• BioMS Medical Corp., of Edmonton, Alberta, received approval from the Danish Medicines Agency to start patient enrollment in Denmark for its pivotal Phase II/III trial of MBP8298 to treat secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The company is enrolling patients in Canada, the UK and Sweden. About 553 patients will be administered either MBP8298 or placebo intravenously every six months for two years.

• Cell Genesys Inc., of South San Francisco, said the FDA granted fast-track designation for GVAX immunotherapy for advanced prostate cancer. The therapy is in two Phase III trials that are under special protocol assessments from the FDA. They are expected to enroll about 1,200 patients with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

• Depomed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., finalized the Phase III trial protocol for Gabapentin GR extended-release tablets in conformance with requirements from the FDA, and the company expects to begin enrolling patients with postherpetic neuralgia later this month. The study will include about 400 patients and will evaluate once-daily and twice-daily Gabapentin GR treatment arms vs. placebo. The primary endpoint will be a reduction in pain score as measured from baseline using the Likert pain scale.

• Eurand International SpA, of Milan, Italy, started the second of two Phase III trials required for registration of its pancreatic enzyme product, EUR-1008, in patients with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. The trial will determine the safety and tolerability of EUR-1008 in children younger than 7 years. It will involve about 10 clinical sites in the U.S., and patient enrollment should be complete by the end of the third quarter.

• ImmuPharma plc, of London, completed a Phase I study of its lead compound IPP-201101 in 24 healthy volunteers, and the preliminary safety report confirmed the drug was safe and well tolerated. ImmuPharma will proceed with a Phase II proof-of-concept study in lupus patients.

• Incyte Corp., of Wilmington, Del., started a Phase I trial of INCB9471, a new orally available CCR5 antagonist being developed to treat HIV-1. The study is designed to assess the safety and pharmacokinetics of the compound in healthy volunteers. A Phase I multiple dose study, also in healthy volunteers, is expected to begin in July, and a Phase IIa trial involving HIV patients should start later this year.

• Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, started a Phase IIb study with IPL512,602 in patients suffering from moderate to severe asthma. The study, called CAPSICS (Control of Asthma Patients Symptomatic on Inhaled Corticosteroids Study), is an eight-week trial comparing the efficacy of IPL512,602 to placebo. It will enroll about 200 male or female asthma patients who suffer from symptoms despite taking their regular medications.

• NeoRx Corp., of Seattle, treated the first patient in a Phase I/II trial of its lead product, picoplatin, for the front-line treatment of colorectal cancer. Picoplatin is being studied in a Phase II trial in small-cell lung cancer patients, and NeoRx plans to start a Phase I/II trial in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer by the end of the second quarter. The company also said it is changing its name to Poniard Pharmaceuticals Inc., effective June 16, to reflect its reposition as a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on oncology products. It plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to San Francisco by the beginning of the third quarter, but will retain its clinical development and support activities in Seattle.

• Theregen Corp., of San Francisco, said its Aginera cell-based cardiovascular patch was placed successfully on the first patient in a Phase I trial. The Aginera patch contains human fibrolast cells that secrete multiple biochemical factors for forming blood vessels and aiding in tissue repair.

• Tranzyme Pharma, of Research Triangle Park, N.C., completed a Phase I trial of TZP-101, a new chemical entity originating from the company's small-molecule macrocyclic chemistry technology. TZP-101 is a selective ghrelin receptor agonist being developed for postoperative ileus and other gastrointestinal motility disorders. The trial showed the compound is safe and well tolerated in healthy subjects.