* Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., began clinical trials of AG7088, targeting the human rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of the common cold. In Phase I trials in England, the drug's safety and pharmacokinetic parameters will be evaluated in healthy volunteers given single and multiple intranasal doses. AG7088 is a synthetic compound designed to inhibit human rhinovirus 3C protease, an enzyme essential for rhinovirus replication.
* Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, licensed worldwide rights to a class of compounds that inhibit tumor angiogenesis. The synthetic small-molecule compounds, termed aryl cyolams, are believed to exert their effect by binding extracellular copper and inhibiting a critical enzyme, lysyl oxidase.
* Epic Therapeutics Inc., of Norwood, Mass., began a pivotal clinical trial of its lead product, ProMaxx 100, in prostate cancer patients. The drug is an extended-release formulation of a currently marketed LH-RH analog, intended to suppress testosterone levels and slow the progression of the tumor. The company uses water-soluble polymers to form biodegradable microspheres.
* MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and BioTransplant Inc., of Charlestown, Mass., disclosed plans to begin two Phase I/II clinical trials to evaluate MEDI-507 as a treatment for acute graft-versus-host disease in steroid-naive adults and pediatric patients. MEDI-507 is the humanized form of the murine monoclonal antibody BTI-322. The drug has received orphan drug designation from the FDA.
* Pharmos Corp., of Iselin, N.J., obtained a $10 million line of credit with a single institutional investor. Under the agreement, the company may draw funds through sale of common stock at a 7 percent discount to the closing bid price, calculated at the time of the draw-down. The agreement is in effect for up to two and a half years, if not fully drawn or canceled beforehand.
* Tularik Inc., of South San Francisco, and Knoll AG, of Ludwigshafen, Germany, entered a three-year collaboration to develop obesity drugs. Tularik will receive financial support for research and drug discovery efforts in obesity-related targets. Knoll will be responsible for preclinical research, clinical development and regulatory clearances of compounds, and will get marketing rights in all countries outside Asia. Tularik also can earn milestone payments and royalties.
* Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., disclosed preliminary results of a Phase II clinical trial of Incel (biricodar dicitrate) for advanced breast cancer refractory to treatment with paclitaxel. Data from 32 evaluable patients suggest the drug may play a role in restoring the activity of paclitaxel in such patients.