ActivX Biosciences Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., reported publication in the July 30, 2002, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describing the design and use of activity-based chemical probes licensed exclusively by ActivX and The Scripps Research Institute. A second article, in the August 2002 issue of Nature Biotechnology, reports on the use of combinatorial approaches to generate activity-based chemical probes for interrogating biological samples.
ARC Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, entered a research agreement with McGill University in Montreal to support the development of antisense oligonucleotide therapeutics for cancer, including melanoma. ARC has the right to an exclusive license for each technology developed through the collaboration.
Cambrex Corp., of East Rutherford, N.J., said its board approved a $26 million expansion of its GMP contract bioprocessing capacity. The investment involves two projects to support manufacturing of clinical trial quantities and licensed products. The first project will add mammalian cell culture capabilities to the Cambrex Bio Science facility in Baltimore, which is expected to cost $18 million and take two years to complete. The second project will increase fermentation capacity at the Cambrex Bio Science facility in Hopkinton, Mass., which is expected to cost $7.7 million and take 18 months to complete.
Cangene Corp., of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta a contract to develop and supply a vaccinia immune globulin for use in treating and preventing reactions that may be brought on by the administration of the smallpox vaccine. The five-year contract calls for Cangene to supply a maximum of 100,000 doses. Financial terms were not disclosed. Separately, Serologicals Corp., of Atlanta, said it entered a multiyear agreement with Cangene to provide hyperimmune plasma to be used in manufacturing vaccinia immune globulin. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, entered a licensing agreement to supply its PER.C6 cell line to GenVec Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., to further develop GenVec's lead cardiovascular product candidate, BioBypass angiogen. GenVec received a nonexclusive, commercial license for PER.C6. Crucell will receive an up-front fee and would receive royalties on product sales. Financial details were not disclosed.
Cytokinetics Inc., of South San Francisco, began a Phase I trial of a small-molecule inhibitor of kinesin spindle protein (KSP), triggering an undisclosed milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London. The open-label, nonrandomized, dose-finding trial is designed to investigate at two U.S. centers the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile of the KSP inhibitor in patients with advanced cancers.
Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, was granted by Health Canada a license to work with and keep on site controlled drugs and substances. The firm said the license allows it to continue studies involving Morphine and Fentanyl, and begin additional studies using its RapidMist technology to deliver Morphine and Fentanyl during the third quarter of this year.
ImClone Systems Inc., of New York, learned that its former CEO, Samuel Waksal, pled not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to charges of insider trading, bank fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors had sought a plea deal with Waksal, which would have required him to reveal whether he provided insider trading tips to family and friends. Waksal was arrested in June and accused of tipping off two relatives that ImClone's cancer drug, Erbitux, would not secure FDA approval, allowing the relatives to sell ImClone stock before the news was made public in late December. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 3, 2002.)
Marligen Biosciences Inc., of Ijamsville, Md., completed the acquisition of Clairus Technologies Inc., of Rockville, Md., which is focused on commercializing intellectual property invented in government, industry and university laboratories. The terms involve an exchange of Clairus shares for Marligen shares, and Marligen acquired all assets and rights to technologies previously licensed by Clairus. Operations and staff will be consolidated at Marligen's facilities in Ijamsville. Marligen focuses on products and services for life science researchers, particularly those focused on high-throughput application of genomics information.
Neurobiological Technologies Inc., of Richmond, Calif., received a $1.4 million payment from Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH, of Frankfurt, Germany, for achieving goals related to the marketing launch of Memantine in Europe. It was approved in Europe in May. Memantine is designed to treat Alzheimer's disease. Merz licensed exclusive rights for Memantine in the U.S. to Forest Laboratories Inc., of New York.
ParinGenix Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., secured $4 million in financing to develop its PGX-100 pharmaceutical technology. Lead investors include the Academy Venture Fund, of Charlotte; Research Corp. Technologies, of Tucson, Ariz.; and A.P. Kennedy Family Securities, of Madisonville, La. The PGX-100 technology is designed to reduce heart damage in heart attack patients. Further details were not disclosed.
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tustin, Calif., entered two private placement arrangements with seven institutional investors for aggregate gross proceeds of $7.1 million. Funding under the two placements will occur on or after Wednesday. Peregrine focuses on technologies for the treatment of cancer.
PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc, of Oxford, UK, said it is voluntarily recalling its BCG (tuberculosis) vaccine in the UK as a precautionary measure following notification of an interim suspension of the company's license for BCG vaccine in Ireland. The notification follows testing that revealed a small number of batches did not meet the end-of-shelf-life specification. The regulators are satisfied that there are no related safety implications, although the batches were potentially less potent than normal, the company said.
ProdiGene Inc., of College Station, Texas, said it would begin, in cooperation with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., a Phase I trial studying the safety and immunogenicity of an oral vaccine against travelers' diarrhea. ProdiGene will supply the corn vaccine, produced using its transgenic plant technology and delivered using its oral vaccine platform. NIAID will fund and manage the trial, and sponsor an investigational new drug application with the FDA.
Tosk Inc., of Santa Cruz, Calif., reported developing a new vector that performs targeted gene delivery when administered to animals. Tosk said the nonviral vector technology could integrate a gene into any known genomic location. Also, it can delete, add, or alter targeted genomic DNA sequences. The technology has been tested on small mammals and has the potential to translate into larger mammals for applications such as gene therapy, the company said.