Affinium Pharmaceuticals, of Toronto, said Genome Canada and the Ontario Genomics Institute awarded it a $7 million grant for a program in viral proteomics. The program will systemically study the proteomics of viruses and their host cell interactions. Affinium describes itself as a structure-guided drug discovery company.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cheshire, Conn., and Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, an affiliate of Procter & Gamble Co., of Cincinnati, completed enrollment of approximately 900 patients in their second Phase II acute myocardial infarction trial of pexelizumab. The randomized, placebo-controlled, COMMA (Complement Inhibition in Myocardial Infarction Treated with PTCA) trial is designed to examine safety of pexelizumab administration, determine its dosage for subsequent trials, and find potential efficacy parameters in the angioplasty-treated patient population.
Ardais Corp., of Lexington, Mass., said it has licensed its BIGR Library and Suite of Bioinformatic Tools to Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., Aventis SA, of Frankfurt, Germany, CuraGen Corp., of New Haven, Conn., and other unnamed biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Ardais, a privately held clinical genomics company, said its resources enable researchers to apply a portfolio of human tissue-based products and services for scientific research use, primarily in molecular profiling studies to identify and validate the clinical relevance of potential drug targets. Financial and other details were not disclosed.
Biotica Technology Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, was awarded a Small Business Research Initiative grant of about $286,000 from the BBSRC. The company said it will use the grant to fund research into new technologies that generate polyketides and peptides, and for their production within microorganisms. More specifically, the project will focus on developing generic technologies to create diversity by engineering of genes involved in polyketide and nonribosomal peptide biosynthesis, and their application to generation of novel antibacterials.
Celsion Corp., of Columbia, Md., said it filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA for the use of its heat-activated liposome compound for the treatment of prostate cancer. The company plans to start Phase I trials using a formulation combining Celsion’s site-specific temperature-sensitive liposomes and doxorubicin. Liposomes are man-made microscopic devices with a lipid membrane for targeted drug delivery.
Connetics Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., said its wholly owned subsidiary, Soltec Research Pty. Ltd., a dermatology drug delivery company, expanded its exclusive global license to Novartis Consumer Health SA, a subsidiary of Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, to cover the Liquipatch drug delivery system for use in all topical antifungal applications. Novartis paid Soltec an undisclosed amount to exercise its right to expand the license agreement, and will continue to be responsible for all product-development costs, and pay Soltec license fees, milestone payments and royalties on future product sales. In June 2001, the companies entered an initial agreement under which Novartis was limited to the use of Liquipatch in Novartis’ antifungal brand, Lamisil.
Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, said with the recent completion of its $17 million private placement and the filing of its Form 10-K, it meets Nasdaq’s requirement for continued listing on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market and will immediately resume trading as CYPB. Cypress said it will use the funding to finance ongoing trials for milnacipran in fibromyalgia syndrome through Phase II. The funding may also allow Cypress to consider expanding milnacipran trials into other related indications, or expand its product portfolio through new licensing opportunities.
Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, of Durham, N.C., and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, of Burlingame, Calif., a nonprofit foundation, entered a collaboration to accelerate the testing of new brain cancer drug development faster than traditional approaches. The protocol invites researchers from any venue academia, corporations and government agencies to submit compounds to Duke for immediate screening, free of charge. The open invitation is expected to encourage pharmaceutical companies to submit approved and experimental anticancer drugs to Duke for further testing for their potential utility against brain cancer.
EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., said a new, highly concentrated formulation of its drug candidate Endostatin was introduced into clinical trials, allowing patients to self-administer the protein. Currently, when patients use pre-filled syringes to inject Endostatin, a small volume of liquid is injected under the skin to deliver Endostatin to the body. The higher concentration allows the maintenance of circulating Endostatin levels that have been previously achieved by continuous infusion in clinical patients and associated with maximum antitumor effects in animals. With additional patients enrolling daily in ongoing trials, Endostatin is currently being self-administered in three Phase I and Phase II trials.
Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, said a new study provides insights into the origins of the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor) signaling pathways and their conserved roles in the development of inflammatory cells and blood vessels. Study results, published in the March 22, 2002, issue of Cell, suggest that the early evolutionary role of VEGF in simple invertebrate systems was to guide the movement and dissemination of blood cells to eliminate dying cells and mount a defensive or inflammatory response to infection and wounds. The findings provide further support that the VEGF pathway plays an integral role in the inflammatory response.
