Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, reported positive Phase I results for AC3056, a compound being evaluated for the treatment of atherosclerosis and other conditions related to blood vessel obstruction. In the double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, 14 healthy subjects received an oral formulation of AC3056 administered in a dose-rising manner. Dose-dependent increases in blood levels of AC3056 were observed, showing absorption following oral administration. Dose-dependent increases in serum antioxidant activity were also observed. No safety concerns were noted.
Atlantic Technology Ventures Inc., of New York, reported at last week's U.S. Army Medical Defense 2002 Bioscience Review conference in Hunt Valley, Md., that its CT-3 compound has shown promise in treating the chemical warfare blister agent, sulfur mustard. The study involved the topical application of CT-3 to treat human epidermal keratinocyte (HEK) cell cultures exposed to sulfur mustard blister agent. Data showed CT-3 completely suppressed IL-8 and TNF-alpha in the sulfur mustard-exposed HEK cultures, and also improved morphological changes associated with sulfur mustard toxicity.
AVAX Technologies Inc., of Overland Park, Kan., said data published in Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy showed that administration of its hapten-modified AC Vaccine technology significantly improved relapse-free survival after removal of primary tumors in a mouse metastatic mammary tumor model compared to that of untreated animals. Also, data demonstrated the importance of haptenization, since animals vaccinated with unmodified tumor cells showed relapse-free survival similar to untreated animals. The experiments also pointed to the importance of cyclophosphamide in the dosing regimen and demonstrated the critical role of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells for the antimetastatic activity of the vaccine.
Aviva Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, entered a partnership with Axon Instruments Inc., of Melbourne, Australia, in which Axon will make an equity investment in Aviva and provide ongoing support for the development program. In return, Axon gains an exclusive technology license agreement, obtaining Aviva's intellectual property in design and fabrication of its planar patch clamp biochips. Aviva will also be the exclusive supplier of biochips for Axon's next-generation line of high-throughput ion channel measurement systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.
BattellePharma Inc., of Columbus, Ohio, entered a development and licensing agreement with Abaris Pharma Inc., a subsidiary of Corus Pharma Inc., of Seattle. Abaris will use BattellePharma's Mystic inhalation technology for the delivery of its lidocaine drug to treat asthma. In addition to receiving a fully reimbursed development contract, BattellePharma will receive an up-front payment, program milestone payments and royalties on product revenues.
Biokeys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said its common shares will be traded on the NASDAQ Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol BKYS. Its lead compound, CoFactor, is a chemotherapy biomodulator designed to be used in conjunction with the cancer drug 5-FU, and is being readied to enter Phase II/III trials in the U.S. and Europe. Biokeys plans to commercialize products through licensing agreements with universities and research institutions.
Celera Genomics, of Rockville, Md., an Applera Corp. business, said it is restructuring its organization through the elimination of 132 positions, or 16 percent of its work force, primarily within the areas of DNA sequencing, data management and analysis support, sales and general administration. Celera said the move is intended to focus its resources on drug discovery and development, as well as its online/information business and the Celera Discovery System. Celera will take a one-time charge of $2.8 million in the current fiscal quarter related to the restructuring.
Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., said it would present later this month at the first Targeting Ubiquitinylation for Drug Discovery meeting in San Diego preclinical data on its novel ubiquitin ligase modulators. Celgene said it assembled a portfolio of novel ubiquitin ligases and a major program to develop small-molecule drugs that selectively regulate ubiquitin ligases for the treatment of cancer and inflammation. It demonstrated that its novel ubiquitin ligases alter the stability of key cell-signaling proteins and are accessible targets for the development of selective small-molecule drugs.
Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., reported at the American Society of Gene Therapy meeting in Boston that it developed a lentiviral-producing cell line that will enable the production of large quantities of high-quality lentiviral gene delivery vector. The production technology provides both scaleable and stable production capabilities. Cell Genesys enhanced the safety profile of the lentiviral vector, which is derived from HIV, by eliminating six genes, five of which are associated with replication, without reducing the efficiency of gene delivery.
Centagenetix Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said data published in the June 10 issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate that the siblings of centenarians possess a higher survival rate throughout their lives than the general population. They also have a greater chance of living to the age of 100 themselves due to their ability to stave off many aging-related diseases. Data showed the siblings, on average, died at the age of 76.7 for females and 70.4 for males as compared to 58.3 and 51.5 for the general population.
Cerylid Biosciences Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, entered a collaboration with Anadys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, to discover anti-infective compounds. Anadys gets access to Cerylid's library of unique natural products samples derived predominantly from organisms of Australian origin. Anadys will screen the samples against undisclosed anti-infective targets using its uHTS-Atlas high-throughput screening methodologies. Cerylid will identify biologically active small molecules in extracts that show positive results in the screens. Anadys will advance compounds through lead optimization, as well as preclinical and clinical development. Financial details were not disclosed.
Codexis Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Maxygen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said it achieved a second research milestone in its 1998 agreement with DSM NV, of Heerlen, the Netherlands, for developing a novel process to manufacture specific beta-lactam antibiotic intermediates. Both targets, initially identified by DSM and improved using Codexis' MolecularBreeding directed molecular evolution technologies, are in the commercial development stage. Also, Codexis said DSM extended the term of the agreement.
CytoGenix Inc., of Houston, elected a new board of directors, including newly elected directors Scott Parazynski, a physician-astronaut, and Frank Vazquez, a biotechnology entrepreneur and consultant. Continuing directors include Chairman, President and CEO Malcolm Skolnick, CFO Lawrence Wunderlich and Michael Walters, a licensed physical therapist in private practice for 43 years.
