Antex Biologics Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it plans to report later this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiologists in Salt Lake City on immunogenicity and protective efficacy results obtained from a family of nine proteins encoded by the intracellular pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis. The company will report that a team of Antex scientists found that recombinant forms of polymorphic membranes are highly conserved among different Chlamydia serovars, protect animals against Chlamydia-induced infertility and confer heterotypic cross-protection. Antex said it hopes to initiate a Phase I trial of its Tracvax recombinant subunit vaccine against the disease later this year.
AVAX Technologies Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., said it was approved to transfer the trading of its securities to the Nasdaq SmallCap Market. The securities will begin trading today. AVAX focuses on the development and commercialization of products for cancer using autologous cell vaccines, topoisomerase inhibitors and anti-estrogens.
Bioplex Corp., of Pittsburgh, secured an exclusive license to Indiana University technology for the synthesis of optically encoded microbeads and nanobeads for human health applications, including drug discovery and clinical diagnostics. The transaction was facilitated by the university's Advanced Research and Technology Institute, which became a founding equity holder in Bioplex in partnership with LaunchCyte LLC, a Pittsburgh-based biotechnology acquisition and development concern.
BioSpecifics Technologies Corp., of Lynbrook, N.Y., said its board adopted a shareholder rights agreement under which rights to purchase shares of its newly issued Series B junior participating preferred stock will be distributed to stockholders as a noncash dividend at the rate of one right for each share of the company's common stock, held of record as of the close of business on May 31.
Cell Pathways Inc., of Horsham, Pa., said research reported at the American Gastroenterology Association meeting suggests that CP461 may have potential as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Seven dogs with a history of chronic and refractory IBD lasting six months to 3.5 years who had failed to respond to conventional therapies were selected for the study. The signs of IBD began resolving by day 10 following treatment, and 86 percent of the dogs were symptom-free by day 30. CP461 is from a class of orally active compounds that selectively trigger apoptosis in abnormal cells.
CuraGen Corp., of New Haven, Conn., said CG53135 (FGF-20) reduced the severity and extent of tissue damage associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in several disease models. Scientists described the role of CG53135 in disease models of IBD at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Francisco. The company said the compound is active in models of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The compound reduced colon inflammation, bleeding, cell loss and edema.
Dionex Corp., of Sunnyvale, Calif., agreed to make an investment in PharmaSeq Inc., of Monmouth Junction, N.J., of $3 million. The agreement also gives Dionex certain rights to negotiate access to PharmaSeq's technology. Dionex makes chromatography and extraction systems for chemical analysis. PharmaSeq provides technology for the multiplex bioassay field.
Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, presented data at the 2002 American Thoracic Society conference in Atlanta showing severe sepsis patients who have pulmonary complications had a better chance of survival with Xigris (drotrecogin alfa [activated]) than patients treated with standard care alone. The new findings came from an analysis of two subsets of Lilly's Phase III Prowess trial. Xigris is a recombinant form of human activated protein C.
Enzon Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., said Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., reported results of clinical studies presented at the 2002 Digestive Disease Week conference in San Francisco, involving Peg-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b) powder for injection in combination with Rebetol (ribavirin, USP) capsules for chronic hepatitis C. In all, 33 studies with Peg-Intron were presented by clinical investigators.
Genta Inc., of Berkeley Heights, N.J., initiated a clinical program for its second drug, gallium nitrate. The trial focuses on patients with low- or immediate-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) who have low blood counts and who have failed prior chemotherapy and rituximab (Rituxan) treatment. Genta filed an investigational new drug application for the indication with the FDA earlier this year. Gallium nitrate was developed by the National Cancer Institute and trials have suggested the drug produces a greater than 40 percent response rates in patients with refractory NHL, the company said.
Ilex Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, filed a supplemental biologics license application with the FDA for its lead anticancer drug, Campath. The request is based on two-year follow-up data in patients who had been treated with alkylating agents and failed fludarabine. First-year results were published in the May 15, 2002, issue of Blood.
Illumina Inc., of San Diego, said it expanded DNA synthesis capacity to more than 10 million oligonucleotides per year, doubling previous capacity and allowing 16 cents per base customer pricing, or 11 percent lower than previous levels. Leveraging proprietary Oligator technology, the additional capacity is earmarked for large-volume users in the plate-sized oligo market, a segment that is growing rapidly due to the accelerated pace and expanded scale of genomic studies, the company said.
Incara Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said an affiliate of Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, made an equity investment of $3 million in Incara by purchasing Series B preferred stock at 72 cents per share. That will enable the development of Incara's catalytic antioxidant compounds as adjunctive agents to cancer treatment. The compounds may reduce therapy-limiting side effects and improve outcome of radiation therapy.
