Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, UK, said it received approval for a second Phase IIb trial of ATL-1251 (renzapride) in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). ATL 1251 is already in a 500-patient Phase IIb trial where it is being evaluated for the treatment of constipation-predominant IBS; the second trial will involve 160 patients suffering mixed symptoms of diarrhea and constipation. Preliminary results are expected at the end of 2002, allowing Phase III studies to start in the second half of 2003. There currently is no treatment for mixed-symptom IBS patients, who make up 45 percent of sufferers.
Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said its board approved the purchase of 100,000 square meters of land on which it plans to build a manufacturing facility. Initial plans for the plant run to 10,000 square meters, with additional office space. The company said the initiative will lead to the creation of between 100 and 200 new jobs. The facility “addresses a vital need as there is currently a shortage of manufacturing capacity in our industry,” Genmab CEO Lisa Drakeman said. The company also is doubling the size of its R&D labs in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where it will hire an additional 50 employees.
Gyros AB, of Uppsala, Sweden, said it doubled the size of its company headquarters to keep pace with market interest in its CD-based microlaboratory platform technology. The microfluidics technology specialist, a spinout from Amersham Biosciences AB, has completed the construction of new facilities for CD production, application development and demonstration. Its first product, which will be aimed at the proteomics market, is due shortly.
LION bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, said it completed the acquisition of Cleveland-based NetGenics Inc. in an exchange for 1.12 million LION American depository shares. Previous NetGenics founder, President and CEO Manuel Glynias joins LION’s U.S. division as senior vice president, strategic planning. Netgenics co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Michael Dickson joins LION as senior principle architect. He is expected to help integrate the companies’ software architectures.
Micromet AG, of Martinsried, Germany, appointed Per Gjorstrup vice president, clinical development. Gjorstrup previously held positions in clinical development with international biopharmaceutical companies, including Schwarz Biosciences, Biogen Inc. and Pharmacia, Micromet said.
Mologen AG and Schering AG, both of Berlin, signed an agreement to develop cell-based therapies using Mologen’s DNA vector MIDGE. The goals of development include cell-based treatments for cancer. Details of the contract were not disclosed. A third party in the project is SynerGene Therapeutics Inc., of Washington, which also supplies solutions for targeted delivery of therapeutics.
Morphochem AG, of Munich, Germany entered into its second chemical genomics collaboration with the pharmaceutical company Aventis Pharma SA, of Strasbourg, France. Morphochem plans to generate anti-infective small-molecule compounds against a novel target. Aventis Pharma, in turn, will provide funding for the Morphochem project team, as well as complementary research and preclinical development. The agreement also provides for Morphochem to work on a second novel anti-infective target to be selected later this year, the company said. The value of Morphochem’s collaborations with Aventis adds up to potentially US$30 million, including research funding and milestone fees. The amount of committed money in this payment was not disclosed.
MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said that the U.S. District Court in Washington denied Melbourn, UK-based Cambridge Antibody Technology plc’s motion to dismiss or transfer a suit filed by MorphoSys seeking declaratory judgment for non-infringement and invalidity of the U.S. “Winter II” patent (U.S. patent No. 6,248,516). As a result the Winter II patent case in the U.S. will now proceed as a MorphoSys action for declaratory judgment in Washington District Court.
Pharmagene plc, of Royston, UK, said the Japanese pharmaceutical company Kyowa Hakko Kogyo renewed its contract for Pharmagene’s Phase ZERO service for testing drug candidates in human tissue prior to clinical trials. Financial details were not disclosed.
The UK Medical Research Council (MRC), one of the major funders of the public Human Genome Project (HGP), has agreed a contract with Celera Genomics, of Rockville, Md., to give UK academics access to Celera’s sequence databases. The agreement will be administered by the MRC, but the databases will be available to UK researchers, whether MRC funded or not. The deal is similar to those between Celera and the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. The race to sequence the human genome generated fierce rivalry between the publicly funded HGP and Celera, but the two eventually agreed to a truce and declared a dead heat.
Xerion Pharmaceuticals AG and Procorde GmbH, both of Martinsried, Germany, started a target validation collaboration with the initial focus on a cardiovascular target protein. This has been shown to be functionally relevant in Procorde’s proprietary disease models. Procorde is expected to supply functional information on the protein. Xerion plans to validate the protein’s function by knocking it out. Upon positive validation, Xerion plans to generate potential therapeutic antibodies against the target.