¿ Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, presented data at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego on one of its chemical leads, AC 90222, which offers the potential to treat all symptoms of schizophrenia including cognitive deficits. AC 90222 is a prototypical muscaniric m1 agonist/D2 antagonist that displays a preclinical spectrum of in vivo behavioral effects indicative of antipsychotic activity. It blocks apomorphine suppression of prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response and reduces spontaneous and drug-induced locomotor activity, but does not induce catalepsy nor does it disrupt cognitive performance when administered alone, the company said.
¿ Accelrys Inc., a subsidiary of Princeton, N.J.-based Pharmacopeia Inc., said Pfizer Inc., of New York, joined Accelrys¿ High Throughput Crystallography Consortium. The consortium is an international research project that develops new software for protein/drug structure determination. The addition represents the first international multisite agreement between Accelrys and Pfizer.
¿ AlphaGene Inc., of Woburn, Mass., entered an agreement with Celera Genomics, of Rockville, Md., to allow Celera to distribute AlphaGene¿s collection of human full-length genes. Celera will be responsible for marketing these services through its Celera Discovery System subscription database. AlphaGene will be responsible for isolating known clones found in public databases through their AlphaGene Clone Database. Celera will map the clone sequences to its assembled human genome database. AlphaGene will fully sequence and manufacture the clones, as well as fulfill all orders generated by the Celera marketing effort.
¿ Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, and Jerini AG, of Berlin, entered into a product development and licensing agreement for the compound Icatibant (HOE 140). The agreement provides Jerini with an exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing license to develop Icatibant in human health treatment. Jerini intends to develop and commercialize products for treatment of decompensated liver cirrhosis/hepato-renal syndrome. Icabitant is a synthetic decapeptide with a similar structure to bradykinin, but containing five non-proteinogenic amino acids. Separately, Jerini said it raised EUR20 million (US$17.6 million) in a Series B round of financing. It was jointly led by TVM Techno Venture Management, of Munich, Germany; 3i, of London; and PolyTechnos Funds, of Munich.
¿ Genencor International Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it continues to make progress in its immunology platform, which includes the i-mune mouse and the i-mune assay. Genencor has engrafted successfully human stem cells in its transgenic i-mune mouse lines. Genencor also has generated experimental data demonstrating that its i-mune assay, or epitope mapping system, can be used to identify potential protein allergens in agricultural food products.
¿ GenVec Inc., of Gaitherburg, Md., released final results from its Phase I study with BioBypass in patients with peripheral vascular disease, the progressive narrowing of blood vessels in the legs estimated to affect more than 10 million Americans. The 33-patient, open-labeled, dose-escalating trial, primarily a safety study, demonstrated that BioBypass, given by 20 intramuscular injections in and around the area in need of new blood vessels, was well tolerated, with injection site swelling being the only consistently recorded drug-related side effect.
¿ ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, filed a clinical trial application with the Biologic and Genetic Therapeutics Directorate of Health Canada to conduct a Phase I trial of FluINsure, the company¿s intranasally delivered vaccine for the prevention of influenza. The trial will focus on the safety and immunogenicity of a trivalent version of the vaccine in about 80 healthy adult volunteers. Results from two previous human studies testing a monovalent formulation showed the vaccine to be well tolerated.
¿ Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., privately placed a $2 million convertible note and warrant with Kevin Kimberlin Partners LP, which is controlled by Kevin Kimberlin, a director and major stockholder of Immune. Upon the achievement of certain commercial and technical milestones, the company may sell and the investor may buy additional notes and warrants, subject to certain conditions. The note, secured by certain company intellectual property, matures Nov. 9, 2004, but is convertible into shares of common stock at any time, at the option of the investor, at a discounted conversion price. The warrant, for 1,733,703 shares, is exercisable at $1.44 per share.
¿ Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, reported publication of a manuscript in the cancer journal Oncogene, describing bioinformatic and functional analyses of the mda-7 gene. Preclinical studies, related to INGN 241, Introgen¿s mda-7 drug, demonstrated that mda-7 is a multifunctional gene, with properties similar to a cytokine, and induces the death of a variety of cancer cells. INGN 241 is a modified adenoviral vector that carries the cancer cell-killing gene. Previous studies indicated that adenoviral-mda-7 treatment resulted in targeted destruction of breast, lung and colon cancer cells, while sparing normal cells.
¿ Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, of New York, granted $15 million to fund research on Type I diabetes at the JDRF-W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Center for Islet Transplantation and the JDRF Center for Gene Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The JDRF-W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Center will receive $8.1 million to study restoring normal insulin production in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes. The JDRF Center for Gene Therapy will receive $7.57 million to conduct five projects focusing on gene transfer technology and gene therapy for complications of diabetes.
¿ LifeSpan BioSciences Inc., of Seattle, added a seventh subscriber to its G protein-coupled receptor database. Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, the pharmaceutical division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., licensed the database, which gives subscribers access to information on major non-olfactory GPCRs for use in identifying and validating new targets for drug discovery. Wyeth researchers will be able to view all GPCR-related information from a single, integrated bioinformatics platform and engage in proprietary GPCR expression studies with LifeSpan. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Maxygen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., delivered two agriculture product candidates to Syngenta AG, of Basel, Switzerland, for advancement into development. Maxygen established its five-year collaboration with Syngenta in August 1999 to create a portfolio of products with trait improvements for pest and disease control, as well as other traits for quality, nutrition and productivity benefits.
