¿ Acambis plc, of Cambridge, UK, completed a Phase II challenge trial of its ChimeriVax-JE vaccine against Japanese encephalitis (JE). The aim of the trial was to investigate the immunological response on exposure to JE virus antigen of subjects who had previously been vaccinated with ChimeriVax-JE. Patients in the trial had an immune response with long-term memory and a rise in antibodies on exposure to the virus. Separately, Acambis said it selected a vaccine candidate for the prevention of West Nile encephalitis in humans. The ChimeriVax-West Nile vaccine has undergone preclinical testing and Acambis anticipates a clinical trial by 2002.
¿ Albany Molecular Research Inc., of Albany, N.Y., signed a definitive agreement to purchase the laboratory facilities of Great Lakes Chemical Corp., of Indianapolis. The labs are located in Mt. Prospect, Ill. Albany will purchase the 88,000-square-foot laboratory for $10 million in cash. Separately, Albany said its employees donated $120,000 to help those impacted by the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks. Also, the company has donated respirators to the emergency rescue workers at the World Trade Center.
¿ Bioreason Inc., of Sante Fe, N.M., said that Warner-Lambert Co., a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., of New York, licensed Bioreason¿s software systems, DataPharmer, LeadPharmer and DrugPharmer. The software is designed to analyze data from high-throughput screening for drug discovery. Pharmacia Inc., of Kalamazoo, Mich., has taken deployment of the same three software systems.
¿ Curis Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., elected Daniel Passeri president and CEO, and also added him to its board. Doros Platika, who served as president and CEO, was elected chairman of the board. Passeri most recently was Curis¿ senior vice president of corporate development and strategic planning.
¿ Cytokinetics Inc., of South San Francisco, said GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, selected one of Cytokinetics¿ lead oncology compounds, SB-715992, as a candidate for development. The selection triggered a $2 million milestone to Cytokinetics. The compound is a mitotic kinesin inhibitor. The companies began their collaboration, worth about $50 million to Cytokinetics, in June. (See BioWorld Today, June 26, 2001.)
¿ CytRx Corp., of Atlanta, said preliminary studies investigating CRL-5861 in an animal model of spinal cord injury suggest treated animals recover more function compared to untreated animals. The company said the studies show CRL-5861 contributes to the salvaging of damaged nerve fibers following traumatic spinal cord injury. CRL-5861 is an intravenous agent that also is designed to treat sickle cell disease and other disorders characterized by fragile or damaged cell membranes.
¿ Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Doylestown, Pa., initiated patient enrollment in a second Phase III trial evaluating Surfaxin, for the prevention and treatment of idiopathic respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. The trial is designed to demonstrate in Europe the safety and noninferiority of Surfaxin over a leading animal-derived surfactant, thus providing support to Discovery¿s pivotal Phase III multinational trial in the same indication. Surfaxin is a humanized, synthesized, peptide-containing surfactant.
¿ DNA Sciences Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said Steven Lehrer will assume all operational and management responsibilities for the company, following the resignation of Hugh Rienhoff as chairman and CEO. Lehrer will join DNA Sciences¿ board, and become acting president and chief operating officer. Lehrer previously was chief business officer.
¿ Emisphere Technologies Inc., of New York, said its board authorized a share repurchase program for up to $30 million, effective immediately. The company had about 17.9 million shares outstanding as of June 30, and about $174 million in cash and cash equivalents. The timing and amount of share repurchases will depend on market conditions, share price and other factors, the company said.
¿ Miza Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Toronto, entered a manufacturing and supply agreement with Connetics Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., to manufacture two of Connetics¿ branded products, Luxiq and Olux foams, for the dermatology market. The supply agreement is for several years and there is the potential for renewal. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Nautilus Biotech, of Paris, developed a collection of proprietary rep proteins optimized for the production of rAAV. Nautilus said that with the development of the optimized rep proteins, it has demonstrated the capacity of its technology to efficiently generate products with commercial potential within months.
¿ Pangene Corp., of Fremont, Calif., said it developed robot automated gene cloning that captures cDNA, genomic DNA and gene family clones. All of these genes are isolated without using PCR in the gene cloning process. Pangene¿s automated cloning technology uses DNA repair enzyme-mediated processes to capture homologous and/or nearly homologous DNA clones from complex DNA mixtures, including cDNA and genomic gDNA.
¿ PlantGenix Inc., of Philadelphia, and The Scotts Co., of Marysville, Ohio, entered a licensing agreement to develop new varieties of popular bedding plants with improved characteristics such as extended flower life and more blooms per plant. Scotts will use PlantGenix¿s technology to develop bedding plants with reduced sensitivity to ethylene, which is produced in plants and controls aging and ripening in flowers and fruit. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Proteome Systems, of Sydney, Australia, and Protagen AG, of Bochum, Germany, entered a collaboration involving the exchange of analysis of post-translational modifications of proteins. Proteome Systems will have access to Protagen¿s methodology and technology for the purpose of analysis of protein phosphorylation and Protagen will have access to Proteome System¿s methodology and technology for the analysis of protein glycoslylation. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Select Therapeutics Inc., of Woburn, Mass., and its joint venture with Woburn-based Cytomatrix LLC, Cell Science Therapeutics Inc., opened an investigational new drug application for a Phase I/II study of the TranStem system for the expansion of autologous stem cells for transplantation. By using its Cytomatrix technology platform, Cell Science has developed TransStem, capable of expanding human hematopoietic stem cells without requiring the addition of cytokines to the culture.