¿ AeroGen Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., said the results of its first Phase II clinical study using the Aerodose insulin inhaler indicated the amount of insulin absorbed into the body via inhalation is as consistent, from dose to dose, as that following subcutaneous injection. The study compared the intrapatient variability of the responses to inhaled and subcutaneously administered insulin in Type II diabetic patients.
¿ Applied Molecular Evolution Inc., of San Diego, said it initiated the optimization of an antibody against interleukin-9 for MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., as part of the companies¿ alliance to optimize four monoclonal antibodies. IL-9 is a cytokine that is overexpressed in asthma and other respiratory disorders. AME will apply its proprietary directed molecular evolution technology, the AMEsystem, to create several new anti-IL-9 monoclonal antibody candidates for MedImmune. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 14, 2001.)
¿ Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said it was notified that NV Organon, of Oss, the Netherhlands, intends to continue development of the Ampakine Org 24448 in a Phase II trial for schizophrenia. The action entitles Cortex to a $2 million milestone payment based on their January 1999 worldwide licensing deal. Organon also received an option to develop the technology for depression, which it chose to exercise in January. Under the agreement, Organon has rights to intellectual property that includes broad medical use patents covering the use of any AMPA-receptor modulating compound to treat schizophrenia either as a monotherapy or in combination with other antipsychotic medications. Ampakine compounds enhance glutamatergic pathways, which are known to interact with dopaminergic/serotonergic systems in order to maintain normal brain function. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 31, 2001.)
¿ Dragon Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it completed the private placement of 3.5 million units at a price of $2 per unit. Each unit consists of one common share and one non-transferable share purchase warrant, which entitles the holder to purchase one-half common share at $2 per share for two years. The offering grossed about $7 million and netted $6.5 million. Dragon focuses on genetically engineered human proteins for therapeutic use, and said it is one of the world¿s lowest-cost producers of erythropoietin.
¿ Helix BioMedix Inc., of New Orleans, said it will relocate its headquarters to the Seattle area effective Oct. 1. The new facility is located in Canyon Park Business Center in Bothell, Wash., and will include both administrative and laboratory facilities. The relocation is one of a number of strategic initiatives for the company, which is focused on the development and commercialization of bioactive peptides for the treatment of life-threatening disease. The company¿s scientific teams have developed a library of proprietary synthetic peptides and are pursuing opportunities for their commercialization as anti-infective, anticancer and wound-healing agents.
¿ Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., said it completed patient enrollment in two Phase III clinical studies of INS365 ophthalmic eye drops for the treatment of dry eye. The placebo-controlled, double-masked studies are designed to compare the efficacy and safety of two concentrations of INS365 ophthalmic to placebo. The studies were initiated in January of this year, with patient enrollment beginning in February and totaling about 1,000 patients in less than eight months. The product is partnered with Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif. (See BioWorld Today, June 28, 2001.)
¿ LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bozeman, Mont., said it entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the development and preclinical testing of a rabies DNA vaccine targeted to mucosal tissues in the nose and mouth. Under the CRADA, LigoCyte will provide its proprietary M-cell targeting technology, which is based on pathogen-derived molecules that aid the infectivity of certain organisms. The company will collaborate with NIAID¿s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont.
¿ Pharmagenesis Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., was awarded a new drug certificate by China¿s State Drug Administration for its plant-derived hematopoiesis enhancer, PG2, bringing the company closer to producing and marketing the medicine. PG2 is an adjunct to cancer therapy designed to restore activity of bone marrow after chemotherapy. It plans to start PG2 production and sales in the first half of 2002. The company also plans to develop derivatives of PG2 for the Western world.
¿ RTP Pharma Inc., of Montreal, said it signed an exclusive agreement with Baxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill., to collaborate on the use of RTP¿s insoluble drug delivery technology for the formulation of injectable medications. RTP will receive license fees, milestone payments and royalties on net sales of the IDD-formulated injectable medications. Baxter has exclusive manufacturing rights to these products.
¿ Synthetic Blood International Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said it retained Abacus Ventures LLC, of Santa Monica, Calif., and Stephen Lairmore, an independent financial placement consultant, to assist the company in bringing in additional institutional capital within the next 12 months. The company is developing two medical products based on fluorocarbon technology: Oxycyte, a synthetic blood substitute, which may be useful in treating stroke, heart attack and cancer patients; and Fluorovent, a liquid ventilation product that may be useful in treating respiratory disorders.
¿ Xoma Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., said it granted a nonexclusive license to Dompe SpA, of Milan, Italy, for the use of Xoma¿s patented technology for biopharmaceutical production. Dompe is using the technology in developing a fully human Fab (antibody fragment) for radioimmunotherapy of ovarian carcinoma. Xoma said production of antibody domains using its bacterial cell expression system reduces production costs, increases product yields and improves process control in the manufacture of genetically engineered proteins.