¿ Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J., and m-phasys GmbH, of T|bingen, Germany, entered a collaboration for the development and commercialization of fully human antibody therapeutics to G protein-coupled receptors. The companies will employ m-phasys¿ M-Fold refolding technology to produce functional GPCRs. Medarex plans to generate fully human antibodies to these GPCRs using its UltiMAb Human Antibody Development System. The companies plan to jointly develop any antibody therapeutics generated from the alliance and to share costs and commercialization rights to these products.
¿ NeoTherapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said data presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego showed that Neutrofin selectively increases levels of the enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in neurons in selected areas of the brain involved in memory. The study examined the up-regulation of HO-1 in rats 24 hours after a single dose of Neotrofin. Separately, the company presented data showing that NEO-339 improves attention deficits as well as learning and memory in aged and young animals. The company selected NEO-339 as its third internally discovered drug development candidate.
¿ Neurochem Inc., of Saint-Laurent, Quebec, presented data regarding the early onset of inflammation as related to the amyloid deposition process in a transgenic mouse model for Alzheimer¿s disease, at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. The data suggest that amyloid plays a major role in the neurotoxicity that results from deposition and also acts as a trigger for Alzheimer¿s disease inflammation. The data are based on a transgenic animal model harboring a mutant form of the human amyloid precursor protein developed by the University of Toronto and used by Neurochem.
¿ Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, said it plans to file a universal shelf registration statement that would allow it to offer and sell up to $200 million of common stock, preferred stock and debt securities.
¿ NexMed Inc., of Robbinsville, N.J., initiated two pivotal Phase III trials on Alprox-TD, its cream under development for treating erectile dysfunction. The Phase III program will enroll up to 2,500 men with mild, moderate and severe erectile dysfunction at about 80 clinical sites throughout the U.S. The two pivotal trials are randomized, double blind, placebo controlled and designed to confirm the efficacy and safety of Alprox-TD in individuals with varying degrees of dysfunction.
¿ Ortec International Inc., of New York, reported interim 12-week data from its pilot diabetic ulcer trial with OrCel, a collagen sponge seeded with allogeneic epidermal and dermal cells. The results showed the following: greater than 100 improvement over standard care for diabetic ulcers the size of 6 sq. cm or less; daily rate of healing twice as fast for OrCel-treated patients when compared to standard care; 75 percent improvement over standard of care in the overall population of patients in the trial, i.e., 35 percent of OrCel treated ulcers healed vs. 20 percent with standard care; and daily rate of healing significantly faster with OrCel. The study was conducted at eight centers and included 40 patients.
¿ Panacea Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Rockville, Md., reported data on its Alzheimer¿s drug development program, at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. In the study, olfactory epithelium was examined both in situ and in culture to see if neurons exhibiting pathological oxidative balance, as in Alzheimer¿s disease (AD), could be directly studied. In biopsy tissue, neurons and other cells show AD-related increases in lipid peroxidation/glycoxidation markers. When examined in culture, olfactory neurons maintained an AD-dependent phenotypic difference in the same oxidative markers.
¿ Prima Biomed, of Melbourne, Australia, acquired a new platform technology from Melbourne¿s Austin Research Institute. The platform has the potential to immunize people against a range of infectious diseases, including malaria, and treat people for certain cancers. The technology, called DCtag, has shown promising immune responses in animal tests. In a one-dose vaccination against malaria, mice were protected against a lethal malaria infection and high antibody levels have continued to persist for four months.
¿ SemBioSys Genetics Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, said it will receive a C$5.5 million (US$3.4 million) repayable contribution from Technology Partnerships Canada. The funding will be used to further develop the company¿s plant protein production systems for use of the production of pharmaceutical and other products. SemBioSys is using a variety of genetic engineering technologies to express proteins in the seeds of safflower.
¿ SuperGen Inc., of Dublin, Calif., said data from a Phase I/II trial of its anticancer drug pentostatin (Nipent) in combination with cyclophosphamide showed a 73 percent (16/22) response rate in treating patients suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Twenty-two patients diagnosed with CLL were enrolled and treated with a fixed dose of Nipent and one of two doses of cyclophosphamide. Of 20 evaluable patients, there were 16 responses, including four complete responses. In the fludarabine-refractory group, the response rate was similar at 75 percent. The data were presented at the 19th annual symposium on Innovative Cancer Therapy for Tomorrow in New York.
¿ Synt:em, of Paris, entered into an agreement with IBM Corp., of Armonk, N.Y., in the field of virtual ultra-high-throughput screening. Synt:em will combine the IBM xSeries supercomputer cluster with its own computational predictive platform for rational drug design, Acti:map, to accelerate and optimize drug discovery. Initially, IBM will install 76 computing systems that are 15 times faster than Synt:em¿s current computing power. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Vical Inc., of San Diego, and the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center said they completed an initial Phase II trial, which was the first to establish in healthy human volunteers the safety and immunogenicity of a complex, multigene vaccine with or without an additional gene encoding a human cytokine for the prevention of malaria. The vaccine, designated MuStDO 5, incorporates five genes that are designated to cause production of Pf immunogens and trigger an immune response against the malaria parasite in the sporozoite and liver stages of its life cycle.
¿ X-Mine Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with BioCardia Inc., of South San Francisco, for X-Mine¿s data mining and knowledge discovery platform, X-Miner. Terms involve early access to X-Mine¿s molecular pattern recognition and computational systems. The X-Miner provides molecular pattern recognition applications focused on discovery for gene expression and proteomic data.