Biotie Therapies Corp., of Turku, Finland, said it obtained preliminary evidence of efficacy of its mouse monoclonal antibody Vapantix in a Phase I/II study involving eight patients with mild to moderate psoriasis. Seven of the eight subjects showed decreases in the psoriasis activity score index, a measure of clinical activity of the disease, ranging from 6 percent to 33 percent during the one-month follow-up. Vapantix blocks the action of vascular adhesion protein-1, an endothelial adhesion molecule expressed at sites of inflammation. The antibody also has undergone Phase I studies in nickel allergy of the skin and ulcerative colitis.
ES Cell International, of Singapore, is hiring the research director of PPL Therapeutics plc, Alan Colman. ES Cell is one of the leaders in the field of human embryonic stem cell lines. PPL previously had announced that it intends to spin out its stem cell business and ES Cell is one of the companies it is currently in talks with. Colman has been research director of PPL, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, since 1987, and led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep. Geoff Cook, PPL’s CEO, said he “looked forward to future collaborations with [Colman] in his new role.”
Medigene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, appointed Alexander Dexne chief financial officer and member of the board of directors as of May 1. Dexne previously has held management positions with companies including Olympus Diagnostica and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
MetaGen Pharmaceuticals GmbH, of Berlin, entered a bioinformatics collaboration with Micro-Discovery GmbH, of Berlin, and InforSense Ltd., of London. MetaGen expects to obtain technology to complete its proprietary tools, thus accelerating the discovery of novel cancer therapeutics. InforSense plans to provide MetaGen with a discovery software platform called Kensington Discovery Edition for investigation of large data sets generated by large-scale gene expression analyses. MicroDiscovery is providing its GeneSpotter software platform to analyze transcription data generated by DNA chips. Financial details were not disclosed.
Protagen AG, of Bochum, Germany, said that Christoph Hüls took over as head of the management board and as CEO from founder Helmut Meyer, who was appointed the company’s chief scientific officer. Founder Martin Blüggel became chief operating officer of the proteomics company. Protagen established a board of directors, which is headed by Axel Kleemann. He was board member of the former pharmaceutical company Asta Medica AG, of Frankfurt, Germany.
Proteome Sciences plc, of Cobham, UK, agreed to an early stage research agreement in stroke with ReNeuron Holdings plc, of Guildford, UK. The aim is to identify proteins expressed in brain repair in response to stroke as possible therapeutic entities, or as targets in the treatment of stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases. Proteome Sciences already has found markers in blood, which can differentiate between stroke and heart attack. ReNeuron is working on neural stem cell therapies for neurological disorders, including stroke, and will provide relevant tissue samples to be analyzed by Proteome. The companies will jointly own intellectual property generated by the collaboration.
Switch Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, is working with dermatologists from the Berlin University hospital Charité to investigate the genetic mechanisms of the skin pigmentation disorder vitiligo. Switch’s vitiligo research network also includes dermatologists from Munich Technical University’s hospital. Switch aims at developing a treatment against vitiligo.
Transgene SA, of Paris, said it started a third Phase II clinical trial of its anticancer vaccine, MVA-HPV-IL2, this time in the indication of stage 2-3 cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN2-3). The trial is being conducted at six sites in France on at least 28 women suffering from CIN2-3. CIN are lesions of the cervix that may result in cervical cancer, and HPV (human papillomavirus) has been detected in 80 percent to 90 percent of cases of CIN and over 90 percent of cases of cervical cancer. Two other Phase II trials of MVA-HPV-IL2 are under way in cervical cancer and vulvar epithelial neoplasia.
Xenome Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, said it will start preclinical testing of a painkiller derived from the venom of a coneshell marine shellfish. Officials of Xenome, which is partly owned by Medica Holdings Ltd., said that the animal studies showed the molecule is effective in treating both neuropathic and inflammatory pain.