Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and Ardais Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., entered a joint research project to combine Affymetrix's GeneChip technology with Ardais' BIGR (Biomaterials and Information for Genomic Research) library of human tissue samples and accompanying clinical information. Ardais will supply Affymetrix access to its BIGR library in an unnamed cancer to generate gene expression profiles for clinical genomics applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Agencourt Bioscience Corp., of Beverly, Mass., will provide to the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta its SeeSNP Discovery and AgenTYPE Genotyping services for targeted identification and study of single nucleotide polymorphism markers with potential relevance to thrombosis risk. In collaboration with investigators in San Antonio, and Barcelona, Spain, researchers expect the technology to help them identify and study polymorphisms in several essential genes of the coagulation system. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Amarin Corp. plc, of London, said its Swedish subsidiary, Amarin Development AB, entered into a research collaboration with CellGate Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., to assess the feasibility of improving Amarin's targeted and controlled delivery of oral pharmaceutical products by combining Amarin's drug delivery technology with CellGate's molecular transporter technology. During the initial phase, in which each party is responsible for individual costs, CellGate's technology will be used to develop drug transporter conjugates of two undisclosed drug substances. The conjugates then will be incorporated into Amarin's diffusion-controlled vesicle controlled-release technology. Further financial details were not disclosed.
Antex Biologics Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., reported that two Phase II trials of its Helivax vaccine against Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial pathogen responsible for peptic ulcers and stomach cancers, are scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter. One trial will assess the preventative properties of the vaccine, while the other will assess the vaccine's therapeutic capabilities. The vaccine was developed using the company's Nutriment Signal Transduction technology.
Antisoma plc, of London, completed patient recruitment in its pivotal Phase III study of pemtumomab in ovarian cancer. The SMART (study of monoclonal antibody radioimmuno-therapy) trial, which recruited 420 patients, examines whether women with ovarian cancer who receive pemtumomab in addition to standard treatment survive longer than those receiving standard treatment alone. Antisoma said the trial would likely be completed in the second half of 2004, with an interim analysis expected in about a year.
Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., reported results from a Phase II dose-ranging study of its investigational cholera vaccine, Peru-15. Based on the results, the company said it established that a single oral dose of 108 cfu produces a significant immune response and is well tolerated in vaccinated individuals.
Bio-Technology General Corp., of Iselin, N.J., said it was notified by Nasdaq that it is in compliance with filing and all other requirements needed to be listed on the Nasdaq National Market. With the open of business today the company's symbol will change from BTGCE to BTGC. Separately, the company said it closed the acquisition of Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a subsidiary of Akzo Nobel, of Oss, the Netherlands. The acquisition was announced Sept. 20 and was valued at $99 million. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 23, 2002.)
Cambridge Antibody Technology plc, of Melbourn, UK, entered an agreement with Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, to license CAT's antibody phage-display libraries for the discovery, development and commercialization of human monoclonal antibodies. CAT will receive license fees from Chugai to use the antibody libraries for reagent generation and target validation in support of drug discovery programs. Chugai will receive exclusive therapeutic antibody product options and CAT will receive fees, clinical milestones and royalty payments on product sales.
Dusa Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wilmington, Mass., adopted a shareholders rights plan at a special meeting held Friday. The company said it was not aware of any takeover activity.
Endovasc Ltd. Inc., of Montgomery, Texas, established a subsidiary, Nutriceutical Development Corp., for its nicotine and/or lobeline-based products. The company will focus on stem cell recruitment-based neutraceuticals. The subsidiary also plans to enter the weight-loss drug market through an anti-obesity drug for women.
EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., said it was awarded a $900,000 research grant from the FDA's Office of Orphan Products Development to support a Phase II Endostatin trial in patients with neuroendocrine tumors. The grant is for $300,000 yearly for three consecutive years. Endostatin received orphan drug status from the FDA in August 2001.
GeneProt Inc., of Geneva, began an industrial-scale proteomics study of diseases in degenerative and vascular dementias, with a particular emphasis on Alzheimer's disease. GeneProt, which has secured more than two liters of cerebrospinal fluid as well as more than three liters of plasma from well-characterized patients with carefully diagnosed types of dementia and from a control normal population, said its large-scale approach will allow it to find proteins present at very low concentrations.
