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SYMPHONY SIGNS $2 MILLION RESEARCH AGREEMENT WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

 PHILADELPHIA, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Symphony Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced it has signed a five-year collaborative agreement with Stanley J. Opella, Ph.D., and the University of Pennsylvania to study excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptors using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The goal of the research is to characterize the structural and dynamic properties of the N-methyl-D- aspartate (NMDA) receptor to facilitate the design of drugs capable of modifying its biological functions.
 Malfunctioning of the NMDA receptor can lead to anxiety, depression, epilepsy, schizophrenia, neuronal damage, neurodegeneration, memory loss and learning disability. These conditions represent the largest markets in the pharmaceutical industry, aggregating $10 billion. These markets are expected to grow to $30 billion by the year 2000.
 "The collaboration with Dr. Opella's laboratory extends Symphony's capabilities into structural biology," said Maria-Luisa Maccecchini, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Symphony. "We will now be able to measure the actual changes associated with receptor activation and design compounds to regulate rather than suppress receptor activity. This approach will lead to better drugs to treat central nervous system disorders."
 "I am looking forward to participating in a challenging and productive research collaboration. Symphony's novel approach may very well define the future for drug development by shifting the focus to the modulation of key receptors," said Dr. Opella. "This research agreement is ideally suited for the University of Pennsylvania and Symphony. The University will provide leading edge technology, instrumentation and methods for determining the structure of a receptor, while Symphony will provide complementary expertise in molecular biology and pharmaceutical savvy."
 Dr. Opella, an internationally renowned researcher, has pioneered the development and application of high resolution solid-state NMR spectroscopy for structural studies of proteins in lipid bilayers. Dr. Opella's technology is proprietary; he is the only researcher capable of analyzing the structure of proteins in lipid bilayers.
 Symphony, founded in 1991, is a private biopharmaceutical company focusing on the discovery and development of novel drugs to regulate the flow of electricity through ion channels in the brain. The company has a unique patent portfolio in regulation of ion currents in nerve signaling and synaptic transmission. Its first lead compound is targeted to enter human clinical trials in the winter of 1993 for neuroprotection, anxiety and depression. The compound regulates ion flow, is orally active and passes the blood brain barrier.
 -0- 4/30/93
 /CONTACT: Maria-Luisa Maccecchini, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Symphony Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 215-387-7742, or Anthony J. Russo, Ph.D., of Noonan/Russo Communications, 212-979-9180, for Symphony Pharmaceuticals, Inc./


CO: Symphony Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

SH-OS -- NY017 -- 3096 04/30/93 10:00 EDT
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Date:Apr 30, 1993
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