¿ Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp., of San Diego, said data from a subset of patients enrolled in a Phase III cardiac surgery study demonstrated Oxygent¿s (perflubron emulsion) oxygenation benefits. The data were presented as the American Society of Anesthesiology meeting held last week. Nine patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass procedures were instrumented for gastric tonometry for GI data analysis in the study. The patients were a subset of the larger Phase III cardiac study that was suspended earlier this year due to an imbalance in certain adverse events, the company said.
¿ Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., dedicated its 285,000-square-foot research facility in the Cambridge-Boston area. Amgen¿s work in the building will focus on researching and discovering small-molecule drug candidates. The facility, known as its Cambridge Research Center, is located at One Kendall Square and will house a variety of research disciplines, including biology, chemistry and biophysics.
¿ Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, initiated a Phase II trial evaluating BLP25 vaccine in patients with prostate cancer. The primary endpoint of the trial is to reduce or stabilize prostate-specific antigen values in patients with rising PSA post-radical prostatectomy. The trial is expected to enroll about 20 patients. BLP25 is designed to induce an immune response to cancer cells expressing MUC1.
¿ Endovasc Ltd., of Montgomery, Texas, said negotiations have stopped for its acquisition of Intermed 2000 Inc., of Ra¿anana, Israel, a women¿s health life science company. The transaction was subject to a number of conditions, including satisfaction of respective due diligence.
¿ Ergo Science Corp., of Boston, said its stockholders voted to approve the merger of Ergo Science with its wholly owned subsidiary, ESC Merger Sub Inc. The merger was completed Friday and the merged company will be called Ergo Science Corp. The new company will be listed on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol ERGG. However, the symbol will change back to ERGO on or about Nov. 5.
¿ France Biotech, the French biotechnology industry association, said the French government adopted France Biotech¿s recommendations in its draft finance bill for 2002. The proposals are aimed at facilitating the creation of biotechnology start-ups and accelerating the growth of existing companies. The proposals are expected to become law in time for implementation next year, under the normal course of events. The proposal will result in about EUR500 million (US$449 million) of direct investments and long-term loans allocated mainly to the French biotechnology industry next year.
¿ Invitrogen Corp., of San Diego, received a nonexclusive sublicense from Gryphon Sciences, of South San Francisco, for Native Chemical Ligation patents for the synthesis of proteins using chemical means. Invitrogen plans to use the patents to develop products to facilitate molecular biology research in proteomics. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Labopharm Inc., of Laval, Quebec, entered an agreement to sell 4 million shares at C$6.75 per share, raising about C$27 million (US$17 million), subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions, to a group of underwriters led by Research Capital Corp. and including CIBC World Markets Corp., National Bank Financial Inc. and TC Securities Inc. Also, the underwriters have an option to purchase 1.2 million shares at the issue price for aggregate gross proceeds of up to C$35 million. The underwriters have the option until 48 hours before the close, expected to be Nov. 8. Underwriters also have an overallotment option to purchase up to an additional 15 percent of the issue size, until 30 days following the closing.
¿ Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and New York Weill Cornell Medical Center, of New York, reported interim findings of two ongoing Phase I clinical trials of radiolabeled J591 in patients with advanced prostate cancer. The humanized monoclonal antibody-based therapeutic delivered radiation directly to prostate cancers and demonstrated antitumor activity. The findings were presented Friday at the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine¿s New Trends in Prostate Cancer meeting in Padova, Italy.
¿ Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, submitted a supplemental new drug application to the FDA seeking authorization for Gleevec for the treatment of patients with unresectable and/or metastatic malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Gleevec is approved for the treatment of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia in the blast crisis, accelerated phase or in chronic phase after failure of interferon-alpha therapy. Gleevec is approved in more than 30 countries.
¿ QLT Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Novartis Ophthalmics, of Atlanta, the eye health unit of Novartis AG, said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced its intention to expand its national coverage policy for Visudyne (verteporfin for injection) therapy. Once implemented, the policy will include reimbursement for patients with occult only subfoveal choroidal neovascularization (CNV) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The decision is the result of a formal request by the Vitreous Society as well as a series of consultations with physicians, clinical investigators and representatives from Novartis and QLT. The expansion will provide coverage for two-thirds of patients with CNV secondary to AMD. The product is sold in more than 50 countries for the treatment of predominantly subfoveal CNV caused by AMD. It is approved in 25 countries, including the EU, United States and Canada, for the treatment of subfoveal CNV due to pathologic myopia. Also, in the United States, Visudyne has received an additional approval for CNV due to presumed ocular histoplasmosis. QLT¿s stock (NASDAQ:QLTI) rose $5.33 Friday, or 29 percent, to end the day at $23.71.
¿ RiverVest Venture Partners, of St. Louis, said it completed fund raising for RiverVest Venture Fund I LP, closing with $89 million of capital under management. RiverVest Venture Partners focuses on seed and early stage investments in medical devices, specialty pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and tools for drug discovery.
¿ Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received marketing approval of Replagal enzyme replacement therapy for the long-term treatment of Fabry¿s disease in both New Zealand and Iceland. Replagal is a human alpha-galactosidase A produced by genetic engineering technology in a human cell line. The approvals are based on six-month data from two independent placebo-controlled trials conducted in the United States and United Kingdom, as well as long-term data of up to 18 months from open-label maintenance studies. The product is under review by the FDA.
¿ VaxGen Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., signed an agreement with the city of Incheon, South Korea, which allows VaxGen to construct a facility to manufacture its AIDS vaccine. VaxGen receives 26 acres free of charge for 10 years in Songdo Industrial Park. The agreement is part of VaxGen¿s program to create capacity for global supplies of its vaccine, AIDSVax, should it gain regulatory approval. VaxGen is working with South Korean partners to raise financing in South Korea for the project.