3rd Millennium Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract from the Department of Defense to develop a bioinformatics system for the management and analysis of microarray data. The work is supported by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. The bioinformatics system will advance the Department of Defense’s Defense Technology Area Plan in Infectious Diseases.
Beckman Coulter Inc., of Fullerton, Calif., signed a cross-licensing agreement with Specialty Laboratories Inc., of Santa Monica, Calif., for the development of multi-analyte assays on Beckman Coulter’s new Progressive MicroArray platforms. Also, Specialty Laboratories will have early access to Beckman Coulter’s Universal Linker capture technology. Beckman Coulter gains access to multi-analyte assays Specialty Laboratories develops through the agreement. The first testing services resulting from the collaboration are expected to be offered by Specialty Laboratories by the end of 2002.
BioFocus plc, of Sittingbourne, UK, said it is launching a technology program for the discovery of new drugs active at G protein-coupled receptors, with UCB Pharma, of Brussels, Belgium, collaborating. BioFocus will provide UCB with molecular design and medicinal chemistry knowledge and will generate lead discovery libraries targeted at specific GPCRs of interest to UCB. BioFocus also will provide access to a database of GPCR molecular interaction data known as KnowledgeBase and further lead optimization expertise where required. UCB will pay BioFocus a technology access fee and pay for ongoing design, synthesis and lead optimization. The agreement includes milestone payments related to lead compounds successfully entering clinical trial stages and marketing.
Charles River Laboratories International Inc., of Wilmington, Mass., announced the consideration to be paid by its wholly owned subsidiary, Charles River Laboratories Inc., in its cash tender offer for any and all of its outstanding 13.5 percent senior subordinated notes due 2009. Holders of notes who tendered prior to midnight EST, on Jan. 30, (the expiration date of the consent solicitation period) will receive the tender offer consideration plus the consent payment of $13 per $650 principal amount of notes. Holders of notes who tendered after the expiration date of the consent solicitation period will receive only the tender offer consideration. The tender offer is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in Charles River’s offer to purchase and consent solicitation statement dated Jan. 16, and will expire at 9:00 a.m. EST on Feb. 14, unless extended by Charles River.
Compugen Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, discovered two prostate-specific proteins encoded by alternative mRNA splice variants of the genes for prostate specific antigen and its related protein, human kallikrein 2. The transcripts were predicted using Compugen’s LEADS computational biology platform and then verified in its molecular biology laboratory. The discovery was published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
MDS Pharma Services, of Montreal, a division of MDS Inc., said it is expecting to expand at several sites worldwide in 2002. It will be relocating to new facilities, increasing the size of others, building a facility for preclinical studies and establishing in Asia a facility for central laboratory operations.
ProdiGene Inc., of College Station, Texas, began a commercial scale-up of trypsin, marking the first time kilogram quantities of a recombinant protein will be produced and marketed from transgenic plants. Trypsin, a protein used in cell culture and as an intermediary in the production of pharmaceuticals, is usually harvested from bovine sources. ProdiGene is developing recombinant proteins, such as therapeutic proteins and vaccines, from transgenic plants.
Vernalis Group plc, of London, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, signed an agreement to collaborate on the research and development of drugs to treat diabetes. Roche will have exclusive worldwide marketing rights and will be responsible for all development and regulatory activities. Vernalis will receive research funding and milestone payments at pre-agreed stages in research and development, and royalties on worldwide sales.
Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, established a portfolio of nearly 400,000 single nucleotide polymorphism assays, extracted from its database of 1.9 million designed-SNP assays. The portfolio is commercially available from Sequenom, offered with oligonucleotides quality controlled by its MassArray technology, and will be made available online in April at the web site RealSNP.com.
Serono SA, of Geneva, said in its fourth-quarter earnings statement it is expecting a decision in March from the FDA on its multiple sclerosis treatment, Rebif. The drug became the market leader outside the United States in 2001 and it is available in more than 70 countries, the company said. Rebif brought Serono $379.6 million in 2001 and fourth-quarter sales were about $110.5 million. For the fourth quarter, Serono received about $365.6 million in total revenues; for the year, about $1.38 billion. Its net income for the fourth quarter was approximately $76.7 million and about $316.7 million for 2001. As of Dec. 31, the company had about $1.48 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. Separately, Serono Inc. said Tuesday it launched SeroJet, a needle-free option for delivering Serostim, its recombinant human growth hormone.
Syrrx Inc., of San Diego, said it received its first milestone payment relating to its anti-infective drug discovery collaboration with Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass. The collaboration, which began in June, entails Cubist providing Syrrx with validated anti-infective drug targets, which Syrrx co-crystallizes using its technology. The undisclosed milestone comes as a result of the successful solution of structures of co-crystals of inhibitory compounds bound to a specific bacterial target. (See BioWorld Today, June 28, 2001.)
Trinity Biotech plc, of Dublin, Ireland, exercised its option granted under the terms of its original share subscription agreement with HiberGen Ltd., of Bray, Ireland, dated Oct. 2, 2000, to increase its shareholding in HiberGen from 43 percent to 66 percent. Trinity will invest approximately $3.1 million as a follow-on investment. The exact sum to be invested is dependent on the achievement of milestones prior to the investment being made. The investment will be made in monthly installments over a 30-month period, beginning in April. HiberGen focuses on identifying genetic variations of medical relevance using its genotyping technology, SNaPIT, and through access to the homogenous Irish population.