¿ 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Exton, Pa., said it will receive a $4 million milestone payment from Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., to develop oral thrombin inhibitors. Centocor, a Johnson & Johnson company, acquired worldwide rights to 3-Dimensional¿s orally active direct thrombin inhibitor program last December. Centocor is responsible for development and worldwide commercialization. The triggering event was not disclosed. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 3, 2001.)
¿ AMDL Inc., of Tustin, Calif., said it branched into cancer ¿theranotics¿ through the cash purchase of a gene therapy technology designed to build the body¿s immune system while simultaneously destroying cancer. AMDL purchased the technology from Lung-Ji Chang, who developed it while at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The combination gene therapy uses granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor and the B7-2 gene. GM-CSF genetically alters a tumor to attract antigen-presenting cells, which activate tumor-specific T cells. The B7-2 gene also genetically alters the tumor, stimulating a larger number of stronger T cells to fight the cancer. ADML said it will seek partners to help in upcoming trials.
¿ Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered into three letters of intent with potential partners to market docosanol 10% cream to treat cold sores. Territories covered by the letters include China, southern Europe, North Africa and select countries of the Gulf Cooperative Council. GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, currently markets Avanir¿s product in North America as Abreva.
¿ Caliper Technologies Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Agilent Technologies Inc. jointly developed a kit to perform cell analysis assays on Agilent¿s 2100 Bioanalyzer. The new Cell Fluorescence LabChip runs on a new version of the Bioanalyzer with the enhanced capability to drive fluid movement through channels of the chip by pressure or vacuum, providing a single analytical platform. Agilent said shipping will begin in late October.
¿ Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., said the FDA granted orphan drug designation to Revimid, its lead immunomodulatory drug, for myeloma. Orphan drug status gives Celgene seven years of market exclusivity in multiple myeloma for Revimid following FDA approval. The drug is currently being evaluated in a pair of Phase I/II trials.
¿ Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., of Fremont, Calif., will work with New York-based Pfizer Inc. to discover proteins in serum from rat models and evaluate the importance of such proteins as biomarkers associated with drug safety. Financial and other terms of the predictive toxicology agreement were not disclosed.
¿ Discovery Partners International Inc., of San Diego, said its board authorized a stock repurchase program of up to 2 million shares of its common stock. Shares may be repurchased from time to time, beginning immediately, at prevailing open market prices.
¿ Dynavax Technologies Corp., of Berkeley, Calif., met with officials at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to initiate interference proceedings to resolve first-to-invent disputes with recently issued patents owned by Wellesley, Mass.-based Coley Pharmaceuticals Group. Dynavax said its immunostimulatory intellectual property patent applications were filed significantly before Coley¿s. Dynavax also said crucial aspects claimed in the patent applications were disclosed to Coley founder Arthur Krieg prior to his company¿s application submissions.
¿ Genta Inc., of Berkeley Heights, N.J., said two published papers showed a lead compound from Genta¿s Decoy Aptamer program down-regulated key cancer genes and exerted preclinical antitumor activity in breast and ovarian cancer. Decoys targeted the cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CRE-BP), which plays a role in cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Results showed that successful CRE-BP targeting also reduced the expression of other key regulatory genes that are being targeted by its other approaches.
¿ International Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, was awarded a two-year Phase II Small Business Research Innovation grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institute of Health. The $2 million grant is for the continued development of International Therapeutics¿ Nuclear Importation Inhibition antiviral platform. Nuclear importation is a process in which viral genetic material is translocated into the nucleus of a target cell where infection is established.
¿ Kosan Biosciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif., said its board approved a stockholder rights plan, giving all stockholders as of Oct. 29 the right to purchase a new series of shares of preferred stock. The plan¿s adoption is intended to guard against abusive takeover tactics, but is not in response to any particular proposal, Kosan said.
¿ Molecular Mining Corp., of Raleigh, N.C., released its GeneLinker Gold version 1.1 gene expression analysis software. The program provides analysis and visualization tools for the exploration of gene expression data.
