Advancis Pharmaceutical Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it is moving five miles up the Interstate 270 biotech corridor to 62,000 square feet of office and research space in Germantown, Md. The privately held firm developing anti-infective drug therapies expects to relocate its staff of 50 to the new facility by June, at which time it expects to employ more than 150 as part of an investment valued at more than $15 million, made possible in part by state and county agencies.
Aphton Corp., of Miami, reported further interim Phase II results of G17DT in patients with metastatic stomach cancer, showing 37 of 72 evaluable patients had either a partial or complete tumor response for an overall response rate of 51.4 percent. The results are an improvement to the 48.3 response rate reported in June on 58 patients. Patients took cisplatin and 5FU in addition to G17DT, a targeted therapy designed to induce antibodies that bind to both gastrin 17 and gly-gastrin and remove them from circulation before they can bind to the cancer cell and initiate cell growth. Aphton is conducing a Phase III and Phase II trial of the product.
eXegenics Inc., of Dallas, said it is not in compliance with a Nasdaq rule that requires a $1 minimum share price, meaning the company has 90 days to either come into compliance or to apply for transfer to the Nasdaq SmallCap Market. eXegenics, which said it could fund operations for about three years given its cash usage rate of less than $7 million per year, added that its plan to shift from discovery to clinical testing includes potentially obtaining compounds or exploring acquisition and merger opportunities.
Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, entered a collaboration to develop new antibody therapeutic products with privately held Semaia Pharmaceuticals GmbH & Co. KG, of Driebergen, the Netherlands. Genmab will use its fully human antibody technology to create and develop products for up to four cancer disease target molecules discovered and validated by Semaia. The parties will share research, development and commercialization costs, and will share equally the revenues generated from out-licensing or sales of the antibody products.
GenoMed Inc., of St. Louis, signed a letter of intent to potentially partner in drug discovery projects with AngioDesign Inc. Privately held AngioDesign develops drugs primarily directed to vasculature and circulation disease targets and recently determined the 3-D crystal structure of ACE (angiotensin I-converting enzyme), a cardiovascular disease target.
Roche Diagnostics, a unit of F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, received FDA approval for version 1.5 of its Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor test. The highly sensitive viral load test can measure HIV-1 RNA in a range of 50 to 750,000 copies per milliliter and detect group M subtypes A-G of the virus. Roche labeled it the only FDA-approved test to measure HIV-1 RNA down to 50 copies per milliliter.
Nyxis Neurotherapies Inc., of Chicago, submitted to the FDA an investigational new drug application to begin clinical trials of NT-13, its lead compound in development to treat neuropathic pain and cognitive enhancement. Preclinically, NT-13 demonstrated significant efficacy extending beyond its plasma half-life and a favorable side effect profile at up to 100 times the therapeutic dose level, the company said. Nyxis plans to initiate a Phase I safety study in healthy volunteers leading to a Phase II study in neuropathic pain patients, as well as a Phase I/IIa study to test its efficacy as a cognitive enhancer in healthy volunteers.
SangStat Medical Corp., of Fremont, Calif., said a jury found that Abbott Laboratories' Gengraf (cyclosporine) capsules infringe a Novartis AG patent, and awarded damages to Novartis from Abbott of $5 million. SangStat is the exclusive distributor of Gengraf in the U.S. Novartis said it would seek to have Gengraf taken off the market. SangStat expects Abbott to appeal the verdict, and in the meantime will continue to market the product pending further developments. SangStat's stock (NASDAQ:SANG) fell $5.43 Wednesday, or 21.9 percent, to close at $19.42.
Scios Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., priced and agreed to sell $150 million in 5.5 percent convertible subordinated notes due Aug. 15, 2009, through a private placement. Purchasers also have an option on another $25 million in principal amount to cover overallotments. The notes initially will be convertible into Scios shares at $39.30 per share, a 23 percent premium to Tuesday's closing price. Scios said it would use the money to pay off debt and for general corporate purposes. (See BioWorld Today, July 29, 2002.)
Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the Court of Appeal in the UK reversed a lower court ruling by finding that Dynepo (epoietin delta), TKT's Gene-Activated erythropoietin for anemia, does not infringe European Patent No. 1 148 605 B2, held by Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen Inc. The patent was held to be valid although it was narrowed by the court, TKT said. The European Commission had granted marketing authorization to Dynepo in March for the 15 EU countries, but TKT said a European launch is not yet planned. A patent appeal is pending in the U.S. involving the product and a ruling that favored Amgen. Dynepo is partnered with Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt, Germany.
Viral Therapeutics Inc., of Ithaca, N.Y., said its quality management system is in compliance with the International Quality Standard ISO 9001 and Q 9001. The recombinant protein developer said such practices position it for growth in both domestic and international markets.
Xeotron Corp., of Houston, reported publication in Nature Biotechnology of its method for synthesizing peptide microchips using digital photolithography. The company said the findings have significant implications for the development of highly specific peptide biochips for protein analysis and drug discovery.
Zonagen Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, received from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., a $98,625 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant to study and characterize the immune response obtained with Zonagen's adjuvant compared to others. With this grant, Zonagen said it has been awarded over $1 million in SBIR funding this quarter.