Accelrys Inc., of San Diego, entered an agreement with Compaq Computer Corp., of Houston, to deliver Accelrys’ materials research software on Compaq’s Tru64 UNIX operating system running on Compaq’s AlphaServer platform. It will provide Accelrys’ set of predictive tools for researchers in the chemicals process industry on a leading platform.
Adprotech Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, will extend its malaria vaccine research program following a licensing agreement with the UK Medical Research Council. Adprotech purchased a license to exploit two MRC patents related to MSP1.19, a fragment of protein found on the surface of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum when it infects human red blood cells. The MRC receives an up-front payment, annual fees, milestone payments and royalties on vaccines.
Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., launched the GeneChip Human Genome U133 Set, allowing researchers to access the most up-to-date version of the human genome sequence available on a microarray platform, the company said. It’s the first commercial array set to use the publicly available draft of the human genome. HG-U133 contains the largest number of data points on a commercial array, Affymetrix said. There are more than 500,000 unique features on each chip.
Amarin Corp., of London, said positive results of two separate Phase II studies were published in the Jan. 21, 2002, issue of NeuroReport. The studies examined the effects of LAX-101 (and an LAX-101 prototype), a potential treatment for Huntington’s disease (HD). The first article details a six-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of seven patients with advanced HD (three received LAX-101 and four received placebo). Result show a mean 34 percent improvement for the patients receiving LAX-101 vs. a mean 23 percent decline for the patients receiving placebo. A second randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study provides further support for the potential of LAX-101 in the treatment of HD.
Aphton Corp., of Miami, completed patient recruitment for its clinical trial for patients with metastatic gastric cancer, with a combination, concomitant immuno-chemo therapy regimen of Aphton’s anti-G17 immunogen (G17DT) and 5-FU plus cisplatin. Aphton’s anti-gastrin drug induces antibodies in patients that neutralize both gastrin 17 and gly-gastrin, believed to be central growth factors for cell growth, proliferation and metastasis.
Astex Technology Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, a structure-based drug discovery company that uses high-throughput X-ray crystallography technology, is building a 36,000-sqare-foot facility at Cambridge Science Park. Plans for the facility include purpose-built laboratories, offices and computational facilities. The initial structure will house up to 150 scientists, and can be extended to cover an additional 30,000 square feet.
Aton Pharma Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., named Nicholas Bacopoulos its CEO and president, effective Feb. 1. He joins Aton from OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., where he held the positions of president and head of research and development since September 2000. Aton Pharma is a privately held drug discovery and development company looking to create therapies for cancer and other diseases.
Atugen AG, of Berlin, signed an agreement with the University of California at San Francisco to use atugen’s technology to validate the function of genetic targets. Atugen USA Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of atugen AG, will develop GeneBlocs to evaluate in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells genetic targets associated with epithelial membrane regulation. Atugen will supply specific GeneBlocs and delivery lipids to knock down the expression of these targets, in order to evaluate their function. Atugen will get the first option to commercialize resultant technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Cell Pathways Inc., of Horsham, Pa., signed a 10-year agreement with Sinclair Pharma Ltd., of Godalming, UK, to become the exclusive distributor of Gelclair concentrated oral gel in North America. The company will promote Gelclair initially in the oncology market for use in inflammation and ulceration of the mouth caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Cell Pathways will make an initial payment and commitments to purchase inventory from Sinclair in calendar year 2002, totaling $5 million.
Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, and Innogenetics NV, of Ghent, Belgium, entered a nonexclusive license agreement for the manufacture of monoclonal antibody products on Crucell’s human cell line, PER.C6. Innogenetics will use the PER.C6 platform to develop monoclonal antibodies in the context of its therapeutic programs, and will be able to manufacture and market the emerging therapeutic products. Crucell will receive up-front and annual payments, as well as royalties on net sales of marketed products. No further financial details were disclosed.
