¿ Acacia Research Corp., of Pasadena, Calif., said its majority-owned subsidiary, CombiMatrix Corp., of Mukilteo, Wash., entered into a license and supply agreement with NASA. The agreement provides for the license, purchase and use by the NASA Ames Research Center of CombiMatrix¿s active biochips and related technology to conduct biological research both on earth and in space. According to NASA, the technology will allow it to conduct genome-wide functional analysis of any organism under any environmental condition, including microgravity.
¿ Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., and Caliper Technologies Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., introduced the RNA 6000 Nano LabChip kit for the automated quality control of total and messenger RNA. The kit is designed for use with the Agilent 2100 bioanalyzer. The new kit allows detection of total RNA down to 5 ng, the companies said.
¿ CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., reported the last patient has completed treatment in CARISA, the company¿s second Phase III trial for ranolazine in chronic angina. More than 700 patients completed the 12-week trial, which was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multinational, parallel-group study to compare the safety and efficacy of two dose regimens of ranolazine to placebo during continued treatment with one of three other background, anti-anginal medications.
¿ Dynavax Technologies Corp., of Berkeley, Calif., said its proprietary immunostimulatory DNA sequences (ISS) have been shown effective in producing potent immune responses in mice when linked to envelope protein gp120 antigen. The research appears in the Aug. 1, 2001, issue of The Journal of Immunology. Researchers used mice to compare the immune response of vaccines consisting of the HIV gp120 antigen administered alone, in combination with ISS and in an ISS antigen-linked format. For almost all immune responses, the linked vaccine showed statistically significant improvement over the co-administered vaccine, the company reported.
¿ Psychiatric Genomics Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., appointed Richard Chipkin CEO. Chipkin joins Psychiatric from Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., where he served most recently in its global business development group.
¿ EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., sold its rights to future royalties from the sales of thalidomide (Thalomid) to the Swiss company Royalty Pharma AG for $24.3 million. EntreMed may receive another $3 million if certain sales milestones are achieved. Also, if total and annual sales exceed established thresholds, EntreMed would receive a share of certain royalty payments from Royalty Pharma. EntreMed licensed the use of thalidomide for the treatment of angiogenesis-related diseases to Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., in 1998. EntreMed has collected royalties from Celgene on sales of Thalomid, regardless of indication. In 2000, Thalomid generated about $62 million in sales, of which EntreMed received about $3.5 million.
¿ Enzon Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., said Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., reported the FDA approved Peg-Intron Powder for Injection for use in combination therapy with Rebetol Capsules for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients with compensated liver disease who have not been previously treated with interferon alpha and are at least 18 years of age. Peg-Intron is a longer-acting form of Intron A Injection that uses Enzon¿s PEG technology. Enzon is entitled to royalties on worldwide sales of Peg-Intron. The Peg-Intron and Rebetol treatment regimen is the first pegylated interferon-based combination therapy approved in the United States. On a day when most biotechnology companies fell, Enzon¿s stock (NASDAQ:ENZN) rose $4.85, or about 8 percent, to close Wednesday at $64.96.
¿ Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, terminated its equity drawdown facility it entered Aug. 4 with Tradersbloom Ltd. Generex had the option to sell up to $50 million worth of common stock to Tradersbloom. Generex did not draw down any funds. It paid $245,000 to Tradersbloom to satisfy its obligations and neither Generex nor Tradersbloom has any further rights or obligations under the deal.
¿ Genomics Collaborative Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and ActivX Bioscience Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., partnered to identify and validate proteins and gene targets associated with colon cancer. The two companies will work to profile protein activity in colon cancers and normal tissues from patients supplied by Genomics Collaborative¿s resource of human tissue and sera sample using ActivX¿s activity-based proteomics technology. The goal of the partnership is to develop a joint research program using activity-based proteomics on colon cancer specimens to identify new targets suited for diagnostic and therapeutic development.
¿ Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., agreed to exclusively license to Clone International Pty. Ltd., of Australia, and AgResearch Ltd., of New Zealand, its nuclear transfer technology for use in Australia and New Zealand. The rights will allow Clone and AgResearch, in partnership, to use Geron¿s nuclear transfer technology to produce superior cattle and sheep for agricultural applications in the respective countries. Geron granted Clone a nonexclusive license in December 2000, but this agreement converts the license into an exclusive form. Geron will receive a 25 percent equity interest in Clone International and a share of Clone¿s future revenues.
¿ La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, said that a recent article published in Thrombosis and Haemostasis confirming the binding site of the disease-causing antibodies responsible for antibody-mediated thrombosis supported the company¿s therapeutic approach and selection of LJP 1082 as its clinical candidate for the treatment of the blood-clotting disorder. Antibody-mediated thrombosis patients face an increased risk of blood clots that can result in stroke, heart attack, miscarriage, deep-vein thrombosis and post-operative complications following cardiovascular surgery.
