Aeolus Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said results from three separate studies using AEOL 10150 in a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have been published in the August 2005 issue of the Annals of Neurology. The studies showed that administering AEOL 10150 at symptom onset resulted in a slowing in the rate of disease progression, as well as the absence of specific deficits in the treated mice.
Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said each of the parties that opposed the grant of the company's European Patent No. 0 706 376 in 1998 has irrevocably withdrawn or abandoned its opposition efforts, leaving the patent valid and enforceable. The patent helps protect Angiotech's technology, including the Taxus stent program partnered with Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific Corp.
BioVisioN AG, of Hannover, Germany, received a E560,000 (US$693,470) research grant through the German BioChancePLUS program for a project to characterize proteases and protease inhibitors. The company will apply its Peptidomics technologies to analyze substrates and products of proteases in vivo to discover biomarkers for drug efficacy and drug side effects.
CellTran Ltd., of Sheffield, UK, raised £2.7 million (US$4.8 million) in a private funding round led by YFM Group. Other investors were Biofusion and White Rose Seedcorn Fund, along with Partnerships UK plc. Proceeds will be used to continue development of CellTran's surface chemistry and tissue-engineering technologies with a focus on wound-care products, to progress CellTran's lead product Myskin through clinical trials as a treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, and to expand its sales and marketing efforts of Myskin to treat chronic wounds and burns.
Cephalon Inc., of Frazer, Pa., said results of its pivotal Phase III study of Provigil in patients with shift work sleep disorder showed that the drug improved wakefulness, performance and level of attention. Those results were published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. The company also recently completed a Phase III study in shift work sleep disorder with its second wake-promoting agent, Nuvigil (armodafinil).
Corautus Genetics Inc., of Atlanta, said an independent data monitoring committee recommended the continuation of the Phase IIb trial called Genasis (Genetic Angiogenic Stimulation Investigational Study). The trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of vascular endothelial growth factor-2 to treat patients with severe angina. The planned interim safety analysis was conducted after the first 115 patients were treated in the trial.
Genelabs Technologies Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said a non-nucleoside compound from its internal hepatitis C virus drug discovery program has advanced into preclinical development. The compound, GL60667, is the second Genelabs non-nucleoside compound to advance to that stage. Genelabs holds all commercial rights to both products.
Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., priced $230 million in 2.25 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2012 through a private placement to qualified institutional buyers. The company expects to close the transaction next week. The notes are convertible into the company's common stock at $17.78 per share. The company intends to use the net proceeds to repurchase its 5 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2007 and its 3.75 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2007.
Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., said data from an additional Phase I study of ISIS 301012 produced rapid reductions of its target, apoB-100, with concomitant reductions in low density lipoprotein (LDL). Less than one month following dosing, healthy volunteers achieved a median reduction of 60 percent in apoB-100 and a median reduction of 54 percent in LDL. Six volunteers participated in the trial.
NeoRx Corp., of Seattle, and The Scripps Research Institute formed a collaboration to focus on discovering small-molecule, multi-targeted, protein kinase inhibitors as therapeutic agents, including cancer treatments. NeoRx is the first biotechnology company to enter into a research alliance with Scripps Florida, which is located in Palm Beach County. The company will provide $2.5 million over 26 months to support the research, and it will have the option to negotiate a worldwide exclusive license to any compounds developed through the collaboration.
Nymox Pharmaceutical Corp., of Hasbruck Heights, N.J., said interim safety analysis of its ongoing Phase II trial of NX-1207 has not revealed any serious drug side effects so far. NX-1207 is Nymox's lead candidate for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. The study is expected to be completed later this year.
Osiris Therapeutics Inc., of Baltimore, expanded the terms of its license agreement with JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Ashiya, Japan, allowing JCR to sell stem cells for use in the field of drug screening and evaluation in the territory of Japan. This technology will allow companies involved in the screening of pharmaceutical compounds the ability to determine certain critical metabolic effects on viable human cells. The original agreement was signed in August 2003 to allow JCR rights to commercialize a stem cell drug in Japan designed to treat the effects of graft-vs.-host disease in leukemia patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea, said stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk and his research team introduced the first cloned dog, a 14-week Afghan hound named Snuppy. Last year, that team developed the first cloned human embryo, and in May presented the first embryonic stem cells that genetically matched sick patients. Woo-suk and his colleagues said the goal of their stem cell and cloning work is to learn how to treat human diseases by creating a reliable research model.
Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Marietta, Ga., agreed to collaborate with the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research to investigate a mechanism of action to treat gastrointestinal motility disorders. Mayo will allow Solvay to use its patent rights, and the two will collaborate to screen Solvay's pipeline molecules to identify those with a high affinity toward that mechanism of action.
Speedel Group AG, of Basel, Switzerland, privately raised CHF70 million (US$56 million) through a convertible loan, bringing its total fund raising for the year to CHF117.8 million. Proceeds will be used for clinical development, specifically for the Phase III study of its endothelin A receptor antagonist, SPP301, initiated last month in diabetic nephropathy. The mortality and morbidity study will evaluate SPP301 in more than 2,000 Type II diabetes patients. Funds from the financing also will support the activities of Speedel Experimenta, the company's late-stage research unit. (See BioWorld Today, July 8, 2005.)
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), of Phoenix, and Northern Arizona University received a multi-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that encompasses several projects, the first of which aims to improve the understanding and management of sepsis and community-acquired pneumonia. Supported by Applied Biosystems, of Foster City, Calif., the project will focus on discovering pathogen-specific DNA signatures.