Agenix Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, signed a contract with Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Diosynth Biotechnology to begin the process of manufacturing ThromboView for Phase III trials and commercial sales. Diosynth is expected to supply the product so Agenix can begin the pivotal trials by the third quarter of next year.
Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, UK, completed recruitment of 80 clinically obese but otherwise healthy volunteers for the U.S. Phase I trial of its lipase inhibitor, cetilistat. The randomized, double-blind parallel group trial will compare four doses of cetilistat, with the primary endpoint being pharmacokinetics. The compound has completed Phase II trials in obesity in Europe, and is in a Phase II trial in obese diabetics.
Atonomics A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, raised €9 million (US$11.1 million) in a new investment round supported by Inventages, the venture capital arm of Nestle SA of Vevey, Switzerland; Murata of Kyoto, Japan; NeuroSearch, of Ballerup, Denmark; and Vaekstfonden (the Danish Fund for Industrial Growth), of Copenhagen. The company will receive half of the cash now and the second half over a one- to two-year time frame. Atonomics has developed and applied for patent protection for a new biosensor technology that relies on the use of surface acoustic waves for detecting biomolecules via affinity reactions on gold surfaces. The company will use the funding to finalize development of its first diagnostic products incorporating the technology, which, it said, will offer improvements in speed, sensitivity and cost over current technologies.
Bone Medical Ltd., of Bentley, Western Australia, said its level one American depository receipt (ADR) program is effective with receipts tradable on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol "BMEDY." The Bank of New York was chosen to serve as the depositary bank for Bone Medical's ADR program.
Cenix BioScience GmbH, of Dresden, Germany, delivered a collection of potential therapeutic targets to one of its partners, Bayer HealthCare AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, as part of an RNAi-based collaboration. The deal involved using cell-based assays that were developed at Bayer and optimized to run as high-throughput RNAi screens at Cenix. Bayer has the first option to secure all rights to target-related intellectual property generated by this project, in exchange for milestone payments.
Cerep SA, of Paris, reported a net loss of €4.1 million (US$5.1 million) for the first half of 2005, against a profit of €0.8 million in the corresponding six months of 2004. The company said this was partly due to a €2 million increase in spending on its oncology drug discovery program, as well as non-recurring expenses and a €1 million provision due to the cessation of its in vivo pharmacology business. Its total revenues were virtually unchanged at €24.3 million, with a 22 percent rise in its clinical service activities (to €7.7 million) offsetting a 7 percent drop in its drug discovery activities (to €16.6 million).
Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., and XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, ended patient dosing in the second of two Phase II hepatitis B clinical trials of HepeX-B. Cubist plans to review data with the FDA in order to design a Phase III trial. A data safety monitoring board recently reviewed data from the Phase II and no concerns were raised.
CytoGenix Inc., of Houston, entered an agreement with Imperial College London for research studies using the company's antimicrobial nucleic acid compound. The program aims at further elucidating the activity of CytoGenix's RBL-1 for potential therapeutic purposes. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Epimmune Inc., of San Diego, said its stockholders approved the merger with Paris-based Immuno-Designed Molecules SA, and the common stock of the combined company will be listed on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol "IDMI." The merger gives Epimmune a more advanced clinical pipeline, a stronger balance sheet and significant corporate partnerships, said its president and CEO, Emile Loria. The merger was announced in March.
Galapagos NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, along with ZoBio BV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, and Pyxis Discovery BV, of Delft, the Netherlands, formed a four-way collaboration with Leiden University to pursue a small-molecule drug discovery program in the area of arthritis. Galapagos will contribute its arthritis disease biology and a validated target for drug development. The two-year collaboration will be funded in part by a €1.2 million (US$1.5 million) grant from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Separately, Galapagos and High Q Foundation Inc., of New York, reached agreement in principle for a two-year alliance to apply Galapagos' adenoviral Silence Select siRNA collection and FleXSelect cDNA collection to discover drug targets for Huntington's disease. Galadeno, Galapagos' partnering unit, would perform the research, and Galapagos would receive up to $3 million from High Q, as well as retain the option to further develop certain targets identified during the collaboration. A final agreement is expected to be signed by Oct. 1.
Gentium SpA, of Villa Guardia, Italy, said data showed that its two DNA-based drugs, Defibrotide and Oligotide, appear to protect human endothelial cells from chemotherapy-induced activation, transendothelial migration and apoptotic damage. The drugs also might eliminate the increased allogenicity of cytotoxic T cells. Defibrotide received fast-track and orphan drug status in the U.S., and is being evaluated as a treatment for veno-occlusive disease with multiple organ failure. Study results were presented at the annual Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis in Sydney, Australia.
