Accelrys Inc., of San Diego, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., entered an agreement with Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., to provide its GeneAtlas and the functional annotations for 10,000 protein sequences based on Incyte’s collection of rarely expressed human genes. The annotation results will be delivered to Incyte in AtlasStore, Accelrys’ relational database for storing protein 3-dimensional annotations, as well as sequence, structural, chemical and functional information. In addition, Accelrys will provide Discovery Studio data-mining applications in order to access AtlasStore and view protein 3-dimensional annotations and structural models. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., said its European marketing partner, MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, submitted to German regulatory authorities an application for Eligard 22.5-mg three-month depot, leuprolide acetate for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. This is the second authorization application MediGene submitted for Eligard. In December 2001 it applied for the 7.5-mg one-month product.
Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., and the Naval Medical Research Center in Bethesda, Md., reported at the Experimental Biology 2002 meeting in New Orleans that a newly discovered peptide called derG provided 100 percent protection against malaria infection in a mouse model. DerG also induced protective effects in two different and unrelated animal challenge models for herpes simplex virus and cancer. The peptide, a modified version of a human sequence known to bind to both human and mouse immune cells, appears to increase the ability to fight off all three diseases.
Deltagen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., entered into a collaborative agreement to provide Schering-Plough Research Institute (SPRI), in Kenilworth, N.J., access to a subset of its DeltaBase knockout mice and data for internal research, including the G protein-coupled receptor gene class. SPRI also will have access to corresponding DeltaBase intellectual property rights to develop and commercialize products, in exchange for which Deltagen will receive certain milestone payments. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Digene Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., said Cytyc Corp., of Boxborough, Mass., is extending the expiration date of its offer to purchase for cash and stock all of Digene’s outstanding shares. The exchange offer had been scheduled to expire April 25, but was extended to expire at midnight May 9, unless further extended again. Cytyc can extend the offer period for one or more successive extension periods not in excess of 10 business days each if, at the scheduled expiration date of the offer or any extension thereof, any of the conditions of the offer have not been satisfied or waived. Digene’s stock (NASDAQ:DIGE) fell $10.96 Thursday, or 32.9 percent, to close at $22.37. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 20, 2002.)
Dyax Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said it filed a Form S-3 shelf registration statement with the SEC for the issue and sale of up to 5 million shares of its common stock. The filing would give Dyax the flexibility to sell common stock in one or more offerings at its discretion. The company said the filing was not made in anticipation of a specific transaction. Dyax uses its phage display technology to identify a range of protein, peptide and antibody compounds with potential to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases and cancers.
Epigenomics AG, of Berlin, and Biopsytec Holding AG, also of Berlin, entered a cross-licensing agreement under which Epigenomics gains exclusive rights to use in pharmaceutical research and diagnostics the Biopsytec Identification of Linkage Disequilibrium technology. In return, Biopsytec gains the exclusive rights to use Epigenomics’ DNA-methylation (epigenetic) technologies in agricultural research. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., said it will use proceeds from a convertible debt offering, in which the company intends to raise $125 million, to retire its 14 percent senior subordinated notes. The total amount of the debt, including principal plus interest, is approximately $74 million. The transaction will be effective May 1. Separately, Isis said it achieved a development milestone in its HepaSense Ltd. joint venture with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, triggering a $3.75 million equity purchase by Elan of Isis common stock at $29.74 per share. This is the second equity purchase by Elan as part of the companies’ HepaSense collaboration initiated in January 2000. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 10, 2000.)
La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, presented at the first Tutzing Antiphospholipid Conference in Tutzing, Germany, data supporting its investigational drug candidate LJP 1082 for the treatment of antibody-mediated thrombosis, a life-threatening blood-clotting disorder that can result in stroke and heart attack. LJP 1082 is being tested in a Phase I/II study. The company reported that disease-causing antibodies targeted by LJP 1082 also promote lupus anticoagulant activity.
