U.S. trials are expected to begin in 2010.

Ocera Therapeutics purchased rights to University College London Business’ (UCLB) assets and technologies related to a compound for the treatment of acute hepatic encephalopathy (AHE). The company will develop it as its second pipeline compound and refer to it as OCR-002.

OCR-002 will be investigated as an injectable treatment of AHE in patients with advanced liver cirrhosis and acute liver failure. Clinical trials in patients with AHE due to cirrhosis and acute liver failure will be carried out at University College Hospital as well as other centers in 2009 under funding from the Medical Research Council in the U.K. Ocera is planning to file an IND in late 2009, and U.S. trials will begin in early 2010.

Research at the University College London demonstrated an acute and sustained reduction of systemic ammonia levels as well as decreased intracranial pressure in models of AHE in acute liver failure and cirrhosis.

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