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Synaptic awarded patent for receptor linked to pain, blood pressure and other functions.

Synaptic Pharmaceutical Corporation (Paramus, NJ; 201-261-1331) announced that it has been awarded a United States patent (6,262,246) entitled "DNA Encoding Mammalian Neuropeptides FF Receptors and Uses Thereof." Though previous studies had linked the natural ligand for the Neuropeptide FF receptor to pain processing, blood pressure regulation, insulin release and appetite, as well as anxiety, psychosis and cognition, the receptor itself has remained elusive until discovered by Synaptic scientists.

This patent issuance brings to 133 the number of patents Synaptic has received on its G protein-coupled receptor technology.

The receptor for Neuropeptide FF was discovered using Synaptic's SNAP Discovery platform. Follow-ing the discovery of the receptor, its natural ligand was identified using Synaptic's Universal Functional Assay (SNAP UFA). In the past two years Synaptic researchers have discovered the natural ligands for 18 G protein-coupled receptors.

Neuropeptide FF has been the subject of scientific research for over 15 years. Progress, however, has been hampered by the lack of a cloned receptor and tool compounds that interact with the receptor. Tool compounds are chemicals that are used in various animal models to determine the function of receptors in the body. Synaptic has made small-molecule tool compounds that interact with the NPFF receptor. These compounds are being used to help elucidate the therapeutic indications for Neuropeptide FF receptor-specific drugs.

"Our first step in using a newly discovered receptor gene for drug discovery is the identification of the natural ligand that works on the receptor in the body," said Theresa A. Branchek, Ph.D., vice president for research."Our biogenomics technology, which allows us to find the natural ligands for any newly discovered receptors, provides a huge advantage in drug discovery. This technology relieves a major bottleneck in the process of converting a newly discovered receptor to a target for drug discovery. Whereas using classical biochemical techniques it can take from three to ten years to find a receptor's natural ligand, Synaptic's SNAP UFA technology dramatically shortens to a few weeks, the time required to link a novel G protein-coupled receptor sequence to its natural ligand. Knowing the ligand provides valuable insights into the biological function of a receptor."

Branchek continued, "Our SNAP Discovery platform is identifying new drug discovery opportunities for us. For example, our depression, metabolic diseases, trace amine and our Neuropeptide FF programs all have come from our SNAP Discovery platform. Over the next several years we hope to advance a number of these programs to clinical trials."

Commenting on the issuance of this patent Kathleen P. Mullinix, Ph.D., chairman, president and chief executive officer added, "We are pleased to receive this patent . Intellectual property has always been an integral part of Synaptic's drug discovery programs. This patentadds value to the Neuropeptide FF program, which is part of Synaptic's overall drug discovery portfolio."

Synaptic is a drug discovery company focused on G protein-coupled receptors. The company is using its large portfolio of patented G protein-coupled receptor targets to design improved drugs and to map biological pathways that may offer new ways to treat diseases. As of August 6, the company is collaborating with Grunen-thal GmbH on discovering compounds for the alleviation of pain and with Kissei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. in a functional genomics collaboration to identify novel G protein-coupled receptors that can provide new drug discovery targets for Kissei.
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Comment:Synaptic awarded patent for receptor linked to pain, blood pressure and other functions.
Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
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