AniGenics Inc., of Chicago, entered a three-year, $17.5 million collaborative research program sponsored by Genome Canada, of Ottawa, Quebec. AniGenics will perform the research with the Veterinary Infectious Disease Organization in Saskatoon; the University of Saskatchewan at Saskatoon; and the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Inimex Pharmaceuticals Inc., all in Vancouver. The program, which begins this summer, focuses on infectious disease genomics of cattle and poultry.
Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., saw its stock rise $9.11 Friday, or 22.6 percent, following the Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee 8-to-2 recommendation in favor of its psoriasis drug, Amevive, on Thursday. The FDA is not bound by the recommendation, but positive recommendations are usually seen as precursor to approval. Some analysts have predicted the product could be launched in the U.S. late this year or early in 2003. The company's stock (NASDAQ:BGEN) closed Friday at $49.47. (See BioWorld Today, May 24, 2002.)
CytRx Corp., of Atlanta, said Nasdaq approved its request to transfer its common stock to the Nasdaq SmallCap Market from the Nasdaq National Market, effective May 28. The stock will continue trading under the symbol CYTR. The company requested the transfer because it was unable to meet the national market's $1-per-share closing bid requirement for the minimum number of consecutive trading days.
DUSA Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wilmington, Mass., reported at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Francisco positive results of a Phase I/II trial using Levulan (aminolevulinic acid) photodynamic therapy for the removal of high-grade dysplasia within areas of Barrett's esophagus (BE). At a median follow-up of eight months, with a median of two treatments per patient, eight of 17 were clear of HGD or early cancer. DUSA also reported encouraging preliminary interim results from its Phase I/II Levulan PDT study for the treatment of HGD in BE.
Immuno-Designed Molecules SA, of Paris, and the Montreal Center for Experimental Therapeutics in Cancer, based at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, will jointly open the Cell Processing Center. In addition to providing most of the building costs, IDM will provide the technology necessary to form anticancer cell therapies. IDM has established 10 Cell Processing Centers, which transform patients' cells into what IDM terms Cell Drugs - immunotherapy agents developed by the company.
Immunomedics Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., bought from Beckman Coulter Inc., of Fullerton, Calif., the latter's 43 percent interest in a cancer therapeutic joint venture, IBC Pharmaceuticals LLC. In return, Beckman Coulter received 138,900 shares of Immunomedics common stock that were worth about $1.8 million before the market opened Friday, and a five-year warrant to purchase an additional 150,000 shares of Immunomedics common stock at $65 per share, subject to adjustment in the event of a change of control of Immunomedics. The companies formed the joint venture nearly four years ago. (See BioWorld Today, June 23, 1998.)
Morphotek Inc., of Exton, Pa., relocated its headquarters and R&D operations to a 41,000-square-foot facility. The new site, expandable up to 73,000 square feet, includes facilities to develop and produce pharmaceuticals and agricultural-based products in addition to dedicated space for warehousing and general administration offices.
Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, said two studies, reported in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, support the use of genetic testing for risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The studies point to the effectiveness of risk-reducing oophorectomy surgery in women with a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Removal of the ovaries from such women, who have completed childbearing, was shown to be completely effective in reducing the risk of ovarian cancer. Also, the procedure reduced cancer of ovary-related tissue remaining after ovary removal by 96 percent and simultaneously reduced the risk of breast cancer by 53 percent.
NeoGenomics Inc., of Naples, Fla., filed its Form 10KSB and its Form 10QSB with the SEC. The company's stock ticker reverted back to its original NOGN symbol on Friday. Also, the company entered an agreement to perform genetic diagnostic analysis for the Naples branch of the Florida Cancer Specialists. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Nexell Therapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., received a letter from Nasdaq notifying the company that its common stock had failed to maintain a minimum bid price of $1 over the last 30 consecutive trading days. Nexell will have until Aug. 19 to regain compliance or be delisted. But Nexell said it is unlikely that it would be able to regain compliance, in light of its previously reported decision to wind down operations.
Oxford GlycoSciences plc, of Oxford, UK, appointed David Ebsworth CEO, effective July 1. He will serve as CEO designate until then. Ebsworth most recently was head of the Pharmaceutical Business Group of Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany. Michael Kranda, Oxford's current CEO, will step down at the company's next board meeting.
The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., reported results of a preclinical study showing that mice with a gene altered by juvenile Batten disease have an immune reaction that disables a brain enzyme called glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 (GAD65). The enzyme normally converts one neurotransmitter called glutamate into another, called gamma-aminobutyric acid. The loss of GAD65 leads to excessive glutamate in the brain. The study marks the first evidence that the immune system plays a role in the disease, the NIH said.
Vasogen Inc., of Toronto, said underwriters have exercised their option to purchase 1.65 million shares at C$4.85 per share, pursuant to a firm commitment/bought deal offering. The original offering was underwritten by a syndicate led by Research Capital Corp., of Toronto, for the issuance and sale of 3.5 million common shares at the same price. The option brings the total gross proceeds of the offering to approximately C$25 million (US$16.3 million). (See BioWorld Today, May 8, 2002.)