Advanced Tissue Sciences Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., provided an update on the status of its Oct. 10 filing of a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The company said the bankruptcy court entered orders on the company's initial motions in the bankruptcy proceedings. On the "363 motion" to allow the sale to London-based Smith & Nephew of the company's interest in the Dermagraft joint venture, the court approved the sales procedures and set a hearing date of Nov. 15. As previously reported, if approved by the court, Smith & Nephew would purchase the company's interest in their joint venture and related assets for $12 million. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 14, 2002.)
CareX SA, of Strasbourg, France, and Chemical Diversity Labs Inc., of San Diego, formed a research collaboration to apply methods of rational drug design to library screening of bioactive substances. Chemical Diversity Labs will provide libraries for CareX's drug discovery targets in the field of metabolic diseases.
Cell Pathways Inc., of Horsham, Pa., said it received a letter dated Oct. 17 from Nasdaq notifying it that the price of its stock closed below the minimum $1 requirement for continued inclusion in the market. The company will be provided 90 calendar days, or until Jan. 15, to regain compliance.
Genaera Corp., of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., received regulatory approval from the Irish Medicines Board to begin a Phase II trial of Lomucin, Genaera's oral mucoregulator treatment, in people with cystic fibrosis. The double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study will evaluate 60 patients with cystic fibrosis and assess the preliminary effects of Lomucin on respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function, as well as tolerance. Clinical development of Lomucin is supported by an initial Therapeutics Development Grant of up to $1.7 million from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Genencor International Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., hired Jean-Jacques Bienaimé as CEO, effective in November. He will succeed W. Thomas Mitchell, who will step down as CEO and president in November. Mitchell will continue as chairman. Bienaimé joins Genencor from SangStat Medical Corp., of Fremont, Calif. where he was chairman, president and CEO.
Hybridon Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declared an interference between U.S. Patent Application No. 081346,270 assigned to the University of Massachusetts and three patents issued to the National Institutes of Health. The patent application titled "Inhibition of HTLV-III by Exogenous Oligonucleotides" was licensed exclusively to Hybridon. The PTO's declaration of interference named the university the senior party. The three NIH patents at issue in the proceeding are U.S. Patent Nos. 5,264,423; 5,276,019; and 5,286,717, each titled "Inhibitors for Replication of Retroviruses and for the Expression of Oncogene Products."
Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., and Celltech Group plc, of Slough, UK, entered a licensing, manufacturing and supply agreement whereby Celltech will use Inhale's PEG technology and services for three of its pipeline products: CDP 860, a PEGylated antibody fragment in Phase II trials for cancer; CDP791, a PEGylated antibody fragment in preclinical development for cancer; and CDP484, another PEGylated antibody fragment in preclinical development for rheumatoid arthritis. The PEG technology has been used in the drug candidates from inception, and this deal formalizes the agreement. Inhale will supply exclusive development and manufacturing for each PEG product, and in return will receive milestone and manufacturing payments and royalties on any sales. Specific terms were not disclosed.
Loma Linda University Neurosurgery Center for Research, Training and Education, of St. Paul, Minn., said it was notified last month by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., that it would receive a $6.5 million research grant. The grant will support research to help determine a reliable biomarker for early stage Alzheimer's disease. BioE, of St. Paul., Minn., has an option to acquire exclusive rights to the technology.