Canfite Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, is beginning Phase I clinical trials in Europe and the U.S. for AFite, its oral antitumor drug for adjunctive treatment with chemotherapy. Founder Ilan Cohn, a medical doctor and senior partner in the Tel Aviv-based Reinhold Cohn patent attorney firm, with Pnina Fishman, a cancer research professor at the Felsenstein Medical Research Center of the Rabin Medical Center, is finalizing an investment round of $4.5 million from the venture capital groups. "What makes me especially enthusiastic about AFite is not only its oral delivery, but its high specificity toward tumor cells, arresting tumor growth without impacting noncancerous cells," Cohn said. "Remarkably, AFite boosts the number of white blood cells and particularly neutrophils, reduced as a result of administration of chemotherapeutic drugs."
Compugen Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, doubled its revenues in 2000 to $6.9 million compared to 1999, but also increased its net loss for the year, to $13.4 million from $8.1 million. Mor Amitai, president and CEO, said, "We are very optimistic. The release of the human genome supports our position of the past four years: that alternative DNA splicing is the rule and not the exception, and we are in a lead position to understand the transcriptome, the missing link between the genome and the proteome," using its LEADS platform, DNA chip design, Z3 automated software package for 2D pay-per-gel analysis, and the recently announced Gencarta annotated genome, transcriptome and proteome databases.
LION bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, launched an integrated solution for investigation of gene expression in rats. The system consists of a clone library, named arrayTAG, which bears 10,000 nonredundant cDNA clones from RNA originally expressed in different rat tissues at different ages. "Adding mRNA from an animal to the arrayTAG, you can detect a fluorescence signal, if your sample fits to a tag," LION spokeswoman Andrea Kreisselmeier said. The clones refer to the database arrayBASE for retrieval of basic information and can be compared by arraySCOUT with more comprehensive data available from other databases. In January, LION launched a referring system to profile gene expression in mice. Integrated systems for other model organisms are under way, the spokeswoman said.