¿ 4SC AG, of Martinsried, Germany, and Axxima Pharmaceuticals AG, also of Martinsried, signed a research collaboration to identify small-molecule kinase inhibitors for the treatment of human cytomegalovirus infections. 4SC will apply its virtual high-throughput screening technology, using protein kinases from Axxima, against its own library of compounds to generate and synthesize new lead candidates. Axxima will develop and commercialize any resulting anti-infective HCMV kinase inhibitors. 4SC will receive milestone and royalty payments. Further financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., said it expanded its agreement with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, for Affymetrix GeneChip technology. The agreement enables GSK research sites to design custom GeneChip arrays on smaller format sizes that will provide them with lower-cost arrays for use in high-throughput settings. The high-volume custom array access program is a new offering from Affymetrix.
¿ AlleCure Corp., of Valencia, Calif., said it has established corporate headquarters in the Valencia Commerce Park. Originally founded to develop vaccines targeting a wide range of allergies, AlleCure has since broadened its focus to include small molecules, biotherapeutics and delivery technologies to treat immune system imbalances.
¿ Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, of Piscataway, N.J., and Aurora Biosciences Corp., a subsidiary of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., announced an agreement to commercialize their combined Green Fluorescent Protein technology, which is used to accelerate drug discovery and development. The commercial agreement will allow both companies to broaden access to GFP technology by pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and academic research institutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Antisoma plc, of London, announced the strengthening of its targeted apoptosis research program through an in-licensing agreement with the National Institutes of Health. Antisoma acquired exclusive worldwide rights to use of the enzyme, recombinant cytotoxic Rnase, in combination with monoclonal antibodies that target PEM (polymorphic epithelial mucin) and CEA (carcino-embryonic antigen) ¿ protein targets found on certain cancer cells.
¿ Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., said it exercised an option to license human growth hormone releasing peptide-1 from Tulane University Health Sciences Center. Atrix will develop the compound using its sustained-release Atrigel delivery technology. The company expects to move the product into the clinic in mid-2002.
¿ Bio Information Technologies Ltd., of Ramat Gan, Israel, a computational drug discovery company focused on membrane-embedded proteins, announced the successful completion of its first round of financing totaling $7.8 million. Investors were OrbiMed Advisors LLC, Yozma and Fred Frank, the vice chairman of Lehman Brothers. Bio IT is focused on the discovery of novel compounds targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) through a unique computational structure-based approach. Bio IT¿s technology is based on three proprietary elements: algorithms for the prediction of the 3-dimensional structure of any member of the GPCR family, proprietary technology for high-throughput computational screening and proprietary technology for designing virtual molecular libraries. The company plans to open an office in Boston later this year.
¿ Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, said subsidiary Biomira USA initiated a Phase Ib trial to test the safety and immunogenicity of an autologous vaccine strategy for treating B-cell lymphoma. The liposomal formulation contains a patient-specific cancer antigen as well as interleukin-2. The work is being carried out in a collaborative agreement with the National Cancer Institute.
¿ Caliper Technologies Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., announced the launch of the Caliper 250 HTS system, its new LabChip-based high-throughput screening system. The system, which includes instruments for assay development and screening, and a menu of chips that perform standard assays, as well as Caliper-supplied support services and custom solutions, represents a new microfluidic chip-based approach to high-throughput drug screening, Caliper said.
¿ Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, said it has sold an additional $25 million aggregate principal amount of 5.7 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2008, bringing the total amount sold to $175 million. The sale of the additional notes, which cover overallotment options, is expected to close today and will complete the private placement. The notes will be convertible into common stock, at the option of the holder, at an initial conversion price of about $34 per share. The proceeds will be used to fund clinical trials, expand sales and marketing capabilities, potential acquisitions of complementary companies or products and for working capital. (See BioWorld Today, June 6, 2001.)
¿ Cellegy Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said that results of a pharmacoeconomic study comparing the use of Rectogesic to surgery for anal fissures estimated significant potential cost reduction and other benefits using Rectogesic, a proprietary formulation of nitroglycerin ointment, from the perspective of the UK¿s National Health Service.
¿ Cellomics Inc., of Pittsburgh, said it released the Multiparameter Cytotoxicity Assay, including proprietary fluorescence reagents and the application software to quantify multiple hallmark indicators of toxicity in cells.
¿ Devgen NV, of Ghent, Belgium said it formed a research collaboration with Metabolex Inc., of Hayward, Calif. Each company is employing its respective technology platforms to evaluate the other¿s compounds, in hopes of more rapidly assessing potential therapeutic utility of those compounds in diabetes. In return for Devgen¿s analysis of Metabolex compounds, Metabolex is evaluating Devgen compounds in Metabolex¿s proprietary cell-based assays for identifying potential activity in diabetes. Each party will retain ownership rights to its compounds.