DepoMed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., presented at this week's BIO 2002 conference in Toronto news of its recent manufacturing and marketing agreement with Biovail Corp., of Toronto, for DepoMed's Metformin GR product for Type II diabetes, as well as results of its Phase II ciprofloxacin GR trial. DepoMed develops oral drug delivery systems for novel oral products and improved formulations of existing oral drugs.
Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, said a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury voted to award the City of Hope National Medical Center approximately $300 million in additional royalties for breach of a 1976 agreement between the parties. The jury next week will deliberate over what, if any, punitive damages to award. City of Hope filed the contract dispute suit against Genentech in 1999. The first trial in October resulted in a deadlocked jury, 7-5 in Genentech's favor. Genentech said it does not intend to appeal until all trial court proceedings conclude.
Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said it would present a summary of safety data to date from clinical studies with HuMax-CD4, its fully human antibody to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, at the EULAR 2002 annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 14. Included will be results from a Phase II study of rheumatoid arthritis. There have been seven adverse events among 155 patients in the study, and only one was due to infection (pneumonia). The cases are still blinded, but data will be available in early fall. In addition, Genmab plans to accrue 65 more patients in the Phase II study in order to collect additional pharmacokinetic data.
Genta Inc., of Berkeley Heights, N.J., said it is beginning a stock repurchase program whereby up to 5 million shares of its common stock may be repurchased by the company at prices it deems desirable. Genta said the repurchases may be made from time to time in open-market transactions at prevailing prices or in privately negotiated transactions with mutually agreed-upon terms. Genta's stock (NASDAQ:GNTA) fell 11 cents Tuesday to close at $6.70. The stock was trading as high as $18.25 in mid-to-late March.
Idun Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, presented at this week's BIO 2002 conference in Toronto the latest Phase I safety data for IDN-6556, a drug targeting hepatic disease. Data showed the drug was safe and well tolerated in the clinical study involving 76 normal adults and patients with mild liver impairment. Statistically significant improvements in liver enzymes were seen in the patients with mild liver impairment treated with IDN-6556, including individuals with stable hepatitis C virus infection. Idun plans to study IDN-6556 in larger Phase II trials in patients with HCV infection and acute alcoholic hepatitis.
Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J., and Immuno-Designed Molecules SA, of Paris, entered a joint development and supply agreement to use Medarex's MDX-010, an anti-CTLA-4 blocking antibody, in combination with selected IDM Cell Drugs. The program adds to a long-standing partnership in which IDM has acquired the right of use to several Medarex antibodies in cell therapy. MDX-010, a fully human antibody that enhances immune responses by prolonging the interaction between dendritic cells and T lymphocytes, is expected to prolong the immunotherapeutic effect of the Cell Drugs. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and LION bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, were awarded a five-year, $11.7 million Advanced Technology Program grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The funding will support the development of a target assessment technologies suite, which is intended to increase the number and success rate of validated targets for product development. Both companies will participate equally in the grant. The award is contingent upon both entering into a cooperative agreement with the institute.
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tustin, Calif., said researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas demonstrated in an animal model that a new fusion protein that links vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) with a toxin (gelonin) targeted and destroyed tumor-supplying blood vessels. Researchers found that tumors in mice treated with VEGF121/rGelonin had been reduced by up to 84 percent compared to tumors in untreated mice. Also, VEGF121/rGelonin selectively destroyed blood vessels supplying human solid tumors without harming normal tissue vasculature.
ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, filed with all Canadian provincial securities commissions a final short-form prospectus relating to a firm underwriting offering of 7.1 million subordinate voting shares at C$2.70 each. Proceeds will be used for the research and development of therapeutic applications, as well as for other commercial applications of ProMetic's platform technology, working capital and current corporate needs. Underwriters include Dundee Securities and Scotia Capital, both of Toronto, as well as National Bank Financial and Desjardins Securities, both of Montreal.
Qiagen NV, of Venlo, the Netherlands, entered into a supply agreement with Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif. The agreement follows a previous research collaboration pursuant to which certain nucleic acid purification technologies from Qiagen have been optimized for use with GeneChip expression arrays. Qiagen will manufacture products customized for use with GeneChip expression analysis. Resulting products will be distributed by Affymetrix for use on the GeneChip systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Replicon Technologies Inc., of Danville, Calif., entered into an amended license agreement with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Research Foundation granting Replicon additional rights to the use of replicon technology in the development of vaccines against infectious diseases and therapeutic vaccines against human cancers. Replicon gains exclusive rights to the commercial use of licensed patents for replicons in the field of human vaccines. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., reported results of a study published in Vaccine suggesting a combination of Remune and immunostimulatory DNA was able to shift the immune response from an antibody-mediated response (Th2) to a cell-mediated response (Th1) in mice infected with the parasite Schistosoma. Clinicians suggest that the addition of CpG immunostimulatory sequences to HIV antigens in IFA may optimize HIV-specific immune responses, and therefore should be included in future trials of Remune and other candidate HIV-1 vaccines.
Vivascience AG, of Hannover, Germany, released the first three in a line of ready-to-use Vivapure kits for protein purification. The kits are designed for protein applications to enable researchers to decipher the human proteome in a shorter period of time. The kits are available in two sizes.
Xpogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., released PathlinX 2.0, a new generation of analytic software. PathlinX reveals only the statistically supported relationships among disparate forms of data, allowing researchers to link experimental data more closely with their biological meaning.
XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, Mass., began a Phase Ib trial of XTL-002, its human monoclonal antibody being developed for hepatitis C virus infections. The study is expected to enroll 20 patients and is designed to test safety, tolerability and changes in viral levels following multiple escalating doses of XTL-002 in chronic HCV patients. The company said this is the first time an hMAb has progressed to multiple-dose studies for HCV in humans.