Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., said it agreed to obtain exclusive worldwide licensing rights from the University of Washington for rights to a patent covering adeno-associated viral (AAV) gene therapy to the liver. The company now holds more than 80 issued or granted patents and patent applications, including one 1998 broad patent that covers all gene therapy products that utilize AAV vectors to deliver genes.
Cerus Corp., of Concord, Calif., said a data and safety monitoring board cleared the company to continue its U.S. Phase III clinical trial of the Intercept Platelet system, a pathogen inactivator used on blood transfusion products the company develops in collaboration with Baxter Healthcare Corp. Related systems designed to eliminate pathogens from plasma and red blood cells are in Phase III and Phase I clinical trials, respectively.
De Novo Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, entered an agreement with British Biotech Inc., of Oxford, UK, for antibacterial drug discovery research. British Biotech made an up-front payment as a part of the arrangement, and will fund the research for one year. De Novo is to apply its expertise and platform of proprietary computer algorithms to provide novel, patentable small-molecule leads for British Biotech.
Genzyme Molecular Oncology Inc., of Framingham, Mass., said researchers at Johns Hopkins University have identified 79 genes, including 14 novel genes, implicated in angiogenesis using Genzyme's SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression) genomics technology. Genzyme retains all intellectual property rights to researcher developments arising from the genes found in this study. Genzyme Molecular's stock (NASDAQ:GZMO) jumped 68 percent Thursday, rising $5.28 to close at $13.03 (see story p. 1).
Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it entered a licensing agreement with Motorola Inc., of Northbrook, Ill., for Motorola's Biochip Systems unit to utilize Incyte's gene sequence databases and gene patent portfolio for the commercialization of bioarrays. Incyte will receive royalties on Motorola's bioarray sales. It is the first such license deal for Incyte.
Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Vancouver, B.C., said the FDA granted fast-track designation to the company's cancer candidate Onco TCS for relapsed aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Onco TCS already has qualified for accelerated development with the FDA, which reduces the clinical development program time by about a year, the company said. Fast-track designation should reduce the development time by several more months.
Integrative Proteomics Inc., of Toronto, completed an $8 million equity financing that included a broad range of U.S., European and Canadian investors, as the company disclosed earlier this week. Lombard Odier Immunology Fund and CC Capital Partners were among the investors. The company was created through the merger of Chalon Biotech Inc. and Borealis Biosciences Inc. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 16, 2000, p. 1.)
Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., said it has begun enrollment of the first HIV-infected participants in a Phase I/II safety study of PRO 2000 Gel, a candidate vaginal microbicide designed to prevent the transmission of HIV infection and other STDs. PRO 2000 Gel showed a promising safety profile in previous Phase I clinical trials, and will be studied in non-HIV infected sexually active women in the U.S. and South Africa.
Lion Bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, said its underwriters exercised in full their overallotment option to purchase an additional 685,625 shares of stock in association with Lion's initial public offering, which now totals $210 million. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter led the offering, which totaled 5.26 million shares including the overallotment option. (See BioWorld Today, August 14, 2000, p. 1.)
Mycota Biosciences Inc., of Montreal, purchased a library of 20,000 compounds from Talon Cheminformatics Inc., of Acton, Ontario, for use this fall in Mycota's primary drug screening phase of its genomics-based work on Candida albicans, a prevalent human fungal pathogen. Mycota said it will acquire a total of 100,000 specialized compounds from Talon in the coming months.
Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it plans to launch it's predictive medicine test for hereditary colon cancer, known as Colaris, in September. The test screens for gene mutations that indicate both colon cancer in men and endometrial cancer in women.
NeuroSearch Co., of Glostrup, Denmark, said it and partner Glaxo Wellcome plc, of Research Triangle Park, N.C., temporarily suspended Phase II clinical studies of NS2389, the Danish company's serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, pending further preclinical investigation. The trial stopped after the companies detected inconsistencies in an animal-based toxicology study as compared to previous results. Glaxo agreed to a development collaboration for the compound with NeuroSearch in January worth up to $57 million that included an up-front payment of $10 million. (See BioWorld Today, January 24, 2000, p. 1.)
Symbollon Corp., of Framingham, Mass., said it received favorable preliminary Phase II clinical trial results for its patented fibrocystic breast disease drug IoGen. The study was designed to investigate safety and efficacy at various dosages.
Syn X Pharma Inc., of Toronto, said it closed a $5.8 million private placement of special warrants led by Octagon Capital Corp. and Thomson Kernaghan & Co. Ltd. The company said it will use the proceeds to continue clinical trials needed of Strokepanel and other pipeline products.
Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, said joint venture partner Elan Corporation plc, of Dublin, Ireland, purchased an additional $5 million of TGEN stock in accordance with their July 1999 agreement that established Emerald Gene Systems. That agreement called for an immediate $5 million equity investment and another equal investment, at TGEN's discretion, at the one-year anniversary of the joint venture's establishment. Emerald Gene Systems focuses on the development of enhanced gene delivery systems.
Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., said it entered a collaborative research agreement with Flemington Pharmaceutical Corp. through the wholly owned Valentis subsidiary PolyMASC Pharmaceuticals plc for the development and formulation of PEGylated insulin using Fleminton's Immediate-Immediate Release lingual spray system. Each of the companies will pay its own development costs associated with the project, and the pair will seek a corporate development and marketing partner if feasibility studies are successful.