¿ Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., announced a technology access agreement with institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science for the supply of DNA microarrays and a microarray scanner. The equipment, to be installed in a new centralized research facility, will be used by the Netherlands Brain Research Institute for the study of neurological diseases and peripheral and central nervous system regeneration, and the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute, which will research hereditary ophthalmic diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ BIO IT Coalition was formed in Washington. It is a nonprofit organization formed by several area entities to promote the development of bioinformatics, the convergence of information technology and biotechnology, as a vital industry in the region. Among the organizations are the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, George Mason University, Inova Health Systems and Pepper Hamilton LLP.
¿ Cancer Genetics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant by the National Institutes of Health to develop a set of fluorescence in situ hybridization probes for detecting a chromosomal translocation that results in non-Hodgkin¿s lymphoma. The enhanced specificity and sensitivity afforded by CGI¿s dual-color, dual-fusion assay permits simultaneous detection of both derivative (14 and 18) chromosomes.
¿ Carrington Laboratories Inc., of Irving, Texas, formed a subsidiary to develop its drug delivery technology that employs a natural polymer that allows for controlled release of a variety of drug candidates for injectable, oral or topical application. The subsidiary, DelSite Biotechnologies Inc., will be solely responsible for the research, development and marketing of the technology and will be separate from the present Carrington research and development program. Carrington presented data on the chemistry and functional attributes of the new biomaterial at the 28th International Symposium on Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials in June.
¿ Celera Genomics Group, of Rockville, Md., and Sagres Discovery, of Davis, Calif., signed a multiyear subscription agreement that will allow Sagres scientists to access the Celera Discovery System to use its database products, bioinformatics systems and other discovery tools. The Celera Discovery System is an integrated, web-based platform that enables users to leverage Celera¿s computational tools and genomic and biological data to advance the discovery process. Financial terms were not disclosed. Separately, Celera and Structural GenomiX Inc., of San Diego, entered a multiyear marketing and distribution partnership for ModBase, SGX¿s database containing more than 310,000 computationally modeled protein structures. Celera will offer ModBase as part of its Celera Discovery System.
¿ Chromos Molecular Systems Inc., of Burnaby, British Columbia, completed the termination of its research and license agreement with Pharming Technologies BV, of Leiden, the Netherlands. Chromos completed a study required under the agreement to assess the feasibility of applying Chromos¿ Artificial Chromosome Expression System technology to the production of milk in transgenic animals. Chromos had granted Pharming exclusive licenses and an option to Chromos¿ intellectual property in respect to certain defined products and applications.
¿ Copernicus Therapeutics Inc., of Cleveland, was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to develop a novel therapeutic to treat patients with factor IX deficiency, or hemophilia B. Using Copernicus¿ nonviral gene transfer formulation, nanoparticles of DNA encoding human factor IX will be administered to animals as an inhaled mist. Based on these preclinical studies, this needleless gene drug will be tested rapidly in larger animals and potentially in humans.
¿ DepoMed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., initiated a Phase II trial comparing its internally developed, extended-release dosage form, Ciprofloxacin GR, with the currently marketed immediate-release ciprofloxacin formulation. The randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study will assess the comparative efficacy, safety and tolerability of extended-release and immediate-release ciprofloxacin formulations.
¿ DoubleTwist Inc., of Oakland, Calif., released the third version of the DoubleTwist Annotated Human Genome Database, the cornerstone of its Prophecy database and tools suite. The latest generation includes an assembled genome and integration of more than 35 databases onto a genomic scaffold.
¿ Esperion Therapeutics Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., entered a license agreement with the University of Michigan under which Esperion has exclusive rights to develop certain paraoxonase, or PON, technology. Esperion will pay the university license fees, maintenance fees, milestone payments, royalties based on net sales of products covered by the technology and patent prosecution and maintenance costs. Paraoxonase is an HDL-associated enzyme that is believed to protect HDL and LDL from oxidation. It may be able to reduce oxidative stress in the blood, thus reducing the vascular and tissue damage that occur in diseases such as atherosclerosis and sepsis.
