Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered a collaborative agreement with Parexel International Corp., of Boston, for pharmacogenomic services. The companies will provide pharmaceutical clients developing neuropsychiatric products with pharmacogenomic services using Acadia's functional genomics platform, including data on patients' variability of drug response.
Acorda Therapeutics Inc., of Hawthorne, N.Y., began a Phase II study of its lead product Fampridine-SR for multiple sclerosis. The 30-patient, multisite study of the nerve conduction-enhancing compound is designed to evaluate the compound's ability to close exposed potassium ion channels on demyelinated axons. A Phase II study of the drug in chronic spinal cord injury is ongoing.
ArQule Inc., of Woburn, Mass., and SmithKline Beecham Corp. plc, of London, entered a drug discovery collaboration to identify, optimize and deliver clinical candidates for SB's drug discovery programs. Under the terms, ArQule will optimize lead compounds in at least two programs; the first lead compound will be provided by SmithKline, the second from ArQule's Compass Array library. The agreement provides for research and development payments to ArQule, milestone payments and royalties from sales of any resulting products.
Artecel Sciences Inc., of Durham, N.C., completed a $4 million first-round financing, led by Eno River Capital LLC, of Durham, N.C. Other participants were TriState Investment Group IV LLC, of Cary, N.C.; Bio World Venture Capital Corp., of Taipei, Taiwan; Fujisawa Investments for Entrepreneurship LP, of Osaka, Japan; and several individual investors. Artecel is focused on adipose tissue biology for the development of products to address unmet medical needs. Its most advanced program is in tissue repair.
Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, and Greiner Bio-One GmbH, of Kremsmunster, Austria, entered an agreement to develop, manufacture and commercialize microplates and other plastic consumables. Under the terms, Aurora granted Greiner Bio-One non-exclusive rights to Aurora's proprietary plastics and microplate technology to develop, manufacture, market and distribute microplates and other plastic consumables. The agreement includes an up-front technology access fee and royalties on net sales of licensed products, including new products developed under the collaboration.
Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., extended their osteoporosis drug discovery collaboration for a fifth year, until November 2001. The focus is the development of small-molecule inhibitors of cathepsin K, a cysteine protease target that has been demonstrated to play a role in bone resorption. This is the third extension of the collaboration.
Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said results from the largest clinical trial ever on relapsing multiple sclerosis showed Avonex (interferon beta-1a) administered at 60 mcg once weekly was no more effective than 30 mcg in reducing disability progression, the primary endpoint of the study. Investigators wanted to know whether high doses were more effective. Patients were followed for at least three years and the study was conducted at 38 centers in 10 countries in Europe.
Compugen Inc., of Jamesburg, N.J., and Motorola Inc., of Northbrook, Ill., entered an agreement for Motorola Life Sciences to develop and manufacture a number of DNA biochips using Compugen's chip design services. This is the first commercial agreement for Compugen's biochip design services based on its LEADS platform and proprietary DNA chip design tools. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Corvas International Inc., of San Diego, said Pfizer Inc., of New York, initiated a Phase IIb dose-ranging study of UK-279,276 to determine the efficacy and safety in patients suffering from acute stroke. UK-279,276 is a recombinant protein in development for use as a treatment for reperfusion injury associated with ischemic stroke and was previously designated as rNIF - neutrophil inhibitory factor.
EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., was selected as a subcontractor for the federal malaria vaccine initiative by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The contract will provide EntreMed with between $1 million and $2 million annually for the next seven years for use of EntreMed's expertise in the recombinant production of malaria vaccine candidates.
IGEN International Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland appointed a special master to determine the accuracy, completeness and comprehensibility of financial and royalty data reported to IGEN by Roche Diagnostics, of Mannheim, Germany, and other issues central to IGEN's litigation with Roche.
Esperion Therapeutics Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., completed its Phase I large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) clinical trial program. It said the study results illustrated LUV safety and showed evidence of cholesterol mobilization and excretion. LUVs are spherical particles comprised of naturally occurring lipids that recirculate through arteries, scrubbing cholesterol from cells in the arterial wall and transporting cholesterol to the liver for elimination. The company also said its Phase I double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of ApoA-I Milano, another vascular disease therapeutic, has enrolled 28 individuals, and results of that trial should be available by the first quarter of 2001.
Eurogene Ltd., of London, received orphan drug designation from the FDA for its gene-based therapy Trinam for the prevention of hyperplasia in vascular anastomoses. Trinam is scheduled to complete Phase I testing in the near future, Eurogene said.