¿ Endovasc Ltd., of Montgomery, Texas, entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with CytoGenix Inc., of Houston. Terms were not disclosed. Endovasc will use its liposome technology to encapsulate the CytoGenix single-strand DNA expression systems, producing unmodified strands of ssDNA for therapeutic applications. The goal for the liposome technology is to protect the ssDNA from destruction by exo- and endo-nucleases found on the skin and in the bloodstream.
¿ Epigenomics AG, of Berlin, said it has identified more than 200 methylated sequence tags that could be used for early detection of colon cancer. These markers are the first results to be announced from a large-scale genome-wide screening effort of all major human tumors for DNA methylation markers in tissue and serum. The research was done in the company¿s Seattle-based high-throughput discovery facility.
¿ Genvec Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said its board adopted a stockholders rights plan to guard against abusive takeover tactics. The move was not made in response to any specific effort, the company said.
¿ Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, presented additional clinical results from its South African studies of HE2000, an immune-regulating hormone. The results demonstrated that HE2000 administered to HIV-infected patients had a significant effect on multiple genes implicated in inflammation and immune suppression associated with HIV progression to AIDS.
¿ Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., and Galapagos Genomics NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, extended their functional genomics collaboration based on the LifeSeq collection. Financial terms were not disclosed. The first phase of the collaboration included 1,500 full-length genes from Incyte¿s LifeSeq Gold database, which were been tested against several disease model cell lines resulting in several novel function ¿hits.¿ Under the new agreement, Galapagos will construct a custom adenoviral library harboring genes relevant to Incyte¿s in-house drug target discovery and validation efforts. Incyte will undertake further functional validation studies using the collection of viruses produced by Galapagos. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 15, 2000.)
¿ MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it is accelerating the reacquisition of U.S. rights to Ethyol (amifostine) from ALZA Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., to be effective Oct. 1. The original date to return rights was expected to be April 1, 2002, pursuant to the 1995 co-promotion agreement between the companies. As part of the accelerated reacquisition, MedImmune will recognize approximately $20 million of incremental expenses in the third quarter 2001 for payments to ALZA for the projected profits it would have made from Oct. 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002, and the funding of expanded sales and marketing activities.
¿ Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, said it completed internal validation of a DNA-based protocol for Factor V Leiden, a mutation associated with cardiovascular disease and the pathology of thrombosis, for use in academic and other research laboratories on the NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation system.
¿ NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., said that it has submitted an orphan drug application for IL13-PE38 for the treatment of malignant glioma. IL13-PE38 is NeoPharm¿s novel ligand targeted cytotoxin that targets the IL-13 receptor on tumor cells and delivers the cytotoxin PE38 to destroy the tumor cell. A number of Phase I trials for IL13-PE38 are under way.
¿ Neurogen Corp., of Branford, Conn., appointed William Koster CEO. Koster has more than 30 years experience developing and commercializing drugs with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, and E.R. Squibb & Sons Inc., which merged with Bristol-Myers in 1989.
¿ Novartis Ophthalmics, the eye health unit of Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, and QLT Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, announced the filing of Visudyne (verteporfin for injection) therapy with the Canadian Therapeutics Products Directorate for the treatment of a select group of patients with occult subfoveal neovascularization caused by wet age-related macular degeneration.
¿ Ocean Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lenexa, Kan., said it signed two in-licensing agreements. The first is with a scientist at the University of Linkoping, Sweden, for three compounds with new mechanisms of action in the anti-inflammatory field. The first focus will be in asthma. The second deal is with Diabact AB, of Uppsala, Sweden, for U.S. rights to a new sublingual/bioadhesive technology. Ocean, with offices in Uppsala, was formed in November 2000 to develop research available from Scandinavian universities.
¿ Starpharma Pooled Development Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said it signed a letter of intent with medical diagnostics company PanBio Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, under which PanBio plans to invest A$1 million over the next three years in Dendritic Nanotechnologies Ltd. Starpharma announced the formation of DNT on Aug. 6. DNT is an Australian company developing products using dendrimer nanotechnology. DNT has a branch office and lab at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.
¿ Xenova Group plc, of Slough, UK, said its novel therapeutic vaccine, TA-NIC, which is being developed for the treatment of nicotine addiction, has entered Phase I clinical trials. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study will assess safety, tolerability and immunogenecity in smokers and nonsmokers.