¿ Genencor International Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it developed a technology that facilitates the production of microorganisms for use in the industrial bioproduction of chemicals, proteins and biomaterials for commercial applications. The technology is detailed in an article titled ¿Rapid Evolution of Novel Traits in Microorganisms,¿ published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
¿ Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said HuMax IL15, a human monoclonal antibody targeting the cytokine interleukin-15, demonstrated potent activity in arresting inflammation in preclinical studies. HuMax was shown effective in neutralizing IL-15 activity in various cellular models, as well as in mice engrafted with inflammatory tissue from rheumatoid arthritis patients.
¿ GenVec Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said patients now are being treated in a new Phase Ib trial of TNFerade targeting a form of cancer known as soft tissue sarcoma. TNFerade delivers the tumor necrosis factor alpha gene directly to tumors using GenVec¿s proprietary adenovector technology.
¿ Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., said research results describing the culture of human embryonic stem cells in the absence of direct feeder support were published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology. Geron scientists report that hES cell lines can be grown in the absence of direct contact with mouse feeder cells. Elimination of feeder cells is essential for scalable production of hES cell-based products, the company said. Geron¿s stock (NASDAQ:GERN) rose $1.87, or 19.48 percent, Monday to close at $11.47.
¿ Immtech International Inc., of Vernon Hills, Ill., initiated a Phase II study of DB289 in Angola, Africa, for the treatment of African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis). The study will include about 30 patients in the early stages of the disease. DB289 has shown promise in animal models of trypanosomiasis and also in certain fungal infections, the company said. Immtech¿s stock (NASDAQ:IMMT) rose 89 cents, or 16.48 percent, on the news to close at $6.29.
¿ InKine Pharmaceutical Co. Inc., of Blue Bell, Pa., said it is seeking approval to market Visicol tablets in the UK and submitted a marketing authorization application to the Medicines Control Agency. Visicol is the first and only tablet purgative preparation indicated for bowel cleansing prior to colonoscopy.
¿ Integrative Proteomics Inc., of Toronto, formed a joint research and licensing agreement with the University of Toronto to functionally map certain pathogenic bacterial proteomes. The effort will receive funding from the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund. The joint contributions of the fund, from Genome Canada, the University of Toronto and Integrative Proteomics, initially will exceed $9 million. The effort will leverage Integrative Proteomics¿ high-throughput processes and the University of Toronto¿s capabilities in bacteriology and mass spectroscopy.
¿ Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., licensed exclusive worldwide rights to dersalazine, a compound in early clinical development to treat inflammatory bowel disease, from J. Uriach & Cia. SA, of Barcelona, Spain. In exchange for an up-front licensing payment, development milestones and royalty payments to Uriach, Interneuron gains worldwide marketing rights to dersalazine, except in Spain, where Uriach retains a co-marketing option. Interneuron will be responsible for clinical development, regulatory activities and commercialization.
¿ Isogenica Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, and Affitech AS, of Oslo, Norway, entered a collaboration and licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of Isogenica¿s Covalent Display Technology. This is the first major deal for Isogenica, signed only eight months following the launch of the company, and is part of its strategy to fully exploit CDT in a variety of high-value applications. Affitech will use CDT to generate high-affinity human antibodies. Isogenica will get license fees and royalties, and also scientific input for its R&D program.
¿ Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, said it discovered and validated in vivo a new target for the development of potential treatments for heart disease, obesity and related diseases, such as diabetes. The gene was uncovered through the company¿s industrialized gene knockout program in which mice lacking specific genes are associated with desirable medical profiles. These knockout mice registered significantly lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, as well as reduced body fat, with no change in diet. Lexicon expects to discover compounds that can inhibit the target enzyme, LG-314, within one year.
