Amaxa GmbH, of Cologne, Germany, is establishing U.S. operations in Maryland, with David Kulick named the director of sales for the German biotech company. Amaxa expects to employ 15 people there by the end of the year. The company said up to half its sales are in the U.S. Amaxa’s Nucleofector technology provides a nonviral method for gene transfer into primary cells and hard-to-transfect cell lines.
Ambion Inc., of Austin, Texas, obtained a nonexclusive license from Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., to manufacture and sell amplification kits for research use under patents directed to the RNA amplification procedure. Linear RNA amplification technology is used to increase the levels of RNA expressed in cells to quantities that can be used for obtaining gene expression patterns on DNA microarrays and other related applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.
BioMS Medical Corp., of Edmonton, Alberta, reported preliminary results from its Phase II trial of MBP8298 for chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. The placebo-controlled, double-blind, 42-month, 32-patient study involved intravenous injection of MBP8298, a peptide technology licensed from the University of Alberta. Results indicate a high percentage of patients had complete or partial anti-MBP suppression. Three times as many patients who received MBP8298 and showed complete or partial anti-MBP suppression also showed some clinical stabilization, and no side effects were reported.
Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., said a study using its prostate cancer diagnostic imaging agent, ProstaScint (capromab pendetide), showed it improves detection of recurrent cancer in patients who previously had their prostates removed. A ProstaScint scan identified recurrent disease in 72 percent of patients with serum PSA less than or equal to 4.0 ng/mL. Of patients who underwent additional imaging studies, bone and/or CT scans identified recurrence in only 12 percent (16/139) and 16 percent (15/92), respectively. Results of the 225-patient study, conducted by scientists at Duke University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, were published in the Feb. 15, 2002, issue of Cancer.
Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Doylestown, Pa., was awarded orphan drug product designation from the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products for the company’s lead product, Surfaxin, for the treatment of acute lung injury. In the U.S., Surfaxin is in a Phase II trial for the same indication, and has been granted both FDA fast-track and FDA orphan drug designations. The European orphan drug designation gives the company six to 10 years of market exclusivity, and may lead to accelerated evaluation.
ImClone Systems Inc., of New York, adopted a stockholders rights plan to protect stockholders against, among other things, unsolicited attempts to acquire control of ImClone, which do not offer an adequate price to all stockholders or are otherwise not in the best interests of ImClone and its stockholders. The company also made a filing with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act seeking clearance to acquire up to $500 million of its common stock. The waiting period will expire March 4, unless the FTC grants early termination or requests additional information.
Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., privately placed a $2 million convertible note and warrant with Oshkim Ltd. Partnership. The investment was made pursuant to the note purchase agreement that Immune Response and Kevin Kimberlin Partners LP entered into Nov. 9, and was amended Feb. 14, to add Oshkim as an investor. As previously reported, the company placed a $2 million convertible note and warrant to Kevin Kimberlin Partners in November 2001.
Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Houston, and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Austin published a new preclinical study evaluating MDA-7 protein expression during melanoma disease progression, in the Feb. 15, 2002, issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Results support the use of INGN 241, Introgen’s mda-7 gene drug, in the treatment of melanoma. Additionally, these findings provide support for Phase I trials under way to investigate the safety and efficacy of INGN 241 in the treatment of cancer. Treatment of tumor cells with INGN 241 results in selective killing of tumor cells via apoptosis, while normal cells are unharmed.
Mixture Sciences Inc., of San Diego, entered into a research collaboration with HeptaHelix Ltd., of Lund, Sweden, to use Mixture’s mixture-based combinatorial libraries to identify ligands for HeptaHelix’s collection of G protein-coupled receptors using its reporter analysis, a biosensor system. Mixture will provide a variety of mutually selected mixture-based combinatorial libraries. Mixture and HeptaHelix will use these libraries to identify ligands for a variety of mutually selected cell-based reporter-gene systems, including G protein-coupled and orphan receptors. Financial terms were not disclosed.