FeRx Inc., of San Diego, and Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, partnered to develop, manufacture and commercialize FeRx's lead product, MTC-DOX. The product is currently in Phase I/II clinical trials in the United States for the treatment of primary liver cancer. Elan will make equity and milestone payments to FeRx, and the companies will share the costs of ongoing development activities and revenues from the commercialization of MTC-DOX.
NicOx SA, of Sophia Antipolis, France, said its HCT 1026 ointment showed anti-inflammatory activity comparable to that of a class II steroid. HCT 1026 is the company's nitric oxide-releasing derivative of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory compound flurbiprofen. The 24-patient, double-blind, randomized study is the third to show efficacy of HCT 1026.
PE Corp., of Norwalk, Conn., said its name change to Applera Corp. will take effect Thursday. The new name is a combination of the company's two businesses, the Applied Biosystems Group and the Celera Genomics Group. The PE Biosystems Group name change to Applied Biosystems also will take effect on Thursday, and the company's stock symbol on the New York Stock Exchange will change from "PEB" to "ABI."
Pharming Group N.V., of Leiden, the Netherlands, will acquire ProBio Inc., of Honolulu, through an issuance of ordinary shares worth $4 million. The acquisition is conditional upon Pharming raising funds for a similar amount to support ProBio's operational expenses in the first years. Also, milestone payments of up to $4 million will be made in new Pharming shares to ProBio shareholders over the next two years, dependent on ProBio achieving several commercial and technical milestones. ProBio is a provider of intellectual property rights to nuclear transfer, transgenic and reproductive technologies.
Pozen Inc., of Chapel Hill, N.C., completed two Phase III trials with its lead product candidate, MT 100, an oral migraine pain therapeutic. Data from the trials will be available in early 2001. The company added that it began a Phase II trial of another migraine therapeutic, a combination triptan/nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, MT 400. That multicenter, 800-patient trial could become a pivotal trial, and is expected to be complete in about six months.
ProdiGene Inc., of College Station, Texas, received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health for development of an edible AIDS vaccine produced from transgenic plants. Efforts will focus on a transgenic corn variety that expresses a glycoprotein used as a major component in most HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus vaccines.
Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., began treating patients in a Phase II dosing and frequency-of-administration study of PRO 542, its most clinically advanced HIV inhibitor. It also said results of a previous Phase I/II trial of PRO 542 in HIV-infected children were published in the December issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Rosetta Inpharmatics Inc., of Kirkland, Wash., formed the GEML Community, a group of genome research organizations, to develop and promote Gene Expression Markup Language (GEML) as a file format for gene expression data and annotation. Rosetta added that decision analytics software company Spotfire Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., officially endorsed the GEML format.
Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, and Gemini Genomics plc, of Cambridge, England, said they have made the first discoveries in their collaboration formed earlier this year, including two novel genes linked to cardiovascular disease. The discoveries were made using Sequenom's MassARRAY technology and full genome screen approach and Gemini's DNA samples and clinical data covering common human metabolic diseases. Also, they have confirmed several previously known associations between genes and high-density lipoproteins and cholesterol levels.
The National Institutes of Health said NIH-supported research has yielded a live vaccine that protects against fungal infection in mice using recombinant DNA technology. The study, results of which were published in the Dec. 1, 2000, issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, indicated that the exposure to a recombinant DNA-altered strain of Blastomyces dermatiditis didn't cause disease and induced a T-cell response that fully immunized the exposed mice against all the fungal strains.
The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, of Oxford, UK, and The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, of New York, formed the Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory at the University of Cambridge with a joint award of $34 million over five years. The laboratory will work toward a cure for Type I diabetes using statistical analysis for gene identification and genetically engineered mice.
Virax Holdings Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said it received approval to begin clinical trials on Co-X-Gene vaccine delivery technology on patients recently infected with HIV. The Phase I/IIa multicenter, controlled, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study of Co-X-Gene with fowlpox virus technology will evaluate the safety of Virax's vaccine, VIR201, and its ability to enhance cells in early stage HIV patients.
Vitro Diagnostics Inc., of Littleton, Colo., said National Institutes of Health officials approved its nomination of James Musick as principal investigator in the company's $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant-funded research program on cell immortalization technology. The company said it expects a Phase II SBIR grant of $750,000 will follow.