¿ NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., submitted orphan drug applications for SS1(dsFv)-PE38 for the treatment of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Phase I trials are being conducted at Oklahoma University Medical Center and NCI for SS1(dsFv)-PE38, NeoPharm¿s novel monoclonal antibody-targeted cytotoxin designed to target and destroy tumor cells.
¿ OraPharma Inc., of Warminster, Pa., presented data from a preclinical study of its compound, OC-1016, for bone regeneration, at the American Academy of Periodontology, Orban Competition, in Philadelphia. Results showed that dental implants treated with the compound achieved statistically greater osseointegration, as measured by bone to implant contact area and bone density, than untreated implants in a preclinical model after four weeks. OC-1016 is a synthetic peptide based on the protein osteopontin.
¿ Orchid Biosciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., entered into a multiyear marketing agreement for its SNPstream MT product with MiraiBio Inc., of Alameda, Calif. MiraiBio gained nonexclusive worldwide rights to market the genotyping consumables and software developed by Orchid. Orchid retains rights to distribute the SNPstream MT system, which provides the capability to generate thousands of SNP genotypes daily. Further terms were not disclosed.
¿ Oxagen Ltd., of Abingdon, UK, was awarded accreditation by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, recognizing the company¿s calibration, testing, inspection and certification services.
¿ Revotar Biopharmaceuticals AG, of Berlin, entered into a licensing agreement with the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, for macrophage migration inhibitory factor, an inflammatory mediator recently validated as a therapeutic target for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Revotar, a 55.2 percent-owned subsidiary of Texas Biotechnology Corp., of Houston, expects the collaboration to lead to the identification of a lead clinical candidate next year. Terms were not disclosed.
¿ Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., is beginning a multicenter Phase II trial using Heptazyme to treat patients with hepatitis C. The drug is a direct antiviral therapeutic engineered to target the hepatitis C virus and has shown potent activity in preclinical models. The study will evaluate Heptazyme¿s safety and efficacy when administered alone and in combination with interferon.
¿ Rosetta Biosoftware, of Kirkland, Wash., said London-based GlaxoSmithKline plc licensed the Rosetta Resolver Software Development Kit version 2.0. The kit offers customers direct access to the system¿s open application program interfaces. Rosetta Biosoftware is a unit of Rosetta Inpharmatics Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc.
¿ SurroMed Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., and researchers from Penn State University reported findings on the fabrication, optical properties and initial application of Nanobarcodes particles in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Science. Nanobarcodes particles enable large numbers of biological assays to be simultaneously carried out in a small volume of fluid and have the potential to advance biochemical analysis, with implications for understanding the molecular basis of disease.
¿ The Nobel Assembly in Sweden awarded Leland Hartwell the 2001 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his discovery of genes that control the cell division cycle. A longtime grantee of the National Institutes of Health, he has been given more than $41 million of support in the past 35 years. Hartwell, the president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and a professor of genetics at the University of Washington, received the award jointly with Paul Nurse and R. Timothy Hunt, both of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. Hartwell has used a simple, one-celled organism as a model system for tackling the problem of how a cell can faithfully copy its genetic information and divide in two without transmitting potentially lethal genetic errors.
¿ Viragen Inc., of Plantation, Fla., and the Roslin Institute, of Edinburgh, Scotland, produced a chimeric chicken using zygote injection. The production of the chicken means the companies¿ antibody construct, GD3, was successfully incorporated into the cells of a living chicken. GD3 targets a tumor antigen on the surface of melanoma cells.
¿ Weston Medical Group plc, of Cambridge, UK, entered into an option and licensing agreement with Tokyo-based Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. giving Chugai access to Weston¿s Intraject needle-free drug delivery technology for the administration of an undisclosed therapeutic product. Weston will receive an up-front fee and milestone payments, as well as potential royalties.