Co.don AG, of Teltow, Germany, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University entered a collaboration in basic research on tissue engineering, aimed at improving tissue grafts. Financial details were not disclosed.
Evotec OAI, of Hamburg, Germany, and Ionix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, are collaborating on analgesic drug discovery. Ionix utilizes ion channel drug targets related to pain. Ionix’s medicinal chemists provide lead structures, which enable Evotec to produce related compound libraries, Evotec said. In addition, Evotec plans to select putative ion channel inhibitors from its drug discovery library. Ionix scientists plan to screen compounds for target selectivity and functionality, and optimize drug leads. Financial details were not disclosed.
Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design GmbH, of Heidelberg, Germany, appointed Victor Matassa vice president of research and development. He previously was with Eli Lilly’s London research center as director of medicinal chemistry for Europe.
German Society of Proteome Research (DGPF) last week announced its inauguration at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. It was founded by members from academia and biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Among DGPF goals are to support the increase of knowledge, the coordination of national research projects, consultancy to the government, establishment of technology standards, representation of the German proteome research in the EU and in the Human Proteome Organization. DGPF’s president is Friedrich Lottspeich of the Max Planck Institute.
Jerini AG, of Berlin, started Phase I clinical trials of the bradykinin antagonist, Icatibant, in decompensated liver cirrhosis with resistant ascites. Jerini in-licensed the drug from Aventis Pharma SA in late 2001.
LION bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, sold all of its shares in Tripos Inc., of St. Louis. Total net proceeds to LION came to US$22.5 million, LION said. Following LION’s purchase of Cincinnati-based NetGenics Inc., LION no longer considered its investment in Tripos to be of strategic value, LION CEO Friedrich von Bohlen said. However LION plans to continue its collaboration with Tripos in providing the pharmaceutical company Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, with a pharmacophore informatics platform, von Bohlen said. Separately, LION said it expanded its existing collaboration with the food company Nestlé SA, of Vevey, Switzerland, by implementing the first phase of an information technology-based knowledge management system. In addition, the agreement provides for the implementation of LION’s web-based bioinformatics throughout Nestlé. Financial details were not disclosed.
Micromet AG, of Martinsried, Germany, started a multicenter Phase I trial with its bispecific antibody derivative, MT103, to treat patients with B-cell lymphoma. MT103 is the first representative of Micromet’s proprietary family of “Bispecific T-cell engagers” (BiTE) to enter clinical trials. BiTEs bind with one arm to a target cell, such as a cancer cell, and the other arm to a T cell, a “killer” cell from the patient’s own immune system. Thus BiTEs are designed to trigger the T cell to rapidly and selectively eliminate the target cell. “Compared to traditional antibodies, BiTE molecules are at least 10,000 times more efficient in target cell elimination,” Micromet Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Baeuerle said.
Oxford GlycoSciences plc, of Abingdon, UK, said it has licensed two of its automated proteomics patents to GeneProt Inc., of North Brunswick, N.J., in return for an up-front fee of $1 million and undisclosed annual payments. The deal gives GeneProt the right to provide proteomics services based on the patents, which relate to essential elements of industrial-scale proteomic processes.
Scil biomedicals GmbH, of Martinsried, Germany, said enrollment in a Phase II trial of the SMART anti-L-selectin antibody in trauma patients was completed. The international multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial has enrolled 84 patients who have sustained multiple trauma with injuries involving two or more organ systems, Scil said. The company expects preliminary results in June. Scil holds licensing rights for SMART from Protein Design Labs. Inc., of Fremont, Calif., to develop, market and manufacture anti-L-Selectin in trauma and nontrauma indications in Scil’s territories.
Xenova Group plc, of Slough, UK, said its cancer drug XR11576, which is licensed to Millennium Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, Mass., has entered Phase I trials in the UK and the Netherlands. The open-label trial in patients with solid tumors will assess safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and antitumor activity. XR11576, a topoisomerase I and II inhibitor, is active against the DNA of cancer cells.