¿ Albany Molecular Research Inc., of Albany, N.Y., entered into a three-year agreement with Pfizer Inc., of New York. AMRI will provide chemistry research, development and analytical services in a number of therapeutic areas selected by Pfizer. The contract includes fee-for-service provisions as well as opportunities for AMRI to receive success fees for early or cost-saving completion of projects. Specific financial details were not disclosed. Since 1996, AMRI has provided chemistry support to Pfizer¿s discovery and process research efforts. The new contract continues this relationship through December 2004.
¿ Argenta Discovery Ltd., of Harlow, UK, signed a research agreement with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, to undertake a medicinal chemistry lead optimization program. Argenta will supply focused libraries and single compounds to GSK¿s drug discovery center based at the Stevenage Medicines Research Center in the UK.
¿ Astex Technology Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, received a further $8.1 million from its current investors, including Abingworth, Advent International, Alta Partners, GIMV and Oxford Bioscience Partners. These additional funds will enable the company to continue building its structure-based drug discovery technologies to identify novel small-molecule therapeutics. The new financing takes private funds raised this year to a total of $40.3 million, following an initial investment in May. The company also said it solved the first 3-dimensional crystal structure of a human cytochrome P450 enzyme. This discovery will enable drugs to be rationally designed to reduce metabolic and toxicity problems, it said.
¿ Boston Life Sciences Inc., of Boston, said its nerve regeneration product Inosine successfully restored fine motor function in rats following induction of a severe stroke involving the motor cortex. Preliminary results were presented at the recent meeting of the American Academy of Neurosurgery. BLSI is developing Inosine to treat stroke and other CNS disorders, and has supported ongoing basic research of Inosine and other CNS growth factors at Children¿s Hospital for a number of years. BLSI owns the exclusive license to commercialize Inosine for a variety of CNS indications including stroke.
¿ Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., reported further data from its multicenter Phase I/II GVAX lung cancer vaccine trial, which demonstrated a complete tumor response rate of 12 percent and a median response duration of greater than 11 months in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who have failed chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The data were presented at the International Conference of Gene Therapy of Cancer meeting in San Diego.
¿ CytoGenix Inc., of Houston, presented results of research using its single-stranded DNA expression system showing it achieved a 95 percent knockout of the target protein, PKC-Alpha. Results were presented at the International Conference of Gene Therapy of Cancer meeting in San Diego. PKC-Alpha is considered to be essential to the survival and proliferation of prostate and bladder cancer.
¿ GenStar Therapeutics Corp., of San Diego, released preclinical data describing the efficacy of its prostate cancer product, the DUAL-AD vector system. In these studies, GenStar¿s DUAL-AD vector system was shown to eradicate tumors through a combination of direct tumor destruction, radiation enhancement and the generation of antitumor immunity. The data were presented at the International Conference of Gene Therapy of Cancer meeting in San Diego.
¿ Gyros AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, raised approximately $30 million during second-round financing, an amount the company termed the largest biotech venture round ever in Sweden. The round was lead by 3i. Other new investors include the Swedish Industrial Development Fund, InnovationsKapital and H&B Capital. Existing investors, including Investor AB, through its wholly owned subsidiary Investor Growth Capital, the National Pension Insurance Fund (Sixth Fund Board), Karolinska Investment Fund, HealthCap and the Swedish Union of Clerical and Technical Employees in Industry, all increased earlier contributions.
¿ ImClone Systems Inc., of New York, will be added to the Nasdaq-100 Index effective at the market open Dec. 24. Also added was Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa. This index represents 100 of the largest nonfinancial companies listed on the national market tier of the Nasdaq market and reflects Nasdaq¿s largest companies across major industry groups.
¿ Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, reported additional safety data for its p53 gene drug candidate, INGN 201, Adenoviral-p53. Preclinical studies demonstrated the risk of insertion of the p53 DNA into the host cell genome is very low and furthermore is not increased when cells are exposed to conventional treatments used in cancer therapy. Also, preclinical studies demonstrated that INGN 251, its PTEN product candidate, inhibits the growth of melanoma cells, demonstrating the cancer cell-killing and antimetastatic properties of the drug candidate. These data were presented at the International Conference of Gene Therapy of Cancer meeting in San Diego. The company¿s stock (NASDAQ:INGN) gained $1.68 Monday, or 43 percent, to close at $5.59.
