¿ Advanced Tissue Sciences Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., presented new research demonstrating that its tissue-engineered epicardial patch, Anginera, improved overall function in damaged heart tissue in mice while exhibiting no negative effects on the function of normal heart tissue. The research was presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
¿ AxCell Biosciences, a subsidiary of Princeton, N.J.-based Cytogen Corp., signed a term sheet with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine to research protein interactions in the WW protein domain family, which are involved in signal transduction. Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed. The principal goals of the program will be to research the binding of ligands to the WW domain of dystrophin, utrophin, beta-dystroglycan, FE65 and FE65-like proteins, which could accelerate drug discovery for muscular dystrophy and certain neurodegenerative diseases. The collaboration will use data from AxCell¿s ProChart database, which includes the first and only complete map of the known WW protein domain family.
¿ Biolex Inc., of Pittsboro, N.C., said it completed a new 14,800-square-foot laboratory facility at its company headquarters. Biolex has plant-based recombinant protein development and manufacturing technology. The new space will allow the company to maximize the research, scale-up, purification and manufacturing of recombinant proteins using its Lemna System technology, which has been used to manufacture nine proteins.
¿ Cellomics Inc., of Pittsburgh, signed an agreement to supply its ArrayScan HCS (high-content screening) technology to the research unit of Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, the pharmaceutical division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J. The ArrayScan technology performs automated acquisition, analysis and presentation of information on multiple spatial and temporal events in individual cells.
¿ Cytochroma Inc., of Kingston, Ontario, said it discovered the enzymatic function, including substrate and metabolic products, of human cytochrome P450TEC (thymus expressed cytochrome) and uncovered its potential role in thymus function. The enzyme was discovered using Cytochroma¿s internal bioinformatics capabilities and has served as the first application of Cytochroma¿s Lipidomics technology to discover the function of orphan cytochrome P450s. Cytochroma demonstrated the P450TEC specifically metabolizes arachidonic acid, but not related compounds. Arachidonic acid metabolites are signaling modulators of many physiological processes. P450TEC modulation may have applications in immune system diseases.
¿ Exten Industries Inc., of San Diego, said its wholly owned subsidiary, MultiCell Technologies Inc., of Warwick, R.I., signed a collaborative research agreement with Pfizer Inc., of New York. The agreement involves validation of MultiCell¿s immortalized liver cells to predict, among other things, the toxicological and therapeutic properties of drug candidates. Specific terms were not disclosed.
¿ GeneLink Inc., of Margate, N.J., awarded a commercial single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping service agreement to Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J. Orchid will perform high-throughput SNP genotyping of samples provided by GeneLink. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.
¿ Genetronics Biomedical Corp., of San Diego, entered into an agreement for the sale of 5.2 million special warrants at 45 cents each for gross proceeds of about $2.3 million. Each warrant entitles the holder to acquire one common share of Genetronics and one-half of a non-transferable warrant on the exercise or deemed exercise of the special warrant. Each full warrant entitles the holder to purchase one common share at 75 cents within 18 months of closing. If Genetronics fails to qualify the resale of the securities within 90 days of closing, 20 percent of the purchase price will be refunded to the purchasers.
¿ Hybridon Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it received early payment of each of the first three tranches of stock of Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif. Each of the tranches is worth $5 million and stems from Hybridon¿s cross-licensing agreement with Isis involving antisense chemistry and delivery patents. The three payments were originally scheduled to be made this month, May 2002 and November 2002. (See BioWorld Today, May 29, 2001.)
¿ ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, entered a collaboration with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command to develop a nasal vaccine against the plague, a potential bioterrorism threat. The collaboration will focus on developing a vaccine to prevent plague pneumonia, the most highly infectious and most lethal form of the disease resulting from inhalation of plague organisms.
¿ Lynx Therapeutics Inc., of Hayward, Calif., entered a collaboration with the University of California at Davis to study gene expression in the model plant, Arabidopsis. This two-year, $1 million study is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. These experiments will exploit the power of signature sequencing in plants for gene discovery and expression analysis and will constitute the first genome-wide expression data set for plants, Lynx said. Through the grant, Lynx will receive payments for the analyses of the Arabidopsis samples provided by the university.
¿ Nabi Inc., of Boca Raton, Fla., completed preclinical safety studies of NicVAX, an experimental vaccine against nicotine. NicVAX is being evaluated as an approach for the treatment and prevention of nicotine addiction associated with tobacco use. NicVAX was administered to animals in single or multiple doses. At vaccine dosing levels of up to 350 times the relative intended dose, NicVAX showed no toxicological effects, even when nicotine was administered to the animals after vaccination. Nabi plans to begin clinical trials in the first half of 2002 and will receive funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for the trials.
¿ NeuroSearch A/S, of Ballerup, Denmark, spun off a new biopharmaceutical company, Poseidon Pharmaceuticals, based on a number of NeuroSearch programs involving mechanisms for the treatment of disease related to the lungs, allergy and immune system. The company has identified compounds that act as modulators of various ion channels. Poseidon will take over four research programs from NeuroSearch: patent families, licenses for other patents for products within Poseidon¿s therapeutic target area, research results and collaborative agreements with external partners. Poseidon will be based at NeuroSearch¿s offices in Ballerup.
¿ Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., was awarded $1.2 million from the National Institutes of Health for the development of inhibitors of HIV entry and infection. The awards consist of two $600,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grants. The first grant supports an ongoing collaboration between Progenics and Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., to develop orally available small-molecule inhibitors of the HIV envelope glycoprotein gp41, which mediates fusion and entry of HIV into immune system cells. The second grant supports lead optimization of a class of anti-HIV compounds known as sulfated CCR5 peptides.
¿ Quorex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., said it will relocate to larger corporate headquarters in Carlsbad this month to accommodate expanded research and development facilities. It also said Daniel Petree, partner and co-founder of P2 Partners LLC, joined the company¿s board of directors.
¿ Supratek Pharma Inc., of Montreal, said enrollment is under way for a Phase II trial of its lead oncology product, SP1049C, for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. SP1049C is a new drug with a mechanism of action that the company said provides efficacy against drug-resistant tumors. It is based on the cancer drug doxorubicin and the company¿s Biotransport carrier technology.
¿ ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, launched PhenoSense GT, the first HIV drug resistance test to provide doctors with a single report on a patient¿s drug resistance profile using phenotypic test results supplemented by genotypic information.