Actelion Ltd., of Allschwil, Switzerland, inaugurated its Canadian headquarters in Laval, Quebec. Actelion also has a U.S. facility in San Francisco. Actelion's Tracleer is approved to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Advanced Biotherapy Inc., of Woodland Hills, Calif., entered a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for a project titled "Anti-Cytokine Antibodies for Treating Immune-Mediated Diseases" for the development of high-affinity humanized antibodies to gamma interferon.
Advanced Cell Technology Inc., of Worcester, Mass., said nuclear transplantation can be used to generate functional immune-compatible tissues. The research by ACT and its collaborators will appear in the July issue of Nature Biotechnology. The research provides the first experimental evidence that it may be possible to use cloning to generate medically important tissues and eliminate tissue rejection, the company said. Heart "patches" and miniature kidneys engineered from cloned cells were successfully tested in a cow model, which has a sophisticated immune system similar to that of humans, ACT said.
Agencourt Bioscience Corp., of Beverly, Mass., entered a nonexclusive agreement with Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., to provide genomic services to accelerate drug discovery. After completing a successful pilot project, Millennium selected Agencourt to provide single-base nucleotide polymorphism discovery, SNP genotyping and single-pass sequencing services for selected projects. Millennium will retain some internal sequencing capabilities. Agencourt is using its SeeSNP software and automated sequencing pipeline to resequence DNA sequences submitted by Millennium. The data will be assembled and annotated to augment the estimated 2 million SNPs found in the publicly available human genome database.
Antigen Express Inc., of Worcester, Mass., received a $301,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., for developing an Ii-Key MHC Class II epitope-based vaccine to treat HIV. Antigen Express researchers demonstrated that peptides incorporating the Ii-Key Hybrid MHC Class II Platform Technology evoke T-helper cell responses compared to homologous peptides that don't include the hybrid molecule, the company said.
BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lincolnshire, Ill., said that its common stock began trading on a reverse split basis of 1 for 10. Also effective was a new ticker symbol, BISP.
Cellegy Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said it submitted a new drug application for Tostrex (testosterone gel) for treatment of male hypogonadism, to the FDA. Tostrex is a nonstaining gel designed to be administered to an area on the thighs once daily. The company is considering co-promotion opportunities for the product in the U.S. and outlicensing possibilities for it abroad.
Celsion Corp., of Columbia, Md., completed a private placement of 2,000 units at a price per unit of $1,000. Each unit consists of one share of its 8 percent Series B convertible preferred stock and a warrant to acquire 600 shares of Celsion common stock exercisable at 65 cents per share. Each share of Series B preferred stock may be converted into 2,000 shares of Celsion common stock, commencing 90 days after the closing of the private placement. Celsion received gross proceeds of $2 million in connection with the placement. Proceeds are expected to be used to complete pivotal Phase II trials and commercialize its investigational breast cancer treatment system.
Curis Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its board approved a stock repurchase program authorizing the company to buy back up to $3 million of the company's stock. Repurchase will take place on the open market from time to time based on market conditions. It has no time limit and may be suspended for periods or discontinued, the company said. Curis is generating therapies that are designed to regulate the pathways used by the body to maintain and restore health. In February, Curis said it would implement a realignment of its research and development programs and focus its resources on signaling pathways and stem cell technologies. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 19, 2002.)
Elixir Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., secured an exclusive license from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to patents and patent applications that relate to founding scientist Lenny Guarente's discoveries associated with longevity and the SIR-2 (silent information regulation) gene. Studies done in Guarente's lab at MIT have shown that SIR-2 controls aging in yeast and nematode worms and regulates the p53 tumor suppressor protein in mice and humans, the company said. Elixir also secured an exclusive license from the University of Connecticut in Storrs to patent applications that relate to Stephen Helfand's discoveries associated with the longevity and the INDY gene.