NeuroSearch A/S, of Ballerup, Denmark, said it will not proceed with a Phase II sickle cell anemia program of NS3728 after Phase I studies indicated that the candidate cannot be used to treat all stages of the disease. Also, NeuroSearch said that duration and costs for the necessary full clinical program increased in comparison to previous estimates, which were based on preclinical results with NS3728. NeuroSearch said it would continue to evaluate indications in other programs within the central nervous system.
Orphan Medical Inc., of Minneapolis, said it licensed patent rights and acquired certain data relating to butamben (butyl-p-aminobenzoate) suspension. Orphan Medical will investigate butamben as a supplement to opiate analgesia treatment for intractable cancer pain. The data acquired show that a series of epidurally delivered butamben appeared to be highly selective in blocking pain transmission with no residual sensory or motor effects, and had long-lasting effects. The company will conduct market research before deciding to begin a full development program.
Ortec International Inc., of New York, said it would present at the 34th scientific meeting of the American Burn Association in Chicago an overview to date of the efficacy and clinical experience of its FDA-approved lead product, OrCel, for the healing of donor-site wounds in burn patients. In an 82-patient controlled study, OrCel accelerated the healing of donor-site wounds when compared to standard care. Also, OrCel demonstrated a median healing time for donor-site wounds that was on the average one-third shorter than control-treated wounds.
Protherics plc, of Cheshire, UK, said it resumed filling and freeze-drying the rattlesnake antivenin CroFab, and it expects initial quantities to be available in the first week of June in time for the majority of the U.S. rattlesnake bite season. The resumption follows a delay, reported March 25, caused when the outsourced filling and freeze-drying process failed to meet the specified quality assurance standard. In other news, Protherics will continue to develop its angiotensin vaccine following successful early Phase II trials. The next trial, designed to optimize the formulation and dosing schedule, is planned for the third quarter and will use a recently enhanced formulation incorporating three times more angiotensin immunogen in the active molecule of the vaccine than used in previous trials.
SuperGen Inc., of Dublin, Calif., published in the March issue of Gene Therapy the results of a preclinical study of inhaled Orathecin (9NC), in combination therapy, demonstrating efficacy against lung cancer. Results revealed a highly significant reduction in the number of visible tumor foci compared to control. Also, the sequential aerosol delivery of p53 and 9NC led to a 30 percent to 40 percent increase in the mean survival time compared to control. There was a highly significant reduction in the tumor burden, as well as the lung weights, for the p53 plus 9NC treatment group compared to other groups. Lastly, the reduction of doses of p53 and 9NC, at least two-fold compared to previous single agent studies, still achieved tumor inhibition.
Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, entered into a sponsored research agreement with Daniel Rader, the director of preventive cardiology and lipid research and an associate professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He will evaluate adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivery of genes involved in lipid metabolism in several mouse models of dyslipidemia. Studies will evaluate dose-response profiles and the effects of AAV gene delivery on lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Tripos Inc., of St. Louis, said it plans to expand its Tripos Receptor Research facility and increase its workforce in Bude, UK. The facility would more than double Tripos’ current chemistry laboratories to 65,000 square feet, expand its personnel to 230 people, and is expected to be fully operational in early 2004. Tripos plans to use the facility, in part, as part of its four-year, $100 million-agreement with Pfizer Inc., of New York, to design, synthesize and purify high-quality, drug-like compounds to expand its high-throughput screening compound collection.
Visible Genetics Inc., of Toronto, received FDA clearance for GuideLines 5.0 Rules, its next-generation interpretation software for the Trugene HIV-1 Genotyping Test. While tenofovir and lopinavir/ritonavir were covered in the Version 4.0 Rules, Version 5.0 includes the latest information on the newly launched drugs. Also, Version 5.0 deals with anticipated effects of pharmacologic boosting of protease inhibitor blood levels by co-administration of low-dose ritonavir.