• Alfacell Corp., of Bloomfield, N.J., has reached 210 deaths in its confirmatory Phase IIIb trial of Onconase (ranpirnase) in unresectable malignant mesothelioma. The number represents two-thirds of the required events for the study, and the company has the option to conduct a second interim analysis of the data at any point after 210 of the 316 total events planned. Alfacell also released results from the first interim analysis following one-third of the required events (105 of 143 patients), showing an overall median survival of 12 months in the Onconase-plus doxorubicin-treated group vs. 10 months for patients receiving doxorubicin alone. Results also showed that at one year, 47 percent of the group receiving both drugs were alive compared to 36 percent of those receiving doxorubicin only.

• Aradigm Corp., of Hayward, Calif., said its partner, Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, is ready to re-initiate Phase III development of AERx insulin Diabetes Management System (iDMS) inhalable insulin. The Phase III program is expected to involve about 2,200 Type I and Type II diabetics, and will include a number of different treatment comparisons, such as long-term pulmonary safety and combination treatment with other diabetes drugs. Novo anticipates the program taking about three years to complete.

• Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, reported final survival results from an exploratory analysis of a 171-patient Phase IIb data demonstrating the potential of Stimuvax in patients with Stage IIIb and IV non-small-cell lung cancer. Results confirmed a median survival rate in Stage IIIb patients on vaccine of 30.6 months vs. 13.3 months for patients in the control group. Stimuvax (formerly BLP25 Liposome Vaccine) is a synthetic MUC1 peptide vaccine partnered with Darmstadt, Germany-based Merck KGaA. Merck is expected to handle Phase III development and commercialization of the product, with Biomira to receive royalties on any potential sales. Shares of Biomira (NASDAQ:BIOM) jumped nearly 13 percent on the data, closing at $1.40 Friday, up 16 cents.

• Nastech Pharmaceutical Co. Inc., of Bothell, Wash., said data from a Phase I study shows that its parathyroid hormone (PTH1-34) nasal spray has a similar pharmacokinetic profile to the approved subcutaneous product, Forteo (teriparatide, Eli Lilly and Co.) Results also demonstrated that the PTH1-34 nasal spray formulations had bioavailability relative to the subcutaneous injection of up to 15 percent.

• Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, reported positive results of its proof-of-concept Phase II trial of NBI-56418, its oral, small-molecule gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor antagonist, in endometriosis. Three-month data showed reductions in signs and symptoms, as measured by the Composite Pelvic Sign and Symptoms Score, of 3.9 points at the 75-mg dose and 5 points for the 15-mg dose at week 12, compared to 3.7 points in the placebo group. Based on the data, the company plans to select a dosing regimen for an expanded six-month Phase IIb study, set to begin in the third quarter.

• Nucryst Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Wakefield, Mass., completed patient enrollment in a second Phase II trial of NPI-32101, a topical cream formulation of its nanocrystalline silver in development for atopic dermatitis. A total of 409 patients with mild to moderate eczema have been enrolled for up to 12 weeks of treatment, and results of the study are expected by the end of the year.