


CO: SRI International; Layton BioScience Inc. ST: California IN: MTC SU:

SG-GT -- SJ003 -- 1370 06/14/93 06:02 EST
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Date:Jun 14, 1993
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