Advanced Viral Research Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., appointed Eli Wilner chairman of the board. Shalom Hirschman will retain the titles of president and CEO and remain a board member. Hirschman will concentrate on the scientific and clinical development of the company’s Product R immunomodulator.
Chemical Diversity Labs Inc., of San Diego, fulfilled a 2001-2002 contract research agreement, through which CDL provided chemistry research services to Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, for rational hit identification and hit-to-lead development. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., presented additional data on its investigational antibiotic Cidecin (daptomycin for injection) at the annual meeting of the Surgical Infection Society in Madrid, Spain. In two completed Phase III trials, Cidecin achieved the required endpoint of statistical equivalence to the comparator agents. In the first analysis of Study 9801, subjects treated with Cidecin showed a trend toward faster mean time to defeverescence one full day less than patients receiving comparator agents. In another analysis, 47 percent of the 153 subjects treated with vancomycin required dosage adjustments due to reasons such as renal failure and blood levels outside the standard vancomycin therapeutic range, while no subjects receiving daptomycin needed adjustments.
Diversa Corp., of San Diego, said it completed with collaborators including Celera Genomics Group, of Rockville, Md. the sequencing and annotation of the smallest archaeal genome discovered to date, Nanoarchaeum equitans. The sequence of the genome may help determine the minimal set of genes needed for an organism to survive, and in doing so, give insight into the origins of life and bacterial evolution and metabolism, the company said. Additionally, microbial engineering for commercial applications could be advanced through an understanding of the organism’s genetic composition. The organism is described in the May 2, 2002, issue of the journal Nature.
Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, said the FDA approved an investigational new drug application for human trials of buccal morphine for pain. The U.S. IND approval follows an earlier approval of a Canadian IND and the completion of a successful proof-of-concept study of morphine delivered systemically through the buccal cavity. Generex is pursuing the development of buccal morphine through its venture with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland. Generex’s stock (NASDAQ:GNBT) gained $1.02 Friday, or 35.7 percent, to close at $3.88.
GenTel Inc., of Madison, Wis., teamed with the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s plant pathology department in an effort to use its biochip-based genomics toolkit to detect and identify plant, animal and human viruses in a matter of hours.
Illumina Inc., of San Diego, entered an agreement with Placer LLC to provide single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping services on a sample collection provided by Placer. Illumina will use its BeadArray technology to genotype specified SNPs in the sample set. Illumina also will design functional assays for the SNP loci, which are believed to be associated with psoriasis and other skin conditions. Further details about the agreement were not disclosed.
Immunicon Corp., of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., completed an equipment loan of $5 million with Silicon Valley Bank’s mid-Atlantic practice. That represents an addition to the $3.2 million line of credit commitment made by Silicon Valley Bank to Immunicon in May 1999. Immunicon completed a $28.75 million preferred stock offering in December.
InforMax Inc., of Bethesda, Md., and Axcell Biosciences, of Newtown, Pa., a subsidiary of Cytogen Corp., agreed to an amendment to their strategic alliance established in 1999. Terms will convert from an exclusive to a nonexclusive license InforMax rights to market, promote and distribute AxCell’s ProChart database and will allow each party to market, distribute, promote and sublicense third-party products in the area of protein-protein interactions.
Screentec BV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, changed its name to Kiadis BV, which it said signifies its progression to the next phase of its development, and underlies a strategy to leverage its screening technology platform to become a global drug discovery company. Kiadis intends to use its high-resolution screening technology to deliver a pipeline of patented molecules suitable for full pharmaceutical development.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists in Memphis, Tenn., discovered that a rabbit liver protein can effectively activate the anticancer drug CPT-11 (Camptosar, Irinotecan), potentially improving therapy of solid tumor cancers in adults and children. The study marks the first time a mammalian carboxylesterase has been crystallized. Rabbit proteins and human proteins are similar, so the rabbit protein can be used to predict the structure of the human enzymes that might activate the drug.
Icelandic parliament officials passed legislation authorizing the government of Iceland to guarantee a convertible bond offering by DeCode genetics Inc., of Reykjavik, Iceland. The measure, introduced in parliament last month, is intended to promote private sector investment in new components of DeCode’s drug development program, as part of a general initiative to encourage continued expansion of Iceland’s biotechnology sector.