¿ 4SC AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said it identified novel lead compounds for the treatment of diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, caused by bacterial biofilms. The potential drugs block the Quorum sensing, the communication between cells in a bacterial biofilm. 4SC expects biofilms with an interrupted intercellular communication to be more susceptible for antibiotic treatment, 4SC spokesman Boris Kreusel said. In addition, the compounds might be applied in industrial fields, such as antifouling coatings, coatings of medical devices and disinfectant agents, Kreusel said. The company is seeking partners to further develop the compounds, he added.
¿ Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, UK, said it successfully completed a Phase I trial of its lipase inhibitor ATL 962, and will now seek approval for a Phase II trial in clinically obese patients. The aim will be to examine the effect of ATL 962 on weight loss. The Phase I program, involving 140 healthy volunteers, has provided proof of efficacy, as indicated by increased fecal fat levels, and has shown evidence of dose dependency.
¿ Antisoma plc, of London, said it received notification of the granting of a U.S. patent for Therex, currently in Phase I trials for the treatment of breast cancer. Therex is a humanized antibody that recognizes MUC1, a cytokine-like receptor that is highly expressed by most solid tumors. In a Phase I trial involving 18 patients, it was well tolerated at all doses.
¿ A-Viral AS, of Oslo, Norway, said it closed NOK15 million (US$1.7 million) in a directed offering, which will enable it to continue funding research at the Dutch research organization CLB, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. A-Viral, which is structured as a virtual company, also will extend treatment of AIDS patients in the Philippines with its AV-1101 drug, which is in small-scale Phase II studies.
¿ BioTissue Technologies, of Freiburg, Germany, launched BioSeed C, a 3-dimensional cartilage substitute grown from patients¿ own (autologous) cells. The first patients have been treated with BioSeed C. The company plans to drive the product into open drug monitoring. Thus BioTissue expects to gather experience and data needed for design of clinical trials to follow, BioTissue spokesman Martin Braendle said. Clinical trials are necessary to gain approval for reimbursement by the German statutory health insurance funds. These funds cover most of the medical costs of 90 percent of the German population.
¿ CeNeS Pharmaceuticals announced the next stage of its restructuring, saying it has assigned its head office lease in Cambridge, UK, to another biotech company, De Novo Pharmaceuticals Ltd. De Novo recently raised #16.75 million in a private round and CEO David Bailey said the move would allow the company to bring its biology and chemistry facilities together on a single site. CeNeS will remain at the site, subleasing space from De Novo.
¿ KS Biomedix plc, of London, said the FDA granted orphan drug status to TransMID-107 for the treatment of recurrent, inoperable gliomas. TransMID, which uses diphtheria toxin to selectively kill cancer cells, was brought into KS Biomedix¿s portfolio when it acquired a Canadian company, Avicenna, in July. Phase III trials in glioma are planned for 2002.
¿ Oxford GlycoSciences, of Abingdon, UK, announced the extension of its research agreement with Pfizer Inc., of New York, under which OGS is applying its proteomics technology to the discovery of biomarkers in Alzheimer¿s disease, atherosclerosis and other undisclosed indications. Under the terms of the 1998 agreement, which was renewed in 2000, Pfizer will continue to provide research funding and OGS has the right to commercialize any diagnostic products arising from the work.
¿ Pharmexa A/S, of Horsholm, Denmark, said its 83.3 percent subsidiary, Inoxell A/S, achieved the first milestone in its collaboration with AstraZeneca plc, of London, which is evaluating Inoxell¿s patented target validation and screening technology, CellScreen. The collaboration will yield approximately DKK6 million (US$728,000) in fees this year and an anticipated DKK5 million in 2002. Inoxell now plans to double its work force over the next six months.
¿ PPL Therapeutics, of Edinburgh, Scotland, said founding CEO Ron James is to retire at the end of the year and will be replaced by Geoff Cook, currently business development director. James founded PPL in 1987, and saw the company go on to achieve great fame for breeding Dolly, the cloned sheep. PPL is yet to see any commercial return from its transgenic technology, but in September secured the #32 million it needs to build a manufacturing plant for its lead product, alpha-1-antitrypsin, which is partnered with Bayer AG. Cook joined PPL in December 2000 from Sanofi-Synthelabo. PPL also is losing its finance director, Richard Cruse, at the end of 2001.
¿ Provalis plc, of Deeside, UK, said it is to delist from the Australian Stock Exchange on June 14, 2002. The company, then known as Cortecs plc, listed in Australia in 1986, when most of its operations were based there. It obtained a secondary listing in London in 1994, which it converted to its primary listing in 1997. The company said it was delisting because its Australian operations have effectively ceased, and there have been prolonged low levels of trading volume.
¿ Synt:em, of Nimes, France, appointed Luc-Andri Granier as medical director, and as such he will be in charge of the company¿s internal drug development program in the field of central nervous system therapeutics. Granier previously spent six years at Eli Lilly & Co. as clinical research physician, responsible for accelerating the company¿s development of CNS drugs. He has run a large number of clinical research studies and led drug development programs for the treatment of various neurological disorders.