Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, reported at the Chemical Genomics Session of the National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium in San Diego the successful application of its chemical-genomics approach to more than 100 G protein-coupled receptor and nuclear receptor targets. Acadia said its discovery efforts to date have resulted in the identification of small-molecule ligands for more than 60 such targets, including agonists for several targets previously believed to be non-druggable.
Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., entered a multiyear EasyAccess Silver agreement with NV Organon, of Oss, the Netherlands, under which Organon will gain access to Affymetrix's standard and custom GeneChip arrays. Organon said the agreement improves its ability to identify and validate drug targets in its research programs. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., said its board authorized an additional repurchase of up to $2 billion of its common stock through June 30, 2004. Amgen has repurchased 18.4 million shares in 2002, or approximately $1 billion of its common stock. It has approximately $260 million remaining under a previous stock repurchase program.
Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, presented at the Goldman Sachs Healthcare Conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif., a summary of recent activities. Amylin plans to begin in the third quarter of this year an open-label safety study of AC2993 (synthetic exendin-4) in Type II diabetes. Preliminary data are expected in the fourth quarter. Also, AC2993 LAR, a long-acting release formulation of AC2993, will begin Phase II testing later this month. Amylin said patient recruitment for its dose-rising study of Symlin (pramlintide acetate) in people with Type I diabetes is under way and targeted for completion next month.
Antigenics Inc., of New York, filed a Form S-3 shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission covering the issuance of common and preferred stock, as well as secured and unsecured debt securities, up to an aggregate of $60 million. Its current shelf registration statement initially covered up to an aggregate of $100 million of securities, but after a $60 million common stock offering in January, $40 million in securities remained unsold.
The Biotechnology Institute, of Arlington, Va., received a $1 million challenge grant from Wyeth Inc., of Madison, N.J., formerly American Home Products Corp. The institute was founded by the Biotechnology Industry Organization in 1998 as an independent, national, not-for-profit, educational organization.
Coley Pharmaceutical Group Inc., of Wellesley, Mass., began a Phase I/II trial of its lead product candidate, CpG 7909, as a monotherapy to treat patients with Stage IV (metastatic) melanoma. The multicenter study will evaluate the safety and tolerability of weekly doses of CpG 7909, as well as overall tumor response rate in an initial study group. Based on tumor responses, additional patients will be enrolled to assess the efficacy of CpG 7909 treatment.
Epimmune Inc., of San Diego, received FDA clearance to begin a Phase I/II trial of its EP HIV-1090 therapeutic, multi-epitope vaccine in HIV-1-infected patients. The double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation study will include about 40 patients. Epimmune said it would complete the trial and finalize data analysis late next year. The clinical trials and preclinical activities are being sponsored by a grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., reported at last week's European Haematology Association meeting in Florence, Italy, preclinical data on its telomerase inhibitor, GRN163, in two additional cancer types: multiple myeloma and lymphoma. The in vitro studies confirmed that GRN163 effectively inhibited telomerase activity in the tumor cells and caused cancer cell death. The in vivo studies, in which human tumor cells were implanted in immunodeficient mice and then injected with GRN163 or a control, demonstrated that short-term treatment with GRN163 inhibited the growth of both tumor types. Geron's stock (NASDAQ:GERN) rose 17.3 percent Thursday, or 73 cents, to close at $4.96.
Iconix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., reported at this week's CBI Predictive Toxicology meeting in Philadelphia that its chemogenomics prediction system, DrugMatrix, was used successfully used to identify predictive biomarkers comprised of key genes and protein targets associated with toxicity and pathology. Iconix's biomarkers, which it terms Drug Signatures, were derived using its chemogenomic information repository on paradigm drug and toxicant molecules.
Illumina Inc., of San Diego, said it developed a set of more than 2,300 assayed SNP markers that will be deployed on its BeadArray platform to provide linkage analysis for genotyping service customers. The markers were assembled from the SNP Consortium, an industry partnership panel, supplemented by new loci to provide enhanced frequency, distribution and coverage across the human genome, and then optimized for accuracy and multiplex assay performance. SNP markers can help locate genetic regions that might be associated with specific diseases.
