• Advanced Viral Research Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., began a Phase II study using a topically applied spray formulation of AVR 118 as a wound healing agent. One cohort of patients will be treated after plastic surgery. The product will be applied to one of their wounds, and their second wounds will serve as an untreated control to determine if AVR 118 can accelerate the time taken for the wound to close and reduce or eliminate subsequent scar formation. A second cohort of patients will be treated after derm abrasion. Following that therapy, the product will be applied directly to one-half of the inflamed facial tissue, and the other half will serve as an untreated control to determine if AVR 118 can effectively reduce inflammation and accelerate the rate of tissue regeneration.

• Archimedes Pharma Ltd., of Reading, UK, began a global Phase III program of Nasalfent, a fentanyl citrate nasal spray, in breakthrough cancer pain. The trial will enroll about 180 patients, and the endpoints will focus on assessments of pain relief and pain intensity at several time points up to 60 minutes post-treatment. Patients who successfully complete that study will be eligible to enroll in a longer-term open safety study.

• Bone Medical Ltd., of Bentley, Australia, expects to begin a Phase II study this quarter to test a salmon calcitonin product that uses its oral peptide delivery system, via capsule, for osteoporosis. The trial, which is designed to demonstrate bioequivalence between oral calcitonin and nasal spray, will enroll 35 healthy, postmenopausal women.

• Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, said Phase II data reported at the Molecular Targets in Cancer Therapy meeting in Clearwater Beach, Fla., showed that about half of advanced small-cell lung cancer patients responded to the combination of its molecular cancer vaccine, INGN 225, with subsequent chemotherapy. Patients achieved a 52 percent objective tumor response rate, and 41 percent still were alive one year after receiving the immunotherapy. Historically, tumor responses to second-line chemotherapy are between 6 percent and 30 percent, the company said, adding that most patients survive for less than six months. So Introgen concluded that the data imply that INGN 225 immunotherapy can sensitize cancer cells to the effects of chemotherapy, restoring its effectiveness.

• Nutra Pharma Corp., of Boca Raton, Fla., said its holding, ReceptoPharm, began a Phase IIb trial of RPI-78M, its lead candidate for neurological disorders, in patients with adrenomyeloneuropathy. The trial's protocol also is expected to allow ReceptoPharm the opportunity to assess efficacy in multiple sclerosis patients. The company initially gained regulatory approval to begin the Phase IIb study in April 2006, but the start was delayed by contract drug fillers and certification for the drug batch.

• Sunesis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said it would advance a Phase II study of SNS-595 in treatment-sensitive, small-cell lung cancer patients to the second stage. But the company does not expect to enroll additional patients in a non-small-cell lung cancer trial. Those decisions are based on initial results from the first stages of two studies of the cell-cycle inhibitor. Anti-tumor activity was observed, including evidence of stable disease, minor responses and partial responses, in one arm of the small-cell study. Sunesis plans to continue evaluating SNS-595 in those patients who previously had responded to first-line therapy, but subsequently relapsed after more than three months. There were minor and mixed responses and stable disease in the non-small-cell trial, but no objective responses as defined by RECIST criteria have been observed to date.