InKine Pharmaceutical Co. Inc., of Blue Bell, Pa., said the Nasdaq Stock Market approved InKine's application to list its common stock on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market. The company began trading Tuesday on the SmallCap market under the symbol INKP. InKine focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., presented at the 11th International Congress on Cardiovascular Pharmacology in Montreal. The data, the company said, are the first to emerge from its cardiovascular drug discovery program and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of antisense technology in cardiovascular disease. The platform's product, ISIS 147764, was discovered through Isis' evaluation of the effects of antisense inhibition of multiple enzymes in the lipid-synthesis pathway.
Lynx Therapeutics Inc., of Hayward, Calif., entered a collaborative agreement with the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle to study prostate cancer gene expression. The agreement features the application of Lynx's Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSS) technology to uncover differentially expressed genes in prostate cancer. The resulting MPSS analyses would be combined with data from ISB to generate a showcase study for a systems biology approach for studying prostate cancer. Financial details were not disclosed.
Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said researchers presented results from three preclinical studies suggesting that Maxim's investigational drug Ceplene provides protection against alcohol-induced liver injury, and may assist in reversing alcohol-induced liver damage in animal models of alcoholic liver disease. The results were presented at the Digestive Disease Week conference in San Francisco. Rats treated with Ceplene showed normalized ALT and AST liver enzymes after being given a single dose of ethanol once per day for up to eight weeks. Rats in the untreated group had significantly higher levels of those enzymes.
Mendel Biotechnology Inc., of Hayward, Calif., was granted a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grant will fund research to discover naturally occurring plant genes that regulate the production of natural rubber. The research will focus on doubling the amount of rubber made in the Guayule plant, which grows naturally in the American Southwest. Guayule produces high-quality latex rubber that is suitable for the manufacture of high-value, hypoallergenic latex products in medical devices.
Panacea Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Rockville, Md., said the National Institute of Aging of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., awarded it a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant. The grant will be used to support research and development activities aimed at producing therapeutic drugs against the enzyme Human Aspartyl (Asparaginyl) Beta-Hydroxylase (HAAH). The goal is to investigate and characterize the use of anti-HAAH monoclonal antibodies to affect tumor cell growth, proliferation, motility and invasiveness, as well as HAAH expression and activity.
Pharmexa A/S, of Harsholm, Denmark, said it will conduct its first clinical trial with AutoVac HER-2 protein pharmaccine against breast cancer in the U.S. The company plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA. A mouse analogue of the AutoVac HER-2 Protein pharmaccine has been shown to successfully treat established mouse tumors, the company said. Further animal studies show that antibodies induced by the AutoVac HER-2 pharmaccine are at least as effective as Herceptin (Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco) at controlling the growth of grafted human tumors in mice.
SangStat Medical Corp., of Fremont, Calif., said that RDP58 resolved spontaneous chronic colitis within 24 hours in primates. The results were presented at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in San Francisco. Spontaneous chronic colitis in monkeys is believed to be similar to ulcerative colitis in humans. RDP58 is an orally active anti-inflammatory peptide with multiple therapeutic activities, including inhibition of TNF-alpha, gamma interferon and IL-12. A separate Phase I study showed that RDP58 is safe in humans.
The Genostar Consortium in Paris said it launched the Genostar platform for exploratory genomics. The platform is made up of three modules: GenoAnnot, which is dedicated to genome annotation and identifying particular genomic areas of biological interest; GenoLink, which analyzes the functions of genetic production; and GenoBool, which focuses on analysis and correlation of heterogeneous data. Members of the consortium are Genome Express, Hybrigenics, INRIA and the Institut Pasteur.
The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., reported first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, when it reported that about $2 million of the proceeds in May were used to repay the short-term secured promissory note with interest issued in March. The company estimated that its available cash resources would be sufficient to fund its planned operations into June. Additional funds will be required to fund the company's operations beyond that time.
The Medicines Co., of Parsippany, N.J., said two articles on clevidipine were published, one in Anesthesiology and one in Experimental Hypertension. The first reports data from a placebo-controlled study in 91 coronary artery bypass graft patients with postoperative hypertension and found that clevidipine reduced high blood pressure after cardiac surgery, in a dose-dependent manner, with rapid onset, offset and clearance. The second article concluded that clevidipine was effective in preserving renal tubular function in a hypertensive animal model.
Tripos Inc., of St. Louis, made available LeadScreen 2002, the latest version of its preformatted set of high-throughput screening compounds. LeadScreen gives biotechnology companies access to high-quality compounds from the LeadQuest libraries. The product is designed to accelerate the discovery efforts of biotechnology companies.
Versicor Inc., of Fremont, Calif., completed enrollment of its Phase II trial with dalbavancin for the treatment of complicated skin and soft-tissue infections. The product is being developed as the first once-weekly treatment for Staphylococcal and other Gram-positive infections. The study enrolled 60 hospitalized patients with skin and soft-tissue infections. Dalbavancin is a glycopeptide agent belonging to the same class as vancomycin.