Amersham plc, of London, acquired Motorola Life Science's CodeLink prearrayed slides business for $20 million, moving Amersham into that market. The company said its life sciences business, Amersham Biosciences, has long been in the self-spotted array market. Amersham estimated the microarray market to be worth more than $500 million.
Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., reported second-quarter earnings of $412 million, or 38 cents per share, a 27 percent increase over earnings per share of 30 cents for the same period in 2001 and 4 cents ahead of analysts' consensus estimate. Total revenue increased 27 percent to $1.2 billion in the quarter over 2001, primarily due to the launch of new products such as Neulasta, Amgen's once-per-cycle product for decreasing infections. Combined sales of Neupogen, used to decrease the incidence of infection during many types of cancer-related chemotherapy, and Neulasta increased 39 percent to $473 million from $340 million for Neupogen alone in Q2 2001. Other sales included Aranesp ($56 million) and Epogen ($570 million, an increase of 10 percent). The acquisition of Immunex Corp. was not completed during the quarter; therefore, Immunex sales, including $192 million of Enbrel, were not included in the Amgen results. Amgen's stock (NASDAQ:AMGN) rose $4.85 Thursday, or 13.1 percent, to close at $41.94.
Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., received FDA approval of Eligard 22.5 mg (leuprolide acetate for injectable suspension) for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer, following a less-than-10-month approval process. It is the second Eligard product to be approved in 2002, following approval of Eligard 7.5 mg in late January. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 25, 2002.) Atrix's stock (NASDAQ:ATRX) rose 21.1 percent, or $2.60, to close at $14.94.
CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., completed patient enrollment in a Phase III trial of tecadenoson, or CVT-510, in patients with paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. The purpose of the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is to determine the safety and efficacy of tecadenoson in the conversion of PSFT to normal sinus rhythm. Tecadenoson is designed to selectively stimulate the A1 adenosine receptor. The trial began in July 2001 with a target enrollment of 180 patients. (See BioWorld Today, July 2, 2001.)
Essential Therapeutics Inc., of Waltham, Mass., said partner Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC, of New Brunswick, N.J., initiated Phase I trials of a prodrug version of its lead cephalosporin candidate. The prodrug is converted metabolically into a cephalosporin that has activity against antibiotic-resistant Gram-positive bacteria.
ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said the IRS issued a ruling to the company to treat a potential spin-off of Ribapharm Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., as a tax-free distribution. ICN requested the ruling earlier this year, and it is one of the conditions necessary to complete the spin-off, the company said. ICN also said that its past restructuring plans, including the spin-off, are subject to re-evaluation due to a review initiated after the May 2002 annual stockholders meeting.
ICOS Corp., of Bothell, Wash., and Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, said their joint venture, Lilly ICOS LLC, was issued a positive opinion for Cialis (tadalafil), an investigational oral PDE5 inhibitor for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, from the European Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products. The CPMP recommended to the European Commission that approval should be granted. Marketing authorization for the European Union is anticipated for later this year. The FDA issued an approvable letter on Cialis but asked for more information before it would be approved in the U.S. (See BioWorld Today, May 1, 2002.)
ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its licensee, Applied Biosystems Group, of Foster City, Calif., made a payment to maintain its right to use ID Biomedical's Cycling Probe technology, a method of signal amplification for the detection of a nucleic acid target. Money received from licensees in July totaled about $1 million. ID Biomedical also reported it fulfilled requirements to receive about $750,000 in connection with a tenant improvement agreement related to its GMP manufacturing facility.
Ionix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, appointed Peter Fellner as nonexecutive chairman. Fellner is CEO of Celltech Group plc, of Slough, UK, which recently reported he will become chairman, once his successor as CEO has been appointed. Previously, Fellner served as CEO of Roche UK from 1986 to 1990.
MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, entered a research and development agreement with Johns Hopkins Singapore Pte. Ltd. related to Epstein-Barr virus-related cancers. They will develop a high-throughput assay based on Johns Hopkins research in viral DNA binding proteins. MerLion also will provide access to its libraries, high-throughput screening, natural product chemistry, purification and structure elucidation of bioactive compounds and lead optimization support. They will share in development and commercialization. MerLion also reported a discovery and development collaboration with Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, related to Fujisawa's therapeutic targets. MerLion also will collaborate with Biotech Research Ventures Pte. Ltd. and the National Cancer Centre, in Singapore, in the development of high-throughput screens to discover anticancer drugs.