Emergent Technologies Oklahoma LP, of Oklahoma City, a venture capital partnership, was selected by the Oklahoma Capital Investment Board to receive up to $1.5 million of investment capital. ET-OK has a portfolio of four life sciences companies, all based on technology developed at the University of Oklahoma.
Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said its subsidiary, Genzyme Canada, received approval for Thyrogen (thyrotropin alfa for injection). The recombinant human thyroid stimulating hormone is intended to assist physicians manage their patients being followed up for the recurrence of well-differentiated thyroid cancer. Genzyme Canada and its marketing partner, Theramed Corp., a subsidiary of Meta Health Services Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, will market the drug immediately.
Genzyme Transgenics Corp., of Framingham, Mass., changed its name to GTC Biotherapeutics Inc. and its Nasdaq ticker symbol to GTCB. Chairman, President and CEO Geoffrey Cox said the change "brings clarity to our identity."
Proteome Systems Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, and Itochu Corp., of Tokyo, established a joint venture to launch Proteome Systems Japan. The venture will provide proteomics research in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, cosmetics, agriculture and research industries. It will use Proteome Systems' bioinformatics tools and integrated discovery platform, ProteomIQ.
RegeneRx's Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Chicago, said in the first study evaluating thymosin beta (TB4) in diabetic animals, it was reported that TB4 significantly accelerated the healing of wounds. The studies were conducted at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., in collaboration with scientists at the George Washington University Medical Center. TB4 is a naturally occurring 43-amino-acid peptide that regulates actin and down-regulates certain inflammatory cytokines.
Telik Inc., of South San Francisco, filed a shelf registration totaling $100 million, with the proceeds slated for research and development and general corporate purposes. The company said in its S-3 filing with the SEC that it also may use a portion of the net proceeds to acquire or invest in complementary businesses, products and technologies. Pending those uses, the net proceeds will be invested in investment-grade, interest-bearing securities. As of April 30, there were 27,838,970 shares of common stock outstanding and no shares of preferred stock outstanding. Telik is a discovery and development company, and its programs include TLK286, a tumor-activated drug candidate for the treatment of major cancers, now in Phase II trials; TLK199, a candidate for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome in Phase I/IIa clinical trials for MDS; and a family of orally active insulin receptor activators for Type II diabetes.
Unigene Laboratories Inc., of Fairfield, N.J., said parathyroid hormone, or PTH, which previously was shown to be effective in the treatment of female osteoporosis, has now shown promising results in the treatment of male osteoporosis. Third-party studies presented at the International Osteoporosis Foundation World Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, documented that the treatment of male osteoporosis with a PTH analogue significantly increased abnormally low bone density in men by up to 9 percent after less than one year of therapy, the company said. Unigene focuses on the oral and nasal delivery of peptide drugs, including PTH therapies.
ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, launched a commercial laboratory test to evaluate the viral fitness of HIV. ViroLogic's new replication capacity assay measures the ability of a patient's virus to make copies of itself and is designed to provide additional information to physicians to select optimal antiretroviral therapy cocktails for their patients. The test will be provided in combination with ViroLogic's PhenoSense HIV and PhenoSense GT drug resistance tests at no additional charge.
XOMA Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., filed an amended and supplemental complaint in its ongoing litigation against Biosite Inc., of San Diego, alleging that Biosite's recently announced "new" antibody expression technology continues willfully to infringe XOMA's patents and that Biosite's statements regarding it are false and misleading. XOMA's complaint specifically alleges that Biosite's BNP products were made in a manner that infringed XOMA's technology. XOMA's complaint seeks monetary damages, imposition of a constructive trust, injunctive and other relief for infringement of XOMA's patents, and alleges fraud and misrepresentation, breach of contract, misappropriation, breach of confidence and unfair business practices.
ZymoGenetics Inc., of Seattle, said it decided to defer construction of a dedicated pilot manufacturing facility, which was planned to begin production in late 2004. The company said the decision is not expected to affect the development timelines for advancing its pipeline. Previously, the company had announced its intention to spend about $50 million to construct a facility.