Aclara BioSciences Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., repurchased 900,000 shares of its stock from Caliper Technologies Corp., also of Mountain View, in accordance with the terms of the litigation settlement reached between the companies in March 2001. Aclara repurchased the shares at an aggregate cost of about $1.3 million, and in accordance with the settlement, paid to Caliper an additional $31.2 million in final settlement of Aclara's obligations. Separately, Aclara reported that Joseph Limber told the board he is resigning as president and CEO effective Dec. 1. Aclara also reported that it entered a license and supply agreement with Third Wave Technologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., giving Aclara rights to incorporate Third Wave's Invader technology and Cleavase enzyme with Aclara's eTag technology. It will be used to offer the eTag Assay System for multiplexed gene expression applications for the research market.
Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., launched its GeneChip brand CustomSeq Resequencing Array, a custom array that can sequence 30,000 bases in two days at greater than 99.99 percent accuracy, the company said. The CustomSeq array is designed to offer researchers a DNA analysis tool on the same Affymetrix platform as the mRNA gene expression research.
Applied Molecular Evolution Inc., of San Diego, said it achieved a milestone in one of its collaborations with Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, to optimize a therapeutic antibody candidate. AME successfully met or exceeded the criteria for improving the potency, affinity and stability of the molecule as specified in the collaboration agreement. Financial terms of the milestone were not disclosed.
BioLife Solutions Inc., of Binghamton, N.Y., said the National Institutes of Health awarded the company a grant of $158,000 under the NIH's Small Business Innovation Research program. The focus of the research is to gain a more complete understanding of cell death when cells and tissues are stressed by low temperature. The grant will support ongoing studies in three human cell types: hepatocytes, epidermal keratinocytes and renal cells.
BTG International Ltd., of London, and Isis Innovation Ltd., a technology transfer company of the University of Oxford, agreed to commercialize a new celiac disease technology developed by the university. BTG said the technology opens the way for a specific diagnostic test for the disease, as well as new prevention and treatment strategies.
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Quebec researchers initiated a Phase I trial to evaluate the efficacy of a treatment for Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. Following promising results obtained in the laboratory, the research project is a step forward in developing a new treatment for the disease, for which no treatment is available, the center said. The experimental treatment is based on the transplantation of cells called myoblasts.
Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., of Fremont, Calif., reported the release of its new ProteinChip AutoBiomarker System that adds automated ProteinChip Array handling, an array AutoLoader, new CiphergenExpress database software and high-throughput biomarker expression profiling kits to the existing SELDI ProteinChip platform.
Gene Network Sciences, of Ithaca, N.Y., was selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to receive a $2 million, three-year Advanced Technology Program award. The company will use the funds to expand its in silico cell simulations and to predict the efficacy and toxicity of drug compounds acting on particular targets.
GeneData Inc., of Waltham, Mass., entered a licensing agreement with the pharmaceutical research arm of Wyeth, of Madison, N.J., to use GeneData Phylosopher, its system for comparative functional genomics. Wyeth will use the system to analyze the genomes of pharmaceutically relevant pathogens by comparing them with all the currently available and completely sequenced genomes from microbial and higher organisms.
IGEN International Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., launched an application of its Origen technology for use by pharmaceutical and biotechnology researchers involved in monoclonal antibody development and production. The new application will be marketed for use with the company's M-Series instruments and cell culture product lines.
Immune Network Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said results from its Phase II study of dapsone for treatment of Alzheimer's disease showed that although there were trial patients who did show stabilization or improvement, an overall analysis of the data revealed the effect of dapsone on disease progression was not statistically significant. There were 201 patients involved in the study. The primary objective was to assess the efficacy of dapsone administered once daily orally for 52 weeks compared to placebo in the treatment of patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. Immune Network's stock (OTC BB:IMMFF) fell 3 cents Wednesday, or 33.3 percent, to close at 6 cents.
Immunomedics Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., said OY Medix Biochemica AB, of Kauniainen, Finland, entered a nonexclusive license agreement under Immunomedics' portfolio of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) patents. The patents cover antibodies that specifically recognize CEA, one of the most widely used markers for colorectal and other cancers. Medix Biochemica agreed to an up-front payment and royalties, as well as back royalties and interest to Immunomedics for prior use of the patented technologies.
Lipid Sciences Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif., reported that President and CEO Phil Radlick resigned those positions in addition to his position on the board. The company retained an executive search firm to identify candidates for the position of president and CEO. In addition, Chairman Richard Babbitt and board members S. Lewis Meyer and Frank Placenti were appointed to a newly created executive committee of the board.
Morphochem AG, of Munich, Germany, and Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia entered into a research collaboration to develop new treatments for cancer. The collaboration provides for multiple research projects, with the initial focus on progressing new compounds in the area of Ras pathway modulators toward the clinic.
NeoTherapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said the company met all requirements for listing on the Nasdaq Small Cap Market and that Nasdaq approved its Small Cap Market application. The company began trading on the exchange under the symbol NEOT. NeoTherapeutics is focused on the development of in-licensed drugs for the treatment and care of cancer patients.
Prescient NeuroPharma Inc., of Toronto, having obtained regulatory approval on Oct. 8, concluded a bridge financing agreement with its main investors, GeneChem Technologies Venture Fund LP, the Business Development Bank of Canada and Peter Allard. The bridge financing provides for a credit facility of up to $1 million.
Repligen Corp., of Waltham, Mass., reported results from an open-label extension study of its Phase II trial of RG1068, human synthetic secretin, in children with autism to collect additional longer-term safety data. No serious adverse events were reported in any patient and the study confirmed that RG1068 was well tolerated in those patients. About 124 patients were involved.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem, said the application for seven-day room temperature storage of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) has been approved across 16 European countries. As Copaxone can now be kept unrefrigerated for that period, it offers greater convenience for patients, the company said.
The National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and the FDA reported Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that patterns of proteins found in patients' blood serum may help distinguish between prostate cancer and benign conditions. The technique, which relies on a blood test using a drop of blood, may be useful in deciding whether to perform a biopsy in men with elevated prostate-specific antigen levels.
Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., released study results indicating that an enzyme replacement therapy benefited pediatric and adolescent patients with Hunter syndrome, a rare genetic disorder for which there are currently no therapeutic treatment options. In the Phase I/II study, iduronate-2-sulfatase enzyme replacement therapy demonstrated evidence of clinical activity in reduction in cardiac mass and in stabilized pulmonary function. Treatment with I2S also resulted in a reduction in urinary glycosaminoglycans levels and a reduction of liver and spleen size.
Variagenics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., granted an option to a worldwide license to Strida Pharma Inc., of Montreal, to certain of Variagenics' MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) patent rights. Variagenics granted Strida an option to a license granting worldwide exclusive rights to commercialize therapeutic inhibitors of the MTHFR gene. MTHFR is an enzyme critical to folate metabolism of cellular methylation levels. The terms of the agreement include an up-front fee and may lead to milestone payments and royalties on sales of any compounds that are developed using the technology.
Xeotron Corp., of Houston, and Michigan State University in East Lansing entered a research collaboration to advance the study of microorganisms in the environment. Xeotron's microfluidic XeoChip platform will be used at MSU's Center for Microbial Ecology to understand and identify genetic alterations that enable microorganisms to be useful in bioremediation projects.