Mendel Biotechnology Inc., of Hayward, Calif., was awarded a Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Cancer Institute to fund research to discover naturally occurring plant genes that regulate the production of Taxol, a taxoid produced in the cells of yew trees. The research is aimed at identifying naturally occurring plant genes that can increase the sustainable production of taxoid pharmaceuticals in plant cells.
Novogen Ltd., of Stamford, Conn., began a second clinical trial of the synthetic dermatological compound NV-07a to determine the extent to which NV-07a is able to reverse the damaging effects of sun exposure on the skin. In preclinical studies, topically applied NV-07a demonstrated an ability to undo the immediate effects of sunlight, such as reddening of the skin. The compound also undid underlying damage from exposure to sunlight.
Novozymes A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, acquired for an undisclosed amount George A. Jeffreys Inc., of Salem, Va., a company that researches, produces and sells naturally occurring microorganisms and enzymes. George A. Jeffreys will be integrated into Novozymes Biologicals, acquired by Novozymes in July 2001. Due to non-recurring costs related to the acquisition, the impact on this year's operating profit is expected to be neutral, while net interest expenses will be slightly negatively affected through the financing of the acquisition.
Organogenesis Inc., of Canton, Mass., commented on a patent infringement suit filed by Cook Biotech Inc., of West Lafayette, Ind., denying allegations that the technology underlying its FortaFlex bioengineered collagen matrix infringes U.S. Patent No. 5,573,784. Organogenesis countered with a federal suit against Cook Biotech asking the court to declare that FortaFlex sales do not infringe the patent, and that the patent is invalid.
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tustin, Calif., released at the International Conference on Vascular Targeting in Cambridge, Mass., a new type of vascular targeting agent (VTA). The new VTA is a naked, monoclonal antibody directed against phosphatidylserine, a lipid target that becomes exposed on the walls of solid tumor blood vessels. Researchers demonstrated the antibody suppressed the growth of a variety of human and mouse solid tumors.
ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, said the underwriters of previously reported public and private offerings of its subordinate voting shares exercised an option to acquire an additional 2.24 million shares at C$2.70 (US$1.75) each. Total proceeds raised in the public offering and the concurrent private placement will be about C$26.2 million.
Pyrosequencing AB, of Uppsala, Sweden, released its Pyrosequencing Vacuum Prep Tool, a device to prepare DNA samples for genetic analysis by the PSQ HS 96A System. Pyrosequencing said minimal pipetting and an intuitive operating procedure enhance speed and simplicity.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., began a clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of Axokine in overweight and obese individuals with Type II diabetes mellitus, the fourth study initiated as part of Regeneron's Phase III program of Axokine to treat obesity. It marks the first of two planned studies to measure Axokine's weight loss effects in Type II diabetes mellitus patients. At the same time, Regeneron began a Phase I trial to assess the safety and pharmacokinetics of PegAxokine, its pegylated version of Axokine, to treat obesity.
Syrrx Inc., of San Diego, entered a collaborative research agreement with Sankyo Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, to apply Syrrx's knowledge in high-throughput microcrystallization of proteins for 3-dimensional structure determination across multiple drug targets identified by Sankyo. Syrrx will receive an up-front technology access fee, as well as success fees and license fees by Sankyo if collaboration goals are met.
The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium in Austin, Texas, released its Clinical Laboratory Data Model for the clinical trials industry. The group called the model the first step in proposing worldwide standards for the interchange of clinical trial lab data.
The University of California at Berkeley will host a public program on the stem cell debate on June 22. Speakers include bioethicist Ernle Young, who co-founded the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and Thomas Okarma, the CEO of Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif. The half-day program will cover the basic science of stem cells along with the possible applications to treat debilitating conditions and diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, burns, arthritis, spinal cord injuries, diabetes and heart disease.