ActivBiotics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., reported a memorandum of understanding under which DepoMed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., will develop a controlled-release oral tablet that delivers ActivBiotics' lead compound, rifalazil, to the gastrointestinal tract. ActivBiotics will fund DepoMed's research and development expenses related to the feasibility of the product while a definitive license and development agreement is being negotiated. If a definitive agreement is entered, it would provide for continued funding of research and development expenses by ActivBiotics and milestone payments to DepoMed during the course of development, as well as potential royalties to DepoMed.
Advanced Tissue Sciences Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., said the company's securities will be delisted from the Nasdaq stock market at the opening of business Monday. As a result of the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last week, the Nasdaq notified the company of the delisting, which is subject to appeal by Advanced Tissue Sciences. Effective with the opening of trading on Oct. 15, the letter Q will be appended to the company's trading symbol. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 14, 2002.)
Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., said it received $6 million from Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc., of Paris, related to the introduction of Eligard 22.5 mg (leuprolide acetate for injectable suspension), a treatment for advanced prostate cancer. Atrix said it is the second major payment it has received from Sanofi-Synthelabo this year.
Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., said its partner, DynPort Vaccine Co. LLC, a joint venture between DynCorp., of Reston, Va., and Porton International plc, of London, initiated a Phase I trial of an injectable recombinant anthrax vaccine in about 70 volunteers. The vaccine candidate consists of a highly purified protein - protective antigen - derived from the anthrax bacterium using recombinant technology and advance production processes licensed from Avant.
Axonyx Inc., of New York, extended its agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense for two years. Under the agreement, the Army will continue to study Axonyx's acetylcholinesterase- and butyrylcholinesterase-inhibiting compounds for testing against chemical warfare agents. The initial agreement was signed in October 2001.
Celltech Group plc, of Slough, UK, reported preliminary results from a comparative clinical trial of Metadate CD (methylphenidate HCl, USP) extended-release capsules, its once-daily formulation of methylphenidate, and Johnson & Johnson company Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Concerta , the current market leader in the once-daily market segment. In the 10-center, U.S.-based trial involving 184 pediatric patients, results demonstrated a statistically significant (p<0.0001) and clinically relevant reduction in ADHD symptom scores in favor of Metadate CD for the primary efficacy assessment, which was a comparison of the mean SKAMP deportment scores from 1.5 hours to 7.5 hours after dosing. That represented a 41 percent greater improvement in symptom scores relative to Concerta.
CEL-SCI Corp., of Vienna, Va., said a multiyear Phase II trial with its immunotherapy drug, Multikine, is fully enrolled and all patients completed treatment. The study involved 52 advanced primary head and neck cancer patients who were scheduled for surgery and radiation therapy. The Phase II trial tested various combinations of Multikine treatment to determine its effect on safety and tumor reduction. One study center in the trial reported that all eight patients who were treated with Multikine in combination with surgery/radiation more than two years ago had not had a recurrence to date.
ChemCodes Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., entered a research agreement with Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., under which ChemCodes will use its chemistry platform to discover and optimize synthetic reactions to produce lead compounds for a Roche target. ChemCodes will engage its medicinal chemistry platform that includes high-throughput chemical reactivity mapping, experimental design, experimental tracking, chemoinformatics and data analysis tools. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Chronogen Inc., of Montreal, appointed Iraj Beheshti president and CEO. Most recently, Beheshti served as general manager of Elitra Pharmaceutical's Fungal Research Center in Montreal. Prior to joining Elitra, Beheshti served as president and CEO of Mycota Biosciences, before Elitra acquired it in 2001. Chronogen is developing human therapeutics to treat age-dependent diseases.
Endovasc Ltd. Inc., of Montgomery, Texas, said that Davos Chemical Corp., of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., the U.S. distributor of Nissan Chemical Co., of Tokyo, shipped the raw prostaglandin E-1 to Pyramid Laboratories in Costa Mesa, Calif., for Phase III cGMP liposomal preparation for clinical trials. Endovasc said it should receive the final Liprostin drug within 60 days. Liprostin is a liposomal prostaglandin-based treatment being developed to prevent restenosis.
ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said the Medicines Control Agency of the UK approved its application to conduct a Phase II study of the FluINsure vaccine, the company's intranasally delivered trivalent influenza vaccine. A clinical trial exemption was granted. The company expects to begin the study in December.
ImmunoGen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, of Ingelheim, Germany, reported the achievement of a milestone - the initiation of clinical trials - in their collaboration to develop an anticancer agent using ImmunoGen's DM1 Tumor-Activated Prodrug technology with Boehringer Ingelheim's anti-CD44v6 antibody. The accomplishment with the product candidate bivatuzumab mertansine triggered payment of an undisclosed amount to ImmunoGen. In November 2001, the companies reported that Boehringer Ingelheim licensed the right to develop and commercialize products that use ImmunoGen's maytansinoid TAP technology with antibodies that target CD44. Financial terms of that deal were not disclosed. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 29, 2001.)
Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said its board, in the belief that the company's shares are significantly undervalued and represent an attractive investment opportunity, authorized the expenditure of up to $30 million to repurchase shares of its common stock. Effective immediately, the company may purchase shares in open-market and privately negotiated transactions at its discretion.
NuGEN Technologies Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., entered a research collaboration with the Genome Institute of Singapore to work together to advance NuGEN's amplification and labeling technology for gene expression profiling on GIS's custom-made oligonucleotide microarrays. NuGEN's SPIA application for gene expression profiling from very small RNA samples will be used in the discovery research programs.
Pharmacor Inc., of Montreal, reported the discovery of a new class of drug-like compounds for drug-resistant HIV. The compounds are significantly more active against protease inhibitor-resistant strains than the common wild-type strain, the company said.
Prometheus Laboratories Inc., of San Diego, signed a co-exclusive sublicense agreement with DNA Sciences Inc., of Fremont, Calif., for a patent, allowing the identification of two gene forms, or alleles, that are important to the production of the human enzyme thiopurine S-methyltransferase and to related diagnostic uses. The companies also may collaborate in the discovery and development of diagnostic products using DNA Sciences' pharmacogenetics expertise.