NascaCell GmbH, of Tutzing, Germany, said its technology was described in a study published in the July 2002 issue of Nature Biotechnology. The article described a new method for identifying lead compounds based on applications for a screening method that analyzes real-time interactions between two proteins or between a protein and small molecules. The method also can be adapted to analyze a range of proteins, rather than just one specific target, the company said.
National Center for Genome Resources in Sante Fe, N.M., in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M., received a U.S. Department of Energy grant for $19.1 million for the "Genomes to Life" program, part of the DOE's Office of Science. NCGR will receive $1.3 million over three years for its contribution in creating systems biology models for the "Carbon Sequestration in Synechococcus: From Molecular Machines to Hierarchical Modeling" program spearheaded by Sandia.
Neurobiological Technologies Inc., of Richmond, Calif., presented data from a Phase III trial supporting sustained efficacy of Memantine over 52 weeks to treat Alzheimer's disease. In the 24-week, open-label extension phase, the former placebo patients who switched to Memantine showed improvement in cognitive, functional and global domains compared to the projected rate of decline. The extension study was preceded by a 28-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 252 patients. Memantine is a N-methyl D-aspartate receptor antagonist. The data were presented at the eighth International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in Stockholm, Sweden.
Northfield Laboratories Inc., of Evanston, Ill., said Richard DeWoskin, one of the company's founders and its chairman and CEO, resigned as a director and officer of the company as of Wednesday. Steven Gould, also one of the company's founder and Northfield's current president and a director, will become its chairman and CEO. Northfield Laboratories is a developer of an oxygen-carrying blood substitute for trauma and elective surgery.
Oxford BioMedica plc, of Oxford, UK, and Arius Research Inc., of Toronto, entered a collaboration to search for targets and develop products for cancer. Arius will supply BioMedica with a range of 50 functional antitumor antibodies it has identified. BioMedica will characterize the antibodies and identify the cognate antigens by employing technologies from its gene discovery and immunotherapy programs. New products, such as vaccines or therapeutic antibodies, are planned for development by the companies or in conjunction with pharmaceutical partners. Terms were not disclosed.
Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., reached a milestone in its lead discovery collaboration with Schering AG, of Berlin, and Schering's U.S. research group, Berlex Biosciences, resulting in a payment to Pharmacopeia. The milestone is related to Pharmacopeia's identification of a lead compound series that met potency, selectivity and other criteria. The original deal entered in 1998 was valued at up to $64 million for Pharmacopeia. It called for Pharmacopeia to screen a large portion of its 7-million-sample compound collection against selected targets. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 28, 1998.)
Pharmos Corp., of Iselin, N.J., received approval for a Phase II trial from Israel's Ministry of Health to test dexanabinol as a preventive agent against the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) that can follow coronary surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass operations (CS-CPB). Pharmos said no approved medication is available to prevent the onset of MCI after CS-CPB.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., completed enrollment in two additional studies in its Phase III program of Axokine in obesity. The trials are designed to study maintenance of weight loss following short-term regimens with Axokine. The randomized, double-blind studies will each have about 300 subjects, with the primary endpoint being weight loss after 12 months. The entire program is expected to enroll about 4,000 patients. The first Phase III study began in July 2001. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 1, 2001.)
SuperGen Inc., of Dublin, Calif., said its oral anticancer compound Orathecin received orphan drug designation from the FDA for pediatric patients infected with HIV. A study of Orathecin demonstrated the drug's ability to inhibit by greater than 95 percent the replication of HIV-1 in primary peripheral blood lymphocytes. The study also showed that Orathecin induced apoptosis within 24 hours of treatment in freshly infected, but not noninfected, PBL's.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute-led research consortium reported, on Science's website, on the draft sequencing, assembly and analysis of the genome of the Japanese pufferfish Fugu rubripes. Although pufferfish have the smallest known genomes among vertebrates, the Fugu sequence contains roughly the same number of genes as the human genome, but in a compact form streamlined by the relative scarcity of "junk" DNA that fills much of the human sequence. Through comparison of human and pufferfish genomes, the researchers predicted the existence of nearly 1,000 previously unidentified human genes.