• Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., reported positive preliminary results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase I/II dose-escalating clinical trial of its typhoid fever vaccine candidate, Ty800, in healthy volunteers. The researchers found the single-dose, oral vaccine to be well tolerated and immunogenic, with more than 90 percent of vaccinated subjects generating immune responses. Based on those results, the firm plans to start a Phase II dose-ranging trial of Ty800 in mid-2007. Avant's stock (NASDAQ:AVAN) rose 15.6 percent Friday to close at $1.04, up 14 cents.

• Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., noted that results published in The Lancet showed that Merck's cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil (quadrivalent HPV, types 6, 11, 16 and 18) proved 100 percent effective in preventing high-grade vulvar and vaginal dysplasias caused by HPV types 16 and 18. The effect was observed in women not infected with HPV types targeted by the vaccine at the start of the study and through one month after receiving the third dose. Those data represent an additional year of follow-up since data were presented for approval. The vaccine was cleared by the FDA for marketing last June, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends use by females ages 11 to 26.

• Wyeth, of Madison, N.J., said Enbrel (etanercept) in moderate to severe plaque psoriasis patients showed reduced severity of nail psoriasis by more than 28 percent at 12 weeks and reduced the signs and symptoms of plaque psoriasis. Those data and other findings from an ongoing randomized, open-label trial were presented at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress in Vienna, Austria. Enbrel was discovered by Immunex Corp., now part of Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and was jointly developed with Wyeth. The two firms co-promote the TNF inhibitor Enbrel, a blockbuster against rheumatoid arthritis, in North America.

No Comments