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Executive Summary

NOVA's XANTHINE R&D PROGRAM COULD REACH CLINICAL STAGE WITHIN 12 MONTHS either in the cardiotonic, cognition activator, or anti-asthmatic areas, Solomon Snyder, MD, chairman of Nova's scientific board, predicted May 21 at the Alex Brown Health Care seminar in Baltimore. With "85 xanthines patented and licensed to Nova" from Johns Hopkins, Snyder noted: "We feel confident that we will be ready with one of these agents for submission to FDA for an IND in the next 12 months." Noting that both theophylline and caffeine are in the xanthine group, Snyder postulated, "If you could tailor-make a theophylline derivative xanthine . . . targeted for one receptor sub-type, that is unique, to work in heart, lung, or brain, you might have a more efficacious drug. If you have a derivative of caffeine which would not cause cardiac effects, didn't cause palpitations, didn't cause diuresis, you might have a drug that would be a very useful stimulant of potential value as a cognition activator." Snyder also reported that the firm may be nearing human testing with a long-acting opiate agonist. Snyder claimed that Nova has several opiate compounds under study that "will act at least 24 hours without any tolerance . . . and with less respiratory depression" than currently marketed opiate compounds. Commenting on potential partnership arrangements, Nova President Donald Stark described Nova's ideal partner as a company "with a worldwide presence in the markets in which we work . . . [with] a good time record in getting these compounds through the FDA approval process and to the marketplace." In addition, Stark said that Nova is looking for a firm which would be willing to support development work as well as pay royalties once a product reached the marketplace. He added that Nova "recently signed" a letter of intent with an undisclosed firm and expects to finalize the agreement "shortly."

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