¿ Microcide Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., said it received a milestone payment for achievement of certain development goals in its research and license agreement with The R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., both Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries. The milestone relates to preclinical research by Microcide to develop an orally active, novel cephalosporin, with activity against resistant bacterial strains common to both hospital and community settings. Microcide received an up-front license fee and substantial funding for a year of research to optimize newly discovered leads. For each orally active product resulting from the new research, Microcide will receive an additional set of multiple milestone payments and royalties on worldwide sales.
¿ Modex Therapeutics Ltd., of Lausanne, Switzerland, and the University of Geneva signed an exclusive license agreement for worldwide rights to a technology covering a family of small-peptide molecules that can be used to modulate the location and number of melanocytes in the epidermis.
¿ NetGenics Inc., of Cleveland, entered an agreement with Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., for a multiseat DiscoveryCenter license. Paradigm joins Schering AG as one of the first customers of the NetGenics integration software.
¿ Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, disclosed additional positive results in a Phase II trial of NBI-34060. It achieved both primary and secondary endpoints of sleep initiation in subjects with transient insomnia. The study was a randomized, multicenter, multinational, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-response study in 331 subjects. The company said results were consistent with previous Phase II studies. Based on the data, Neurocrine has selected doses for the pivotal Phase III clinical program planned for the fourth quarter.
¿ Novuspharma SpA, of Monza, Italy, announced positive results from a preliminary analysis of a Phase II study of its lead product, BBR 2778, in patients with non-Hodgkin¿s lymphoma. The study was completed in Germany and France and included 33 patients, with results on 27 available at the time of analysis. Of the 27 patients analyzed, six responded to treatment, with three showing a complete tumor response, defined as complete disappearance of all lesions, and three others showing a partial response, defined as a reduction in lesion size of at least 50 percent. The drug was administered as a one-hour intravenous infusion and up to six courses were administered.
¿ Palatin Technologies Inc., of Princeton, N.J., entered into an agreement with the Serono Pharmaceutical Research Institute, the research center of Serono SA, of Geneva. Palatin will use Midas, its drug design technology platform, to generate compounds in support of Serono¿s research programs. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. Palatin¿s Midas technology platform is a synthetic approach for rapid, structure-based drug design.
¿ Sanguine Corp., of Pasadena, Calif., said a 12-week emulsification stability study of its synthetic red blood cell substitute, PHER-02, has been finalized and yielded positive results.
¿ Symyx Technologies Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and Prolinx Inc., of Seattle, entered into a nonexclusive license agreement under which Prolinx intends to commercialize products incorporating a proprietary polymer developed by Symyx. The Symyx polymer provides a protein-friendly, high-contrast/low-background support for protein capture and expression analysis. Prolinx intends to launch substrates and protein arrays using the Symyx material before the end of the year and to start receiving royalties from the sale of these products in early 2002.
¿ Viragen Inc., of Plantation, Fla., said its subsidiary, Viragen Europe Ltd., acquired BioNative AB, a Swiss biotech company. Both companies have been engaged in production of purified natural alpha interferon derived from human white blood cells. Viragen Europe is exchanging 5 percent of its stock (about 2.9 million shares) for complete ownership of BioNative, although additional shares may be delivered to BioNative shareholders under certain conditions. Based on Viragen Europe¿s stock (OTCBB:VERP) price of 85 cents at the close of Friday¿s business day, the deal is valued at about $2.5 million.
¿ ViroPharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., said its new drug application for Picovir has been accepted for review by the FDA. Picovir, for the treatment of viral respiratory infection, is an oral antiviral product that inhibits the function of picornavirus capsid, a protective shell of the virus that is essential for virus infectivity and transmission. ViroPharma and Aventis Pharmaceuticals, of Bridgewater, N.J., are conducting studies with Picovir for the treatment of pediatric viral respiratory infection, as well as exploring the use in preventing it. ViroPharma submitted the NDA in July and entered the Aventis collaboration in September. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 1, 2001, and Sept. 11, 2001.)