¿ AlleCure Corp., of Valencia, Calif., is in a research collaboration with BD Biosciences, of Franklin Lakes, N.J., a division of Becton, Dickinson and Co., to develop assays in support of AlleCure¿s AlleVax treatments for allergies and various autoimmune diseases. Their work will focus on the development of laboratory tests that may be used for allergy diagnosis, confirmation of vaccine efficacy and continued patient monitoring before, during and after immunotherapy. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Athenix Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., completed its first round of capital financing, raising $8 million. Intersouth Partners, of Durham, N.C., and Polaris Venture Partners, of Waltham, Mass., led the investment. Boston Millennia Partners, of Boston, also participated. Athenix is focused on gene discovery for plant biotechnology.
¿ AlphaGene Inc., of Woburn, Mass., expended its network of neurological research agreements to include Wayne State University and its affiliate, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, both of Detroit. The collaboration is designed to identify patterns of gene expression characteristic of malignant brain tumor cell types and to correlate gene expression patterns with treatment regimens.
¿ Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said it received a California technology investment partnership grant to develop a new use for docosanol in the area of genital herpes. Docosanol 10 percent cream is Avanir¿s lead product approved last summer by the FDA for treatment of cold sores.
¿ Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, was notified by Cook Inc., of Bloomington, Ind., that coronary stents coated with paclitaxel virtually eliminated in-stent restenosis in patients who had undergone repeated interventional therapy to treat blockages in previously stented coronary arteries, the company said. The information comes from a 21-patient pilot study released at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference in Washington. Angiotech licensed the use of paclitaxel to Cook.
¿ Atlantic Technology Ventures Inc., of New York, said its proprietary lead compound, CT-3, has shown anti-spastic activity in an animal model of multiple sclerosis at a dose level achievable in humans. CT-3, also identified as ajulemic acid, is a non-psychoactive synthetic derivative of a metabolite of tertrahydrocannabinol shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
¿ Big Bear Bio Inc., of Austin, Texas, moved to its new headquarters in Alameda, Calif. The company said it has reached a stage of preparation for GMP manufacturing for most of its six therapeutic product candidates and the move to the San Francisco Bay area will let the company accelerate its corporate and product development.
¿ BioSpecifics Technologies Corp., of Lynbrook, N.Y., reported the conclusion of a Phase II trial of Cordase, the company¿s treatment for Dupuytren¿s disease. The trial included a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at Stony Brook University Hospital and Medical Center in Stony Brook, N.Y., and an additional double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled dose response clinical investigation performed at Stony Brook and Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif. The company is planning to continue with a Phase III study.
¿ Celltech Group plc, of London, agreed to purchase Thiemann SA, of Waltrop, Germany, for about $45 million. The acquisition gives Celltech a pharmaceutical and marketing organization in Germany. Celltech will fund the acquisition from existing cash reserves, and the deal is expected to be completed in October. Thiemann markets a range of products in the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, rheumatology, cough/cold and central nervous system areas. It has a staff of about 130 people.
¿ DeCode Genetics Inc., of Reykjavik, Iceland, and Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, said deCode scientists have mapped genes contributing to obesity and clinical anxiety. According to deCode, these are the first loci of genome-wide significance ever identified in either of the disorders using population-wide linkage analysis. With this announcement, deCode has reached 11 milestones under its gene and discovery alliance with Roche. DeCode receives milestone payments for these achievements.
¿ D-Pharm Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, said it began enrolling patients in a new Phase II acute stroke study with its proprietary drug, DP-b99, which is a neuroprotective agent that was highly efficacious in preclinical testing in reducing the brain infarct volumes and in the recovery of neurological function.
¿ Genencor International Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., reached its first technical milestone in its three-year contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Biofuels Program administered by DOE¿s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. Genencor said it developed and validated processes for improved cellulase enzymes that meet the intended objective at half the cost of technologies currently available. The goal of the program is to develop new enzyme systems for the economic conversion of plant matter to fuel ethanol and other valuable materials.
¿ Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Baltimore, said the review of its supplemental new drug application for Gliadel Wafer (polifeprosan 20 with carmustine implant), which was scheduled to go before the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA on Tuesday, was canceled due to the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York. The review will be rescheduled for a later date.