¿ LaunchCyte LLC, of Pittsburgh, closed on $700,000 of interim financing, raising its total capitalization to $2.7 million. The latest funds were raised in a convertible debt offering that will convert to equity upon the closing of LaunchCyte¿s next funding round. The company has dedicated the bulk of the new capital to accelerating the commercialization of its first portfolio company, Morewood Molecular Sciences Inc. Morewood is completing the development of a platform technology for assaying enzymatic activity for drug discovery.
¿ Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, said Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, selected certain drug targets of potential pharmaceutical relevance contained in LexVision for use in its drug discovery programs. Bristol-Myers was Lexicon¿s first collaborator for the LexVision program in September 2000. Lexicon delivered the third installment of its database to Bristol-Myers during the second quarter of 2001, triggering a further payment from Bristol-Myers for its first year of access to LexVision.
¿ Neoprobe Corp., of Dublin, Ohio, said researchers began patient enrollment in a clinical trial to evaluate a second-generation radiolabeled antibody-targeting agent in patients with colorectal cancer. OncoSurg Inc., to which Neoprobe granted a license option to develop the agent, is sponsoring the Phase I study. The agent, called RIGScan CR, is a humanized antibody fragment that targets the antigen produced by many solid tumor types. It would be used with Neoprobe¿s radioimmunoguided surgery technology.
¿ Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said its Cellmark Diagnostics business was awarded a contract by the UK government to provide genotyping services designed to help British farmers breed sheep with reduced susceptibility to the disease scrapie. Orchid will provide capacity to generate several million scrapie genotypes a year. The contract maybe be extended for an additional two years. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Photogen Technologies Inc., of New Hope, Pa., released final results from its trial examining the use of its photoactive agent, PH-10, together with laser light as a treatment for plaque psoriasis. Patients in the study experienced significant reduction of plaque thickness with a single administration of PH-10. After 90 days post -treatment, different concentrations of PH-10 followed by green laser light yielded a reduction of plaque thickness compared to baseline, ranging from about 26 percent (plus or minus 5 percent, p=0.0020) to about 17 percent (plus or minus about 4 percent p=0.0059) over all dosing groups.
¿ RxKinetix Inc., of Louisville, Colo., initiated a Phase Ib trial with its first lead drug candidate, RK-0202, in bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients. The study being conducted with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, will enroll a small number of patients at two U.S. transplant centers. The product is intended for the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis. The companies anticipate completing the Phase Ib trial by year¿s end. Phase II trials in head and neck radiation patients as well as bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients are expected to begin in early 2002, the companies said.
¿ SignalGene Inc., of Montreal, said one of its scientific collaborators made a discovery in the area of breast cancer genetics, related to the identification of a gene that protects women against breast cancer. The researchers examined variants of a known gene and found that some women carry a form of the gene that decreases their risk of developing breast cancer. The results of the study are published in the journal Cancer Research. SignalGene has exclusive commercial rights to the discovery.
¿ SkyePharma plc, of London, said the European Commission granted marketing authorization for DepoCyte (cytarabine liposome injection) in the European Union for the treatment of lymphomatous meningitis. In July, SkyePharma licensed the marketing rights for DepoCyte in Europe and the Philippines to Elan Pharma International Ltd., an affiliate of Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, for a total of $23 million in milestones and signing fees. The granting of marketing approval triggers a milestone payment under their agreement.
¿ The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of Bethesda, Md., awarded a $9 million grant to investigate the genetic structure of malaria. Through the grant to Celera Genomics Corp., of Rockville, Md., NIAID has expanded its efforts to determine the genetic blueprint of Anopheles gambiae, a mosquito species that transmits the malaria parasite to people. Celera will help sequence the mosquito genome and make the information freely available to the scientific community. Celera anticipates completing the project next spring.
¿ Theratechnologies Inc., of Saint Laurent, Quebec, filed an investigational new drug application with Health Canada¿s Therapeutic Products Program to begin a Phase II trial of the ThGRF peptide, a growth hormone-releasing factor analogue, on the immune response to influenza vaccination in older patients. The application is for a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that would be carried out in multiple centers over eight weeks with 120 patients 65 years of age or older.
¿ Tranzyme Inc., of Birmingham, Ala., introduced its proprietary gene expression technology TExT (Trans Expression Technology). The technology combines its existing technologies and has applications in post-genomic function discovery, understanding protein interactions and in elucidating disease pathways. TExT enables genes to be integrated and expressed in any mammalian cell, tissue, explanted organ, or in whole animals, the company said.