3M Drug Delivery Systems Division, of St. Paul, Minn., reported results of its initial evaluation of hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-based metered dose inhalation (MDI) systems for delivery of biotech molecules. Using particle-engineering technology in the production of respirable particles, along with MDI formulation expertise, 3M demonstrated that selected therapeutic protein molecules retained their activity for periods of up to six months in the HFA MDIs.
Aphton Corp., of Miami, reported interim results of the gastric cancer Phase II trial with its immunogen, G17DT, at the 12th International Congress on Anti-Cancer Treatment in Paris. No side effects were reported in the Phase II trial for patients taking G17DT in combination with chemotherapy (cisplatin plus 5FU/leucovorin). When administered with G17DT the patients completed on average 5.5 cycles of chemotherapy, compared to a normal average of 2.5 cycles completion before side effects force discontinuation. Of the 30 patients, 15 had a partial tumor response (tumor shrinkage by 50 percent or more) for an overall response rate of 50 percent.
Artecel Sciences Inc., of Durham, N.C., and Duke University Medical Center researchers said they have reprogrammed adult stem cells taken from a deposit of fat behind the kneecap into functioning cartilage, bone or fat cells that potentially could be grown into replacement tissues. Researchers took the fat pads from patients whose knee joints were removed during total joint replacement surgery. Last year, the research team reported the ability to turn fat cells taken from liposuction procedures into cartilage cells.
Cancer Immune Inc., of Boston, said a protein a 16-amino-acid peptide part of the molecule malignin has homologues called replikins, which were found in all tumor viruses and most cell proteins associated with rapid replication in cancer. These replikins, which help stimulate the production of the antimalignin antibody by the immune system, have served as the model for an investigational synthetic vaccine called Cavax, now in preclinical development at Cancer Immune. As a synthetic replikin, Cavax has produced high levels of the cancer-specific antimalignin antibody in animals. Trials to evaluate the vaccine in humans are expected to begin next year.
Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said that the ovarian cancer detection study released to the public Feb. 8 and to be published in The Lancet Feb. 16 was conducted using Ciphergen’s ProteinChip Biology System to discover and assay the patterns of proteins used in the study. Undertaken by the National Cancer Institute and the FDA, this study discovered protein patterns found in the serum of 50 ovarian cancer patients that distinguished them from 50 women without the disease. Using these protein patterns, all 50 of the cancer patients were correctly classified, including 18 with early stage cancer, and 63 of the 66 women without cancer were correctly classified yielding a sensitivity of 100 percent, specificity of 98 percent and positive predictive value of 94 percent. Ciphergen’s stock (NASDAQ:CIPH) gained 58 cents Monday, or 9.65 percent, to close at 6.59.
CollaGenex International Ltd., of Newton, Pa., a wholly owned subsidiary of CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc., appointed Dexcel-Dental, a division of Dexcel-Pharma Ltd., to handle selling Periostat tablets to the dental profession in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Periostat tablets were granted marketing authorization by the UK Medicines Control Agency in 2001. Periostat tablets are indicated for use as an adjunct to supra- and subgingival scaling procedures to treat adult periodontitis. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Fluidigm Corp., of South San Francisco, entered into a supply agreement to provide GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, access to Fluidigm microfluidic platform technology. Fluidigm will provide GSK with novel microfluidic tools and design software, as well as customized prototype microfluidic chips. GSK will use Fluidigm multi-layer soft lithography technology to explore microfluidic applications within the pharmaceutical development process. Terms were not disclosed.
Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Proteometrics LLC, of New York, signed an exclusive worldwide software license. Genomic Solutions, through its newly created subsidiary, Proteomic Solutions Inc., obtained the exclusive right to develop, support and license the Proteometrics bioinformatics product line. Twelve to 14 of Proteometrics’ North American-based employees have joined the Genomic Solutions organization.
Genta Inc., of Berkeley Heights, N.J., began two multicenter trials in previously untreated patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and small-cell-lung cancer (SCLC). Both studies, which test Genta’s lead antisense drug Genasense in combination with standard chemotherapy, are intended as lead-ins to future randomized trials. The AML trial will test Genasense in combination with daunorubicin and cytarabine in newly diagnosed patients over 59. The study will start at Ohio State University, whose investigators had previously conducted a Phase I trial with Genasense in AML. The SCLC trial, which has been initiated at the University of Chicago, will evaluate Genasense in combination with carboplatin and etoposide in patients with extensive disease.
Gradipore Ltd., of New York, entered into an agreement with Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, for the separation and purification of recombinant proteins based on Gradipore’s platform separations technology, Gradiflow. Biomira will use Gradiflow to establish methods for isolating and purifying certain recombinant proteins. Gradipore will establish a set of purification protocols that will be transferred to Biomira. The agreement provides for the payment of certain performance-based fees to Gradipore. Further financial details and terms were not disclosed.
Gryphon Sciences Inc., of South San Francisco, and Avecia Biotechnology Inc., of Billingham, UK, are extending their previous collaboration to form an alliance designed to develop and ultimately supply Gryphon’s performance-enhanced protein therapeutics. The alliance combines Gryphon’s technology to design synthetic proteins with Avecia’s process innovation and development skills and experience as a large-scale peptide manufacturer for health care applications. Gryphon has identified a number of chemically synthesized protein therapeutics that it will scale-up with Avecia.
Infigen Inc., of DeForest, Wis., and its agriculture affiliate, Genmark, said they successfully produced the agricultural industry’s first clones of adult pigs. The clones were produced from nonfetal cells of two boars and are described as “healthy and vigorous.” The boars, named The Man and the other 401K, were cloned as a result of their high genetic merit, Infigen said.
Morewood Molecular Sciences Inc., of Pittsburgh, nonexclusively licensed a Harvard University invention that leverages Morewood’s technology for ultra-fast enzymatics. The technology involves a method of high-throughput screening of certain molecules for specific biological effects. Financial terms were not disclosed. Morewood is developing technologies for assaying enzyme activities.
NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., withdrew its initial public offering, citing market conditions. The company originally filed for its IPO in mid-November with a maximum amount proposed of $115 million. About a month later, it set its number of shares at 6.2 million and its price-per-share range at $12 to $14, then decreased its range to between $9 and $10 on Feb. 6. The company discovers small-molecule drugs on a proteome- and genome-wide scale. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 20, 2001.)
Paracel Inc., of Pasadena, Calif., a business unit of Celera Genomics, said Digital Gene Technologies Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., purchased Paracel’s GeneMatcher2, its newest-version, sequence-similarity analysis supercomputer. Digital Gene Technologies is using the GeneMatcher2 system in its overall gene discovery and functional genomics efforts. Financial details were not disclosed.
Senetek plc, of Napa, Calif., said the stock symbol for its common stock, which is traded on the Nasdaq, has changed to SNTK from SNTKY, effective immediately. Senetek is a biopharmaceutical company developing skincare/dermatological and sexual dysfunction products.
Vernalis Group plc, of London, and Roche Holdings Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, signed a research and development agreement that focuses on anti-obesity drugs. The collaboration aims to develop highly selective 5-HT(2C) receptor agonists as appetite suppressants. Roche has rights to product candidates and will pay royalties to Vernalis on worldwide net sales. Terms include research funding and milestones payable to Vernalis at pre-agreed stages in clinical development. Roche will fund and have full responsibility for managing the development of new compounds arising from this collaboration.