Amersham Biosciences, of Piscataway, N.J., reported the creation of the Functional Proteomics Project, a two-year collaboration with the Sloan-Kettering Institute, the research arm of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The research project was established to develop the first technology to scan the entire expressed human genome in a day to test each gene for its function in a cellular process. Researchers will screen tens of thousands of genes in real time, enabling rapid identification of the genes and related proteins involved in biological pathways or disease states, Amersham said.
Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its scientists discovered how the extracellular environment affects the regulation of gene expression and how it may have implications in the ways doctors understand and treat diseases such as atherosclerosis, psoriasis, stroke and cancer. The study, which was published in the August 2002 issue of the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology, advances the basic understanding of the signaling pathways and gene expression changes that may allow a coordinated regulation of angiogenesis and inflammation by endothelial cells, Biogen said.
Cerylid Biosciences Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said its lead cancer compound, CBL316, progressed through a number of screening stages at the National Cancer Institute. Isolated from the bark of a tree in Sarawak tropical rainforest on the island of Borneo, CBL contains a structural feature that has never been found in nature and which appears to be critical to anticancer activity, Cerylid said. The CEO of Cerylid said that in the first stage of NCI screening, CBL316 showed growth inhibitory activity against 57 of the 60 human cancer cell lines used.
Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., said it achieved the fourth milestone in its collaboration with Novartis Pharma AG, of Basel, Switzerland, which uses Cubist's VITA technology (Validation in Vivo of Targets and Assays for Anti-Infectives). Cubist will receive an undisclosed payment for the delivery of a fourth validated target and high-throughput screening assay. Cubist and Novartis entered into a three-year partnership valued at $33 million in February 1999. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 10, 1999.)
CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it expects to advance CVT-3146 into Phase III trials in 2003. Data from a Phase II trial showed that an intravenous bolus of the product produced a dose-dependent increase in coronary blood flow velocity. The trial achieved CV Therapeutics' target profile for potential use of CVT-3146 as a pharmacologic stress agent in cardiac perfusion imaging studies, the company said. The company's stock (NASDAQ:CVTX) gained $2.83 Monday, or 14 percent, to close at $22.74.
Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Doylestown, Pa., and Aerogen Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., entered a collaboration to evaluate Discovery's humanized lung surfactant with Aerogen's Aeroneb Professional Nebulizer System for the delivery of aerosolized surfactants to prevent and treat respiratory disease. Financial details were not disclosed. The work will investigate the application of the Aeroneb nebulizer with Discovery's surfactant for pulmonary delivery to the lungs of mechanically ventilated patients.
Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc., of Chadds Ford, Pa., said its wholly owned subsidiary, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., acquired BML Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Manhasset, N.Y., for an up-front payment of $14 million. Upon approval of Immunol, BML's lead product, BML would receive a $32 million payment and an earn-out based on a percentage of net sales of certain products in BML's pipeline. BML will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. Immunol, an oral rinse, is in Phase III trials for oral mucositis. Endo focuses on pain management products.
ILEX Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, initiated a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase I/II proof-of-principle trial to evaluate the effects of Ampomine in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Ampomine belongs to a class of non-hormonal therapeutic agents known as bisphosphonate esters. ILEX acquired Ampomine as a result of its acquisition of Symphar SA, of Geneva, in February 2001. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 15, 2001.)
Immune Network Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, began trading Monday on a post-consolidation 10-to-1 reverse split basis on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol IMMFF, as approved by shareholders at their June 27 annual general meeting. The company is evaluating dapsone, new formulations of dapsone and a series of new compounds in its Alzheimer's disease drug discovery program.
Insmed Inc., of Richmond, Va., and Avecia Biotechnology Inc., of Billingham, UK, entered an agreement for the manufacture of one of Insmed's drug candidates, SomatoKine, and its component proteins, insulin-like growth factor-1 and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3. The potential indications of SomatoKine include Type I and Type II diabetes and growth hormone insensitivity.
Mirus Corp., of Madison, Wis., said research demonstrating the use of high-pressure methods for in vivo delivery of siRNA was published in Nature Genetics online. The article describes a method for the delivery of siRNA to organs of adult mice and demonstrates specific inhibition of transgene expression in a variety of organs. Mirus focuses on nonviral in vivo delivery technologies for genes and drugs.
Neurochem Inc., of Saint-Laurent, Quebec, closed the transaction by Picchio Pharma Inc., of Montreal, for the acquisition of 2.8 million units of Neurochem at C$2.50 per unit, for a total of C$7 million (US$4.5 million). The units include one Neurochem common share and one warrant exercisable anytime within a three-year period at a 25 percent premium to the issue price. Depending on the exercise of warrants over the next three years, the total possible investment by Picchio in this transaction could reach C$15.75 million.
Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc., of Bothell, Wash., said it retained the investment bank C.E. Unterberg, Towbin to help it search for strategic options, including the sale or merger of Northwest or any of its development programs. Also, the company released its second-quarter earnings, reporting a net loss of $4 million, or 24 cents per share. The company had about $7.4 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30, enough to last through the end of the year, Northwest said. Its lead product, DCVax Prostate, designed to treat prostate cancer, is in a Phase III trial. The company raised $20 million in its initial public offering, selling 4 million shares at $5 apiece in December 2001. Its stock (NASDAQ:NWBT) fell 17 cents Monday to close at $1.58.
Zonagen Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant of $108,351 to study the potential of Progenta and another analogue to inhibit breast tumor growth. The study will use a rodent model of hormonally dependent breast cancer. Zonagen licensed worldwide rights to Progenta and the analogue from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., in 1999.