¿ Angle Technology, of Guildford, UK, was chosen by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority in Northern Virginia to design and run the region¿s first bioinformatics incubator. The incubator, which is due to open in 2002, will house up to 10 bioinformatics companies. Angle will run the center, select companies and design development programs.
¿ Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc, of Melbourn, UK, now has six products in the clinic, following the announcement that partner Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., commenced clinical trials of LymphoStat-B (formerly Anti-BlyS) in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. LymphoStat-B, claimed to be the first antibody to a genomics-derived target to enter the clinic, was discovered and optimized as part of the CAT/HGS alliance agreement in 1999. The trial will be a multicenter, dose-escalation study in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, and HGS said the drug might also be tested in other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
¿ CeNeS Pharmaceuticals plc, of Cambridge, UK, said it is terminating the development and license agreement with Bioglan Pharma plc for the development of a sublingual opiate spray product for the treatment of pain, as a result of Bioglan¿s failure to comply with its obligations. CeNeS is seeking compensation from Bioglan for the losses it has suffered. Chairman Alan Goodman said, ¿It is unfortunate that this situation has arisen, however, in the interest of both CeNeS and its shareholders, we feel it is appropriate to take this action.¿ Bioglan said it does not accept the allegations and will defend the move. The two made the agreement 18 months ago, and Bioglan said CeNeS has not objected to the proposed development plan at any of nine joint meetings, and had not invoked the agreed dispute procedure.
¿ DrugAbuse Sciences Inc., of Paris and Los Altos, Calif., said it was issued a U.S. patent for the extended-release injectable technology developed for the delivery of the substance abuse drug naltrexone. Known as LACTiz, the delivery system is used to administer a long-acting formulation of naltrexone by once-a-month intramuscular injection, rather than the daily regimen required for current pill formulations.
¿ IsoTis BV, of Bilthoven, the Netherlands, launched its first product, CellActive Skin, an autologous epidermal skin for the treatment of severe burns. CellActive initially will be available at 12 hospitals in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The hospitals will take a biopsy, which will be sent by courier to IsoTis¿ tissue engineering facility in Bilthoven, where in two to four weeks the company says it can culture sufficient skin grafts to treat patients with up to 80 percent burns. IsoTis, founded in 1996, sees this launch as the first step to becoming the leading supplier of autologous cultured skin grafts in Europe.
¿ LION bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, appointed Reinhard Schneider chief information officer. His responsibility includes development and advancement of LION¿s knowledge management and information technology solutions. Schneider co-founded LION and has been with the company since March 1997.
¿ Merlin Biosciences, of London, entered a strategic collaboration with the German investment group BioConnect AG, based in Frankfurt, extending Merlin¿s reach into continental Europe. Merlin, a venture capital company, has taken a significant, but undisclosed, stake in BioConnect, and Mark Clement, Merlin¿s managing director, will be appointed chairman of the German company.
¿ Oxxon Pharmaccines, of Oxford, UK, said its hepatitis B vaccine entered Phase I trials. This is the company¿s second product in the clinic, joining a melanoma vaccine, which began Phase I in February. Oxxon¿s vaccines involve sequential immunization with two different vectors carrying the gene for the same antigen, priming the immune system with the first and boosting the immune response with the other. The HBV trial will assess safety and immunogenicity of both components, alone and in combination, in 24 volunteers.
¿ ReGen Therapeutics plc, of London, said it acquired full ownership of Colostrinin, a treatment for Alzheimer¿s disease, from its inventors at the Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute in Poland for US$160,000. ReGen gained partial rights in 1997 when it took over the clinical development of the drug, which is now close to completing Phase III. The company said outright ownership would strengthen its position in negotiations with potential licensees.
¿ Starpharma Pooled Development Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, announced results from animal tests showing positive activity against influenza for a compound it is developing. The compound, one of the dendrimer compounds in which the company specializes, was tested on mice by the Institute for Antiviral Research at Utah State University.
¿ Xenova Group plc, of Slough, UK, said it expected the anticancer agent XR11576 to enter Phase I/II trials before the end of 2001, when it released preclinical data on this and a related compound, XR5944, at an American Association of Cancer Research conference in Miami Beach, Fla., last week. The two topoisomerase inhibitors demonstrated a more than 20-fold enhancement of potency relative to XR5000, Xenova¿s first-generation topoisomerase inhibitor, which failed in Phase II. Topoisomerases are enzymes involved in the replication of DNA during the process of cell division.