¿ Immtech International Inc., of Vernon Hills, Ill., said a Phase II study of DB289 for the treatment of African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis) has begun in Angola. The study will include approximately 30 patients in the early stages of the disease. Immtech said DB289 is the first new drug in 60 years developed to specifically treat trypanosomiasis and is the first oral drug for the treatment of the disease.
¿ Incell Corp. LLC, of San Antonio, was awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for investigation into the world¿s first adult stem cell lines from small human intestinal tissue.
¿ La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA to begin a Phase I/II clinical trial of LJP 1082, its candidate for the treatment of antibody-mediated thrombosis. The company said regulatory review has been completed and it is ready to begin the study.
¿ Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc., will proceed with development of LGD2226, a selective androgen receptor modulator for the treatment of major androgen-related diseases and disorders, such as hypogonadism, osteoporosis, male hormone replacement and male and female sexual dysfunction. Ligand earns a $1 million milestone payment from TAP as a result of this decision. The potential $44 million deal was disclosed in June. (See BioWorld Today, June 27, 2001.)
¿ Memory Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Montvale, N.J., said it signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, for the rights to commercialize and market MEM 1003, a new drug candidate to treat dementia. Memory will pay Bayer royalties, in addition to up-front and milestone payments. Terms were not disclosed.
¿ MitoKor, of San Diego, said it completed a Phase I study of its drug candidate, ABP-150, for the treatment of Parkinson¿s disease and other forms of chronic neurodegeneration. ABP-150 is a non-feminizing estrogen that is believed to affect mitochondrial metabolic pathways and was obtained through MitoKor¿s recent acquisition of Apollo BioPharmaceuticals Inc. (See BioWorld Today, May 10, 2001.)
¿ NaPro BioTherapeutics Inc., of Boulder, Colo., said it has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of Alabama at Birmingham for a broad technology relating to any receptor ligand peptides conjugated to any taxane, including paclitaxel.
¿ NimbleGen Systems Inc., of Madison, Wis., raised $9 million in a private round of equity financing. This round brings the total the company has raised to more than $12.5 million. New investors include Venture Investors Management LLC and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, both of Madison, Wis., and Baird Venture Partners, of Milwaukee. Returning investors include Skyline Ventures, of Palo Alto, Calif., the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, of Madison, Wis., and Midwest-based Tactics II Investments LLC. The company develops DNA arrays and systems.
¿ Plexus Vaccine Inc., of San Diego, entered a licensing agreement with Molsoft LLC, of La Jolla, Calif., to discover and commercialize new interventional strategies for global infectious diseases, for drug-resistant microbes and for chronic diseases associated with cryptic pathogens. Using software designed by Molsoft, Plexus is developing Virtual Epitope databases of molecular targets for in silico design of structural mimics that can be readily synthesized, tested and formulated as vaccines.
¿ Protalex Inc., of Albuquerque, N.M., completed a $1.1 million private placement of its common stock. The company said the financing will further its development of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
¿ Quark Biotech Inc., of Cleveland, said Mitsubishi-Tokyo Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Japan, made an equity investment in the company as part of QBI¿s Series F financing. Financial terms were not disclosed. The companies are collaborating to develop drug targets identified in earlier gene discovery programs in neurodegeneration. The collaboration has been broadened recently to discover genes that are related to other diseases.
¿ Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., reported from its Phase II study of Axokine for obesity that, on average, patients treated with the drug for 12 weeks maintained weight loss, compared with baseline weight, for at least 36 weeks after treatment ended. Placebo patients actually gained weight after 36 weeks. The company has initiated a Phase III program. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 1, 2001.)
¿ Restoragen Inc., of Lincoln, Neb., said its Phase II trial of Betatropin (recombinant glucagon-like peptide-1) demonstrated improvement of blood glucose levels in Type II diabetics treated with the drug for seven days, vs. placebo. Forty-seven Type II diabetics were enrolled in the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. It demonstrated statistical significance in several areas. The company plans to begin Phase II/III trials involving 400 patients within four weeks, it said.
¿ Samaritan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Las Vegas, said Georgetown University has granted Samaritan an exclusive worldwide license to commercialize a cholesterol-recognition amino-acid sequence. The invention has identified a ¿cholesterol fingerprint¿ present in proteins known to interact with and bind cholesterol. It could be used as a drug to remove cholesterol from other proteins, cells and tissues.