• Manhattan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New York, finished patient dosing in two separate, ongoing Phase IIa trials of oral oleoyl-estrone. The first trial is evaluating OE for common obesity, and the second targets morbid obesity. Both trials include a post-dosing follow-up period. Study completion and data analysis will begin after the final follow-up visit, and the analysis is scheduled to be completed in July.

• Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., started a two-stage, Phase I/II trial with Azedra, also known as Ultratrace iobenguane I 131 or Ultratrace MIBG, for malignant pheochromocytoma, a type of neuroendocrine cancer. The trial is designed to determine therapeutic dosing and evaluate the safety and efficacy of Azedra, a targeted radiotherapeutic that consists of the known I-131-MIBG molecule radiolabeled using the company's Ultratrace technology. The Phase I segment of the trial, which is expected to involve 12 to 18 patients, is a dose-ranging study designed to determine the maximum tolerated dose. The company expects that the dose-ranging portion will be completed in the second half of this year. In the Phase II part, safety and efficacy of Azedra as a monotherapy will be tested, and up to 37 patients are expected to enroll in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

• Repligen Corp., of Waltham, Mass., disclosed positive results from a Phase II trial with RG1068, synthetic human secretin, an agent to improve the assessment of pancreatic duct structures by magnetic resonance imaging. The study showed an improvement in sensitivity of detection of structural abnormalities of the pancreatic duct of about 20 percent, with no loss in specificity, consistent with prior data and expectations. Also, RG1068 yielded highly significant increases in three assessments: physician confidence in the ability to identify structural abnormalities, the number of pancreatic duct segments visualized and improvement in the overall quality of the MRI images.

• Ziopharm Oncology Inc., of New York, dosed the first patient in a Phase II trial with ZIO-101 (organic arsenical) for the treatment of patients with primary liver cancer. The study will take place at five U.S. liver cancer treatment centers, including sites in New York, Boston, Miami, Seattle and Atlanta. Exposure to ZIO-101 has a direct as well as indirect effect on mitochondrial functions, resulting in depletion of energy supply to the cell and induction of apoptosis, the company said.

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