¿ Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., said its GeneTrove division initiated a target validation collaboration with Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif. Chiron gains access to Isis¿ applications of antisense technology as a tool for gene functionalization and target validation, and a license to specific patents within Isis¿ functional genomics suite of patents. With this property, Chiron can use the Ribonuclease H (RNase H) mechanism of action for its in-house antisense-based functional genomics program. RNase H is a common and potent mechanism of action employed by antisense when used as a functional genomics tool. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ National Institutes of Health, of Bethesda, Md., said its researchers developed mice that could secrete an experimental malaria vaccine in their milk. When the candidate vaccine was injected into monkeys, it protected four out of five from a lethal dose of the malaria parasite. Further experiments indicate the process can be scaled into larger animals such as goats, meaning livestock might provide inexpensive, high-yield malaria vaccines. The study was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online.
¿ Progen Industries Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, received funding of more than $1.5 million from the U.S.-based Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) to manufacture several vaccine candidates. Progen will receive over $1 million from MVI to work with Monash University to develop two vaccine candidate proteins known as MSP-4 and MSP-5 (merozoite surface proteins 4 and 5), which have shown promising results in preclinical tests. The second project, worth $581,000, is to develop another protein, RAP-2 (rhoptry associated protein 2), with The Cooperative Research Center for Vaccine Technology at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. Antibodies formed in response to RAP-2 are believed to inhibit the malaria parasite from invading red blood cells.
¿ RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Bethesda, Md., reported on recent collaborative studies with the National Institutes of Health that found that TB4 significantly accelerated healing in dermal wounds in aged and diabetic animals, in addition to previously reported data in young animals. The findings suggest a potential role for TB4 in repairing skin damaged by ultraviolet rays or even by the wear and tear of the aging process itself. One of its key mechanisms of action is TB4¿s ability to regulate the cell-building protein, actin. These data were presented at the International Congress on Anti-Aging and Biomedical Technologies in Las Vegas.
¿ Spectral Genomics Inc., of Houston, introduced a higher-resolution genomics chip for the human genome. It features an increased resolution capability of one megabase as compared to the current three-megabase resolution of the human genomics chip. Spectral said its arrays generate a genome-wide molecular profile and quantification of chromosomal imbalances on a single chip.
¿ Structural Bioinformatics Inc., of San Diego, and Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd., of Laval, Quebec, entered a research collaboration to use SBI¿s Variome database for Boehringer¿s in silico drug discovery of HIV protein targets. Variome is a structural pharmacogenomics database consisting of more than 100,000 variant, 3-D protein structures of X-ray crystallographic quality. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Synaptica Ltd., of Oxford, UK, completed funding of $5.1 million from existing investors. The company raised a total of close to $6 million this year. The latest funds will help the company accelerate its lead discovery program based on its target, Synaptica peptide, implicated in early stages of Alzheimer¿s, Parkinson¿s and motor neuron disease.
¿ Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the U.S. District Court of Delaware dismissed patent litigation brought against TKT by Genzyme Corp., also of Cambridge, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The suit, brought last year, claimed that TKT¿s activities relating to Replagal (agalsidase alfa) enzyme replacement therapy for the treatment of Fabry disease infringed one or more claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,356,804, exclusively licensed to Genzyme by Mount Sinai. The order came in response to a motion by Genzyme asking the court to clarify its recent ¿Markman¿ ruling construing the term ¿chromosomally integrated.¿ Based on this clarification, Genzyme will concede non-infringement in its patent lawsuit against TKT to expedite an appeal of the Markman ruling to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
¿ ViroPharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., and Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bridgewater, N.J., the U.S. pharmaceutical company of Aventis Pharma AG, said the ViroPharma sales force will join Aventis to promote products from the Allegra family and Nasacort AQ to primary care physicians throughout the U.S. beginning next month. In September, the companies signed an agreement to jointly develop and promote Picovir (pleconaril) in the U.S. ViroPharma will receive detailing fees from Aventis for calls promoting these two products from Aventis¿ respiratory franchise. If Picovir is approved, then the ViroPharma sales force will co-promote Picovir, as well as one of Aventis¿ products.
¿ XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, said its human lactoferrin peptide research program, originally initiated with Pharming Group NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, in November 2000, has been extended with AM-Pharma B, of Bilthoven, the Netherlands. Under the original agreement, XTL and Pharming were jointly evaluating and potentially co-developing recombinant human lactoferrin and its derivatives as potential treatments for hepatitis C virus infection. Earlier this year, AM-Pharma acquired the ownership of the peptide technology from Pharming. The new agreement with AM-Pharma grants XTL an option to take up an exclusive worldwide license to the lactoferrin peptide for the HCV indication, pending further studies in XTL¿s in vivo testing system.