Cytos Biotechnology AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, completed its third financing round by way of private placement, raising gross proceeds of $27 million through the issuance of 5,087 new shares, bringing the company’s total amount of funds raised to $64 million. HBM BioVentures acted as lead investor in this financing round. Existing venture capitalist investors contributed approximately 30 percent to the round. Other new investors included Equity4Life, LCF E. de Rothschild and Adamant Biomedical Investments, as well as Bank Julius Baer and the Cantonal Bank of Zurich.
EpiGenesis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., released positive results from a trial of EPI-2010 in patients with asthma, conducted at Hammersmith Medicines Research in London. The company said a single dose of EPI-2010 substantially reduced the need of the 14 patients in the study to use their bronchodilator medicine to control asthma symptoms, a statistically significant finding that lasted for a week. EPI-2010 is the first of a new class of respiratory drugs called Respirable Antisense Oligonucleotides, which apply antisense technology to the lung, offering the potential for medicines for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allergy.
Eurand International SpA, of Milan, Italy, completed an asset purchase of Polytech s.c.r.l., of Trieste, Italy, an early stage drug delivery company specializing in polymer-based therapeutics. The acquisition of Polytech’s polymer synthesis and drug conjugation technologies provides Eurand with enabling technologies for targeting, injectable and depot delivery. The technology uses biocompatible carbohydrate carriers, such as oligo and polysaccharides, as delivery vehicles for active compounds.
Galapagos Genomics NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, entered a research collaboration with Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, to use Galapagos’ adenoviral technology to analyze the function of novel genes in cell-based assays. Galapagos will construct recombinant adenoviruses harboring genes selected by Exelixis. Exelixis will use the adenoviruses to introduce the genes in various cell types to evaluate the function of the proteins encoded by the genes within targeted, disease-relevant biological pathways. Financial terms were not disclosed.
GeneticXchange, of Menlo Park, Calif., said the Genome Institute of Singapore chose the K1 Data Integration Middleware Platform System as the core support infrastructure for its biological data integration needs. GeneticXchange is a software company the produces the K1 system for biotechnology companies needing solutions to biological data integration problems.
Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, is expanding its physical presence with news of two construction projects. The company purchased 100,000 square meters of land in Hillerod, Denmark, on which to build a manufacturing facility. Genmab also said it will expand its laboratories in Utrecht, doubling them in size. The company develops fully human antibodies for the treatment of life-threatening and debilitating diseases.
Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., submitted an investigational new drug application to the FDA for LymphoRad 131, a radioiodinated form of B Lymphocyte Stimulator (BlyS). Preclinical studies show that LymphoRad (131) binds to receptors found only on B cells and B-cell tumors, delivering low doses of radiation that cause cell death. Such studies in multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas also showed that treatment with LymphoRad (131) resulted in inhibition of tumor growth and prolonged survival.
Immune Network Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said Wednesday was its last trading day on the Canadian Venture Exchange (CDNX). The company’s common shares will trade now only as IMMKF on the OTC BB regardless of whether the shares were purchased through the CDNX or the OTCBB. Immune Network stock that was previously traded as IMM now may be traded as IMMKF in U.S. dollars. For over a year, the company has been funding a major clinical trial of an existing drug for its use as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Interleukin Genetics Inc., of Waltham, Mass., is expanding its inflammation research program to include the discovery of novel and proprietary SNPs of the TNF-alpha gene with Genome Therapeutics Corp., also of Waltham, to provide the high-density SNP identification of the gene. Genome Therapeutics will use its GenomeVision Services business, which provides commercial services for genomics-based research. The contract includes SNP discovery and annotation to the highest level of completion using 25 different individual human genomes. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Lilly ICOS LLC, of Indianapolis, said the UK Court of Appeal in London upheld a lower court’s ruling that found the entire Pfizer Inc. method of use patent for PDE inhibitors to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) was invalid. This decision follows a December 2001 hearing in which Pfizer attempted to reinstate its method-of-use patent that was struck down by the High Court of Justice in London on Nov. 8, 2000. The decision made clear that Pfizer is not entitled to exclusivity in the field of ED in the UK, but leaves unaffected Pfizer’s compound patent for sildenafil. Lilly ICOS, a joint venture between ICOS Corp., of Bothell, Wash., and Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, is investigating Cialis (tadalafil) for the treatment of sexual dysfunction. Requests for marketing approval of Cialis currently are under review by U.S. and European regulatory agencies.
