¿ Bioqual Inc., of Rockville, Md., was awarded a two-year, $738,847 Phase II SBIR grant, effective Sept. 30, for a study titled ¿Comparative DNA Sequence Variation in Alzheimer Genes.¿ Bioqual researchers will use biochemical assays to identify aged, living chimpanzees with dementia or other age-related disorders. They then will search for disease-causing mutations in the chimps, as well as in archival chimpanzee brain tissue samples having Alzheimer¿s-related neuropathology.
¿ Cellzome GmbH, of Heidelberg, Germany, acquired UK-based Cell Map, a division of GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), of London. Cell Map is focused on mapping protein-protein interactions in the cell to enable drug target discovery and validation. The deal combines Cellzome¿s expertise in large-scale functional proteomics with Cell Map¿s biological and pharmaceutical focus. GSK will become a minority shareholder in Cellzome. Other terms were not disclosed.
¿ Charles River Laboratories Inc., of Wilmington, Mass., and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee entered an agreement to distribute consomic rat models developed at the college through a special breeding program. The models are designed to allow researchers to study the specific function of particular genes that contribute to common multigenic human diseases of the heart, lung and blood. Charles River will produce and distribute the models as well as provide other support services.
¿ Deltagen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said its subsidiary, Deltagen Europe SA, established a research and development center in Strasbourg, France. The site was chosen as a result of the research relationship between Deltagen and the Institut de Genetique et de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire. The 50,000-square-foot center will be complete in 2003.
¿ Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Research, of New York, is initiating equity research coverage of the biotechnology industry through its leading analyst, Charles Duncan. The company also hired senior investment bankers Robert Carey, Jeffrey Fink and Michael Page for its Healthcare Group.
¿ Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said it completed the acquisition of Novazyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Oklahoma City, in a stock deal originally valued at $137.5 million. It will operate as a business unit of Genzyme General. The acquisition is expected to increase Genzyme¿s position in the development of enzyme replacement therapies for lysosomal storage disorders. Novazyme¿s novel protein engineering technologies ¿ intended to enhance the targeting and uptake of replacement enzymes ¿ are expected to help Genzyme develop improved, second-generation versions of its marketed and optimal new first-generation products. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 8, 2001.)
¿ Gliatech Inc., of Cleveland, reported the submission of its corrective action plan to the FDA as part of the effort to relaunch Adcon-L in the U.S. The corrective actions relate to new packaging for a raw material used in Adcon-L production and the implementation of new manufacturing inspection and test procedures. Adcon-L was recalled in January due to improper packaging of a raw material used to manufacture the gel. The FDA approved Adcon-L for anti-scarring in association with lumbar surgery in May 1998.
¿ InSite Vision Inc., of Alameda, Calif., released ISV-900, the company¿s first commercial product for the early prognosis and diagnosis of glaucoma. ISV-900 is being marketed under the brand name Ocugene glaucoma genetic test.
¿ MolecularWare Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., entered a reseller relationship with Applied Precision Inc., of Seattle, to integrate MolecularWare¿s DigitalGenome software into Applied Precision¿s arrayWoRxE family of microarray biochip readers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Morphotek Inc., of Philadelphia, signed a collaborative research agreement with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J. Morphotek will apply its Direct-Line technology for the development of cell lines for Wyeth¿s internal research and development programs in oncology. Direct-Line uses Morphotek¿s platform technology to evolve individual cells or whole organisms to develop project-specific hosts for product development, gene discovery or drug target discovery. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it plans to release a predictive medicine test for malignant melanoma. The test, called Melaris, is used to assess a person¿s risk of developing melanoma based on the detection of inherited mutations on the p16 (CDKN2A) gene. Its stock (NASDAQ:MYGN) gained $3.07 Thursday, or 10.7 percent, to close at $31.79.
¿ NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., said it identified the BRCC3 gene as a potential target for the treatment of breast cancer. The company¿s research data suggest that BRCC3 is highly differentiated and found only in breast cancer tumor cells.
¿ Novogen Ltd., of Stamford, Conn., with headquarters in Australia, said clinical trials on its synthetic dermatological compound, NV-07a, will be initiated by The Queensland Institute for Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia. NV-07a is designed to repair sun-damaged skin. The trials are meant to assess the compound¿s role in correcting acute sun damage and preventing the induction of skin cancer.
PhotoCure ASA, of Oslo, Norway, submitted its new drug application to the FDA for Metvix cream in combination with the CureLight lamp in photodynamic therapy for the treatment of actinic keratosis. Results from 17 studies in 2,239 patients show Metvix was more effective than placebo with respect to the proportion of patients showing complete lesion response and complete patient response at three months after treatment, the company said.
¿ Starpharma Pooled Development Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said its vaginal microbicide candidate, SPL-7013, also may be effective as a treatment for genital herpes. SPL-7013 is a dendrimer nanostructure with activity against a number of sexually transmitted diseases. Starpharma was formed in 1996 and is a group of companies; its core technology is based on dendrimers.
¿ Synaptic Pharmaceutical Corp., of Paramus, N.J., reported closing the second stage of its $41 million private placement. The company received $9.4 million in the first stage of the convertible preferred stock offering. In the second stage, which raised $31.6 million, the company issued 5.4 million common share equivalents at an average price of $5.85 per share. With both stages complete, Synaptic has issued an additional 7.6 million common share equivalents. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 8, 2001.)
¿ Xenon Genetics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, initiated a high-throughput screening in its triglyceride drug discovery program using a genetically derived drug target and assay it developed. The program is focused on the development of small-molecule compounds for the treatment of elevated triglycerides, which are associated with coronary artery disease. The company also signed a drug discovery agreement with Discovery Partners International Inc., of San Diego, to provide high-throughput screening, chemistry and informatics services to Xenon¿s drug discovery program.
¿ Zonagen Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, said it suspended further research on a zona pellucida-based contraceptive vaccine following inconsistent results from an ongoing baboon study. As a result, Zonagen¿s option agreement with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, the pharmaceutical division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., also was terminated.