IGEN International Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it is widening its ongoing homeland security initiatives through an expanded collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, to provide government regulatory agencies and commercial food processors with rapid methods to more accurately detect pathogens in public food and water supplies. They will work on the development of Origen-based tests for pathogens such as Vibrio and Staphylococcus aureus, and toxins such as botulism and Shiga toxin, as well as staph enterotoxin.
InterMune Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., and Array BioPharma Inc., of Boulder, Colo., are collaborating to create small-molecule therapeutics targeting hepatitis. InterMune will fund drug discovery research conducted by Array, based on the number of Array scientists working on the research and also would be responsible for development and commercialization. Array potentially will receive milestones and royalties. Other financial details were not disclosed.
Microscience Ltd., of Workingham, UK, reported at the World Vaccine Conference in Lyon, France, that its oral typhoid vaccine has entered a multicenter clinical trial under a company-sponsored IND in the U.S. The study, involving 60 healthy adult volunteers, is evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of three dose levels of a single dose of freeze-dried Micro-TY typhoid vaccine. In previous clinical testing, the vaccine was shown to be safe and immunogenic.
Mojave Therapeutics Inc., of Hawthorne, N.Y., said an article published in The Journal of Cell Biology showed the molecule CD40 has the ability to function as a cell-surface receptor for human heat-shock proteins. The research was conducted in part by F.-Ulrich Hartl, who is a co-founder of Mojave and on its scientific advisory board. Mojave said it owns all rights to the intellectual property from the discovery.
Neurochem Inc., of Saint-Laurent, Quebec, said its investigational new drug application for the drug candidate Alzhemed for Alzheimer's disease was cleared by the FDA. The Phase II trial will investigate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile of Alzhemed in patients with mild to moderate AD. Specifically, the effects of Alzhemed on the amyloid beta protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma also will be evaluated.
NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it met the patient enrollment target in its osteoporosis trial, called the POWER (parathyroid hormone for osteoporotic women on estrogen replacement) study. The trial is expected to test Preos, its parathyroid hormone product, when added to estrogen replacement therapy. The trial will examine Preos and estrogen in combination to determine if it is safe for women taking estrogen and if it has a greater effect on bone density than either product alone.
Ortec International Inc., of New York, entered a research collaboration focusing on developing new wound-healing and tissue-regeneration products from the combination of Ortec's bilayered cellular matrix technology, OrCel, with Jerusalem-based Hapto Biotech Inc.'s Haptide technology, a family of synthetic peptides that enhance cell attachment and facilitate growth. The collaboration will aim to develop a proof of concept of new noncellular and cellular advanced wound-healing products built on Ortec's patented OrCel and collagen sponge technologies.
ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, achieved its first milestone in the development of therapeutic approaches to treat and diagnosis sepsis and septic shock in an agreement with AM-Pharma Holding BV, of Bilthoven, the Netherlands. ProMetic said it identified affinity ligands using its Mimetic Ligand technology, which displays the required affinity and selectivity for use in the isolation of alkaline phosphatase from different sources. ProMetic called the molecules robust synthetic compounds suited for use in downstream process applications and for the development of stable diagnostic products.
RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Bethesda, Md., reported that a paper published in Current Eye Research presented new data indicating that Thymosin Beta 4 could aid in the repair of injuries to the human eye and surrounding tissues. Researchers reported that administration of TB4 stimulated conjunctival epithelial cell migration in a dose-dependent manner to a control compound, in vitro.
St. Charles Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Orleans, said the in-life portion of the Phase I trial of SCP-1 is under way. SCP-1 is a pain reliever with analgesic properties similar to acetaminophen, but with fewer side effects, the company said.
Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston said it received a favorable ruling following a recent challenge and re-examination of its patent on the use of 'constitutively activated' G protein-coupled receptors as a sensitive tool for identifying drugs. Now further established after originally being issued in 1998, U.S. Patent No. 5,750,353 will be used to deorphan receptors and discover drugs with collaborator Aventis Pharmaceuticals, a unit of Aventis SA, of Frankfurt, Germany.
Vical Inc., of San Diego, said it is recording a writedown of $4.2 million of its investment in Vascular Genetics Inc., of Atlanta. The company said it assessed the value of its investment subsequent to the merger announcement between Vascular Genetics and GenStar Therapeutics Corp., of San Diego. Vical will record a writedown of its investment from $5 million to $800,000 and it will be recorded in the third quarter. Vical focuses on medicines using its gene delivery technologies.