Nabi Inc., of Boca Raton, Fla., signed its first international distribution agreement for Nabi-HB (hepatitis B immune globulin) with Cankat Ilac Sanayi ve Ticaret Lt., of Ankara, Turkey. Cankat will import Nabi-HB and will coordinate the regulatory approval process for registration of the product with the Turkish Ministry of Health. Once approved, Cankat will sell and distribute Nabi-HB in the Turkish market.
Nautilus Biotech, of Evry, France, and Microbix Biosystems Inc., of Toronto, signed a distribution agreement for academic applications of NautCell, a cell line for recombinant adeno-associated vectors. Financial terms were not disclosed.
OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Melville, N.Y., reorganized its senior research and development management team following the recent acquisition of the oncology assets of Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif. With the acquisition, OSI added an oncology and drug development group consisting of 140 scientists and business professionals based in Boulder, Colo., to its existing research and development staff located in Uniondale, N.Y., and Oxford, UK, strengthening the company’s focus in oncology.
Quatrx Pharmaceuticals Co., of Ann Arbor, Mich., was formed by a team of drug development executives formerly with Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert Co. Quatrx acquired exclusive worldwide development and marketing rights to the topical use of vitamin D analogues from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation at the University of Wisconsin and Deltanoid Inc., both of Madison, Wis. Quatrx also acquired exclusive worldwide rights to an intranasal delivery technology from Temple University in Philadelphia. Quatrx’s vitamin D analogue technology platform will be developed for a variety of indications, the first being the topical treatment of psoriasis. Quatrx raised a total of $10 million from Frazier & Co. and TL Ventures, the principal investors and co-founders of Quatrx.
Synsorb Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, entered into an agreement with Canaccord Capital Corp. as underwriters to sell more than 1.5 million common shares of Oncolytics Biotech Inc., also of Calgary, at C$3.75 per share for gross proceeds of C$5.7 million (US$3.6 million). Synsorb recently trimmed its staff by nearly 50 percent after halting development of its lead product, Synsorb-Cd, for recurrent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 12, 2001.)
Transgene SA, of Strasbourg, France, began two Phase II trials of its immunotherapeutic MVA-Muc1-IL2 vaccine candidate, one for the treatment of lung cancer, which will include up to 66 patients, and the second for the treatment of breast cancer, with up to 50 patients. The trials will be conducted in several centers in Switzerland, France and Belgium. MVA-Muc1-IL2 uses a highly attenuated MVA vaccinia virus vector to express the Muc1 tumor-associated antigen found in most adenocarcinoma and the cytokine interleukin-2 to stimulate specific T-cell responses.
V.I. Technologies Inc., of Watertown, Mass., earned a $2 million contingent payment from Precision Pharma Services Inc. In August 2001, Vitex divested the plasma manufacturing operations in Melville, N.Y., to Precision and received $25 million in cash plus other considerations. Vitex was eligible to receive an additional $2 million subject to Precision’s performance against certain financial milestones. These milestones were achieved in the fourth quarter of 2001, thereby triggering the $2 million payment. Vitex is scheduled to receive up to an additional $3 million in payments in 2003.
X-MINE Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., introduced the Opus biological knowledge discovery application online for extracting known and hidden, literature-based biological relationships between human genes. Opus, an application for text mining developed at X-MINE, is accessible at www.x-mine.com.