AgraQuest Inc., of Davis, Calif., said it formed a research initiative with the University of California, San Diego, funded in part by a Biotechnology Strategic Targets for Alliances in Research award. The joint funding will support research aimed at investigating deep marine sediment microbes for use as biological pest management solutions for controlling fungal disease, insects and nematodes. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the laboratory of William Fenical, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. Financial details were not disclosed.
Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, received a $2.05 million milestone payment from Cook Inc., of Bloomington, Ind. The payment was triggered by Cook’s filing for CE Mark approval to market the paclitaxel-eluting version of its V-Flex Plus PTX Coronary Stent in the European community for treating restenosis associated with stent implantation. It is Cook’s second milestone payment to Angiotech under a co-exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement with Boston Scientific Corp., of Natick, Mass.
Correlogic Systems Inc., of Bethesda, Md., said results of a study published on The Lancet’s web site show that a new method of assessing protein patterns in blood samples was able to detect 100 percent of ovarian cancer cases, even early stage cases. The study was conducted by researchers from the FDA/National Cancer Institute Clinical Proteomics Program, Northwestern University Medical School, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Correlogic Systems, the developer of the algorithms and processes that identified the protein patterns. The Lancet will publish the study in the Feb. 16, 2002, edition of its printed publication.
GeneProt Inc., of North Brunswick, N.J., and Oxford GlycoSciences plc, of Oxford, UK, reached agreement on the licensing of OGS’s automated proteomics U.S. Patent Nos. 6,064,754 and 6,278,794 and their foreign equivalents, upon granting. GeneProt will pay an up-front licensing fee of $1 million in cash and equity and will make additional annual payments (which will vary according to the existence of granted patents in the United States, Europe and Japan) over the seven-year, nonexclusive agreement.
ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said it filed an amended S-1 registration statement with the SEC to proceed with an initial public offering of a minority interest in Ribapharm Inc., ICN’s research and development subsidiary. Ribapharm originally filed for its initial public offering in June 2000, although it amended its filing in the summer of 2001. (See BioWorld Today, June 16, 2000; May 16, 2001; and July 16, 2001.)
Immune Network Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, established a company to develop and market its neuroscience drug candidates. Immune Network is developing dapsone and drugs based on dapsone for possible use in slowing or arresting the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Immune Network expects to complete, in the third quarter, an international multicenter Phase II trial of dapsone in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Maxygen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said that in a report published in the journal Nature, Maxygen scientists describe the use of its whole genome shuffling technologies to develop new bacterial strains with increased capacity to produce a commercial polyketide antibiotic. The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Technology Program. Maxygen focuses on creating products for human therapeutics and industrial applications.
Oncolytics Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, said it completed eight formal toxicology studies of Reolysin, its reovirus formulation developed as a potential cancer therapeutic. The most recent completed study involved daily intravenous injections of Reolysin for 28 consecutive days in a nontumor-bearing canine model. The cumulative amount of virus injected per animal at the highest dose was more than 100-fold the highest dose used in the recently completed Phase I trial. The studies demonstrated no significant product-related toxicity as a result of the administration of the reovirus, regardless of the route of administration or the dose level, the company said.
Pharmacia Corp., of Peapack, N.J., is ending its SU5416 program in colorectal cancer based on results from a planned interim efficacy and safety analysis of a large Phase III study of standard chemotherapy with or without SU5416 in the treatment of patients with advanced-stage colorectal cancer. The program was under development by its subsidiary, Sugen Inc. The analysis shows that the study will not achieve the defined trial endpoints due to a lack of clinical benefit. The company will work with SU5416 study investigators to bring the remaining trials to an appropriate conclusion. SU5416, a small-molecule angiogenesis signaling inhibitor, was designed to block the VEGF-R in blood vessels. Before it was acquired by Pharmacia for $650 million, Sugen said in 1999 it was moving the compound directly from safety and other early trials directly to pivotal studies in colorectal and lung cancers and Kaposi’s sarcoma. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 14, 1999.)
PhotoCure ASA, of Oslo, Norway, received marketing authorization for Metvix Photodynamic Therapy, in New Zealand. Authorities approved Metvix PDT for the treatment of actinic keratosis and basal cell carcinoma in patients for whom traditional therapies are considered unsuitable due to possible complications, scarring and disfiguration. Metvix PDT was first approved in Sweden and now is approved in 13 other European countries.
Plexus Vaccine Inc., of San Diego, received a Department of Defense grant award administered by the Center for the Commercialization of Advanced Technologies. The grant provides research and development funding that enables Plexus to acquire proof of concept for vaccine development for the biowarfare target, Yersinia pestis, and associated platform technology. Also, Plexus will receive services, including market studies and business development support, to help the company build rational commercialization strategies and develop military contacts.
Stressgen Biotechnologies Corp., of San Diego, said advice obtained in January from an independent clinical advisory board, coupled with market research, validates its decision that genital warts will be the first major market it will enter with its product, HspE7. Stressgen has received orphan drug designation for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RSP) from the FDA and initiated a Phase II trial in children. RSP is basically genital warts of the upper airways, Stressgen said. Further, the board indicated that the analysis of HspE7 data suggests that a therapeutic vaccine could be used to potentially treat a variety of chronic viral infections.
Texas Biotechnology Corp., of Houston, said at the 27th International Stroke Conference in San Antonio that clinical investigators for Texas Biotechnology presented a retrospective analysis suggesting positive clinical effects for Argatroban in acute ischemic stroke in patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). Argatroban, a direct thrombin inhibitor anticoagulant, was approved in November 2000 by the FDA as an anticoagulant therapy for the prophylaxis or treatment of thrombosis in patients with HIT.
Tm Bioscience Corp., of Toronto, said it has received a total of $3.6 million since the end of the third quarter 2001 from the exercise of warrants and compensation options relating to a private placement on May 5, 2000. The company has about 113.7 million shares outstanding. Tm develops and commercializes biochips for the development of new medicines and diagnosis of disease.