* OraVax Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said a Phase I studyin Switzerland of its UreAB oral vaccine antigen to battleHelicobacter pylori showed the treatment is safe.Completion of the trial, which involved 12 people withasymptomatic H. pylori infections, triggered a $600,000milestone payment from Pasteur Merieux-Connaught, ofLyon, France, OraVax's joint venture partner ondevelopment of the vaccine. H. pylori is responsible forpeptic ulcers and chronic gastritis and is implicated instomach cancer. The vaccine is based on a non-toxicrecombinant form of the urease enzyme, which is presentin all strains of H. pylori that infect people. PasteurMerieux-Connaught is a subsidiary of Rhone-PoulencGroup, of Paris.
* ProCyte Corp., of Kirkland, Wash., said in vitro studiesof its PC1323 compound showed it prevented the releaseof hepatitis B virus from infected cells. PC1323 is anisomer of ProCyte's bathocuproienedisulfonic acid(BCDS)-copper compound, which is designed as anantiviral agent.
* Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, began its secondgene therapy trial for cystic fibrosis. The study atStanford Medical Center, of Palo Alto, Calif., willevaluate safety and efficacy of using Targeted Genetics'adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector to deliver a normalcopy of a cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductanceregulator (CFTR) gene to sinus cells to treat chronicsinusitis. The first trial, initiated last month at JohnsHopkins University, of Baltimore, is using the AAVvector to deliver CFTR gene to cells of the nose and lung.Cystic fibrosis is caused by a defect of the CFTR gene.
* Theragenics Corp., of Atlanta, said it received a $5million line of credit from Bank South N.A., of Atlanta.
* Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., andits partner Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London, began aPhase I/II study of VX-478, a protease inhibitor, fortreatment of AIDS. The multi-center study in the U.S. andEurope will evaluate dosage, efficacy, safety andpharmacokinetics in HIV patients during four weeks oftreatment.
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