IP2IPO Group plc, of London, invested £300,000 (US$542,000) in Avacta Ltd., a spinout from Leeds University. Avacta's technology combines spectroscopic and biological techniques to enable the characterization of biological and chemical substances down to the level of a single molecule. The company is working on a collaboration to develop the technology for the remote detection of hazardous substances for defense and counterterrorism. Avacta has developed also the first high-throughput screening system for membrane-bound drug targets.
Karo Bio AB, of Huddinge, Sweden, and Wyeth, of Madison, N.J., agreed to extend the research component of their atherosclerosis collaboration for a further year, through Aug. 31, 2006. The agreement, which commenced in September 2001, is focused on finding modulators of liver X receptor (LXR) that can promote net cholesterol efflux from atherosclerotic blood vessels resulting in the potential for regression of vascular plaque formation. The program has yielded lead compounds that inhibit lipid accumulation in the aorta in animal models of atherosclerosis.
Macogen Inc., of Seoul, South Korea, and Applied Biosystems Group, of Foster City, Calif., said that Macogen will provide gene expression analysis services using the Applied Biosystems Expression Array System to the National Institute of Toxicological Research (NITR) under the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA).
Mesoblast Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, appointed Michael Spooner as full-time executive chairman until June 30, 2006. The company also reported the promotion of Donal O'Dwyer to non-executive deputy chairman. Mesoblast is an adult stem cell company.
Millipore Corp., of Billerica, Mass., completed the acquisition of more than 90 percent of the shares of NovAseptic AB, of Gothenburg, Sweden, from the company's majority shareholders. Millipore said it is in the process of acquiring the remaining shares from the minority stockholders. NovAseptic provides a range of solutions for aseptic processing applications in manufacturing operations.
Norwood Immunology Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said research findings published in Journal of Immunology show that it is possible to reverse the natural aging process in the immune system in mice and humans using the leuteinizing hormone-releasing hormone to temporarily inhibit sex steroids. The inhibition appeared the revitalize the thymus, causing it to produce more of the T cells needed to maintain health.
Orthogen AG, of Dusseldorf, Germany, said results of a 400-patient trial of Orthokine showed the product to be safe and effective in treating osteoarthritis. Results also indicated that Orthokine was superior to hyaluronic acid injection therapy and placebo. The product is designed to target the mechanism of arthritis and prevent further cartilage degeneration in the joints.
Phylogica Ltd., of Subiaco, Australia, and Mimotopes Pty. Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, signed a partnership agreement to develop next-generation peptide drugs. Phylogica's Phylomer technology comprises peptides that block the harmful interactions between proteins involved in a range of diseases, including stroke, diabetes and asthma. Mimotopes Synphase platform incorporates complementary technology that will enable the rapid production and optimization of large libraries of the Phylomers identified by Phylogica as potential therapeutics.
Prima Biomed Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, and the Austin Research Institute agreed in principle on a process enabling Prima to gain full ownership of its four subsidiary companies, Oncomab Pty. Ltd., Panvax Ltd., Cancer Vac Pty. Ltd., and Arthron Pty. Ltd. Prima is expected to acquire the holdings in exchange for about 15 million ordinary shares. The agreement also provides for ARI and Prima to continue their commercial collaborative relationship, and arrangements are being finalized for Prima to keep reviewing technologies arising from ARI, other than xenotransplantation, for possible commercial opportunities.
Progen Industries Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, reported the expansion of the Phase II trial program of its lead anticancer product, PI-88, into prostate cancer. The first patients will begin treatment this week. The new trial, where PI-88 will be combined with the chemotherapy agent Taxotere, will assess the efficacy and safety of PI-88 in 82 patients with androgen-independent prostate cancer.
Sareum Holdings plc, of Cambridge, UK, agreed to a drug discovery deal with Almirall Prodesfarma SA, of Barcelona, Spain. Sareum will provide protein structure determination services to show how Almirall's potential anti-inflammatory drug candidates interact with their target proteins.
Tissera Inc., of Herzlia, Israel, said its sponsored research team at the Weizmann Institute of Science showed extensive proliferation of hepatic cells after pig fetal liver fragments transplantation, without any preparative manipulation of the host liver. Previous studies have shown that proliferation of transplanted isolated hepatocytes can be achieved only in conjunction with destructive manipulations of host liver.
Trigen Holdings AG, of Munich, Germany, said preliminary results of a Phase II study of its intravenous anticoagulant drug, TGN 255, indicated that the drug provided effective and convenient anticoagulant cover in 28 patients undergoing hemodialysis, with a high level of control, and with no increase in bleeding risk. Results were presented at the Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis meeting in Sydney, Australia. Trigen said final data from the study is expected in the fall.