Genencor International Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it will build a biologics facility to manufacture human therapeutic proteins, a facility designed to take its preclinical pipeline and manufacture material for clinical trials. Upon completion of the first phase, the 22,000-sqare-foot site will be used to produce materials for clinical trials of the company’s drug candidates for cancer and other diseases. The site also will be used to manufacture protein therapeutics for Genencor’s partners.
Genomics Collaborative Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., signed an agreement with the National Cancer Institute that enables NCI to use the GCI Access program to facilitate its genomics-based discovery and validation efforts. The agreement grants NCI access to GCI’s Global Repository of DNA samples collected from over 100,000 patients. The NCI is studying the association of a specific receptor gene with the risk of developing high blood pressure. GCI will provide DNA samples from 3,000 people with hypertension, and 3,000 people without.
Genetic Technologies Ltd., of Fitzroy, Australia, granted a nonexclusive license to Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, to use Genetic’s noncoding patents for genomic mapping and intron sequence analysis. This includes the use of SNPs, mutations and markers located in the noncoding DNA. The terms of the license limit the Sequenom applications of the Genetic patents to its mass spectrometry product range. While specific terms remain confidential, Sequenom will pay Genetic approximately $527,000 in up-front license fees. Genetic said that future licenses issued by Genetic to other biotechnology companies for equivalent applications will not be for less than what Sequenom is now paying.
Genomics Collaborative Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., signed an agreement with the National Cancer Institute, of Bethesda, Md., enabling the institute to use the Genomics Collaborative Access program in its genomics-based discovery and validation efforts. This allows the institute access to Genomics Collaborative’s Global Repository of DNA samples collected from more than 100,000 patients. The institute’s research is to study the association of a specific gene with the risk of developing high blood pressure. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Genzyme Transgenics Corp., of Framingham, Mass., reported that Fresenius AG, of Bad Homburg, Germany, exercised an option to gain additional rights to market recombinant human serum albumin (rhSA) in Japan. Fresenius paid $1.2 million for these rights in accordance with the terms of the cooperation agreement between the companies. Under the ongoing agreement, Fresenius already has similar marketing rights to rhSA in Europe, North America and the rest of Asia.
GlycoGenesys Inc., of Boston, said its joint venture with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, completed its Phase IIa trial in refractory or relapsed pancreatic adenocarcinoma cancer patients. Results of the completed trial and preclinical studies are being prepared for publication. GlycoGenesys also said the joint venture initiated a Phase I dose-escalation trial with GCS-100, formerly called GBC-590. The study, to be conducted in up to 30 cancer patients with unresectable, refractory, or relapsed advanced solid tumors, is designed to investigate the pharmacokinetics and maximum tolerated dose of GCS-100.
LumiCyte Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said its digital protein maps reveal more than 1,500 distinct features directly from single-drop volumes of serum, breaking through existing barriers associated with the mapping of human serum proteins. LumiCyte’s SELDI (Surface-Enhanced Laser Desorption/Ionization) Protein Biochip platform increases by up to five times the capabilities associated with some of today’s technologies. SELDI generates the human serum protein map, with a particular focus on those proteins that change with altered health states such as the onset of disease.
Targacept Inc., of Winston-Salem, N.C., signed a collaborative research and license agreement with Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, to discover and develop drugs, derived from the Aventis library of compounds, for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other central nervous system disorders. The agreement expands the collaboration between the companies to include certain earlier-stage compounds from the Aventis library. The research term of the agreement will extend for two years. The agreement provides for potential payments to Targacept in the form of research support, milestone payments and royalties. Aventis will have the right to commercialize each alliance product. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., declared a 1-for-4 reverse stock split relating to its outstanding shares of common stock, subject to approval of the company’s stockholders at the annual meeting next month. Immune Response also intends to seek stockholder approval to issue additional equity securities in connection with a private offering of such securities by Spencer Trask Ventures Inc., of New York, and Wells Fargo Securities LLC, of San Francisco. The company’s stock (NASDAQ:IMNR) dropped 12 cents Monday, or 20 percent, to close at 48 cents.
Theratechnologies Inc., of Montreal, reported that its subsidiary, Celmed BioSciences Inc., said at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons meeting in Chicago that adult neural stem cells taken from a patient’s central nervous system have been successfully used to treat Parkinson’s disease. The company said the research suggests the method might be able to be used in treating a variety of neurological conditions.