¿ Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, UK, said it has received approval for a Phase I trial of ATL-104, an orally administered treatment for mucositis, a side effect of cancer therapy. This means the company has four compounds in the clinic, and it says it now is looking for new early stage products to license in for development.
¿ Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc, of Melbourn, UK, said it received approval to start a Phase I/IIa trial of CAT-213, a human anti-eotaxin1 monoclonal antibody for the treatment of severe allergic disorders. The trial will study the effects of CAT-213 on patients with allergic rhinitis (hayfever) who are challenged with a nasal allergen. The trial will commence this month and be completed before the start of the 2002 UK hayfever season.
¿ Capsulation NanoScience AG, of Berlin, completed its first financing round, for DM6 million (US$2.8 million). With the proceeds its plans to fuel development of novel drug delivery systems. Investors were Berlin Seed Capital; Kapitalbeteiligungsgesellschaft des Landes Brandenburg, of Potsdam, Germany; and tbg, of Bonn, Germany.
¿ Entomed SA, of Strasbourg, France, appointed Ian Hunneyball as head of R&D, with responsibility for all aspects of drug discovery and development. Hunneyball spent 23 years in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK, most recently as director, research & development UK, at Nottingham-based Knoll Ltd., a subsidiary of BASF Pharma. He previously had been director of research at Boots Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by BASF in 1995.
¿ GeneMedix plc, a manufacturing company in Newmarket, UK, said it entered a five-year agreement with the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology in China, giving it right of first refusal outside China to all intellectual property and know-how generated by the institute. GeneMedix has set up a new business unit to maximize the commercial potential of this agreement.
¿ Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said it is preparing a human monoclonal antibody targeting the cytokine interleukin-15 for clinical trials later this year. The company disclosed preclinical data Saturday that demonstrated its efficacy in neutralizing IL-15 activities, including T-cell proliferation and the production of TNF-alpha, in a number of cellular models and in mice engrafted with inflammatory tissue from rheumatoid arthritis. Genmab is developing the candidate treatment, called HuMax-IL15, in collaboration with Immunex Corp., of Seattle. The partners are focusing on arthritis initially, but Genmab said it also has potential application in additional inflammatory conditions.
¿ MicroDiscovery GmbH, Scienion AG, the Max Planck institutes of Infection Biology and Molecular Genetics, all of Berlin, agreed to jointly developing immunochips. These are projected to identify patients¿ genetic predispositions to autoimmune diseases or detection of patients¿ immune stages related to infections.
¿ Modex Therapeutics Ltd., of Lausanne, Switzerland, said it signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of Geneva to develop small-molecule peptide technology for treatment of skin disorders. The deal covers a family of peptides discovered by Beat Imhof and Bernhard Wehrle-Haller that can be used to control the location and numbers of melanocytes, the cells positioned at the base of the epidermis that are responsible for skin pigmentation. Modex entered a three-year agreement to support further work in Imhof¿s laboratory. The company aims initially to develop candidate treatments for hyper-pigmented skin conditions such as lentigo senilis (age/liver spots) and dysplastic naevi (precancerous melanoma).
¿ Prana Biotechnology Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, which specializes in treatments for Alzheimer¿s disease, said it is confident it can win a legal battle with a Greek pharmaceutical company claiming two U.S. patents of certain compounds. PN Gerolymatos SA, of Athens, filed a lawsuit on Sept. 26 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
¿ Starpharma Pooled Development Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said animal studies of a compound being developed as a protection against genital herpes show it also might be a treatment for the condition. The compound, a dendrimer nanostructure ¿ one of a family of very large compounds in which the company specializes ¿ was found to be effective against previously contracted herpes in animals.