• Antisoma plc, of London, started a 70-patient Phase II trial of AS1411 in relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia. Patients will be randomized to receive cytarabine alone, cytarabine plus 10 mg/kg/day of AS1411 or cytarabine plus 40 mg/kg/day of AS1411. Efficacy and safety will be compared to see whether patients receiving combination treatment do better than those receiving cytarabine alone and whether the two doses of AS1411 have different effects. Initial results are expected in 2008. AS1411 is an aptamer that binds to the protein nucleolin and has shown anticancer effects in animal models.

• GTC Biotherapeutics Inc., of Framingham, Mass., said its partner, LEO Pharma A/S, of Ballerup, Denmark, enrolled the first patient in a Phase II study of ATryn, a recombinant antithrombin product, in disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in association with severe sepsis. Full enrollment of approximately 200 patients is planned to take about 12 months, with results expected to be available in the second half of 2008. The study is expected to establish safety and determine the optimum dose for a subsequent Phase III study. LEO has licensed rights to ATryn in Europe, Canada and the Middle East, and GTC retains full commercial rights in the U.S., Japan and the rest of the world.

• Kosan Biosciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif., said partner New York-based Pfizer Inc. initiated a Phase I trial of motilin receptor agonist PF-04548043, formerly KOS-2187, which is in development for gastroesophageal reflux disease and potentially other gastrointestinal disorders. The study will test the drug in healthy subjects.