¿ Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., completed a series of agreements that expand their existing collaboration to combine Orchid¿s primer extension technology with the Affymetrix GeneChip GenFlex Tag Array in Orchid¿s SNPcode genotyping kits. In related licensing agreements, Orchid obtained nonexclusive, royalty-bearing rights to use Affymetrix¿s universal oligonucleotide sequences for primer extension applications. Orchid also acquired exclusive ownership of U.S. Patent No. 5,856,092 and its foreign counterparts. Financial terms were not disclosed. Under the terms of the new agreements, Affymetrix will supply GenFlex arrays to Orchid, which will provide SNPcode-based genotyping services to its customers and distribute GenFlex arrays in connection with SNPcode reagents to customers who want to conduct primer extension-based genotyping using the GeneChip system. In addition, Affymetrix granted Orchid a nonexclusive license to make and sell products incorporating its proprietary universal Tag sequences.
¿ AntiCancer Inc., of San Diego, said it developed a noninvasive, whole-body imaging technology to follow infectious bacteria in the major organs of mice. The company expects it to become a useful tool to discover antibiotics and virulence genes for resistant pathogenic bacteria. Bacteria, engineered to express a novel green fluorescent protein developed by AntiCancer, are bright enough to be seen from outside the infected animal. Real-time images of the infection process are acquired using a video camera by illuminating the mice with blue light.
¿ AVAX Technologies Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., received notification from Nasdaq that the company has maintained the minimum bid price-listing requirements and its trading is in compliance with Nasdaq listing requirements. AVAX develops individualized therapies and technology focused on cancer and other diseases.
¿ EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., selected ENMD 0995 and ENMD 0997 as next-generation, small-molecule drug candidates for clinical testing. These new candidates have been in preclinical development as inhibitors of angiogenesis aimed at a wide variety of diseases, the company said. Both ENMD 0995 and 0997 are referred to as next-generation chemical analogues of thalidomide and have shown potent antiangiogenic and anticancer effects. EntreMed also finalized an agreement with Tetrionics Inc., of Madison, Wis., for the bulk manufacture of ENMD 0995.
¿ Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, delivered additional drug targets in the area of metabolic syndrome to Pharmacia Corp., of Peapack, N.J. The collaboration was established in February 1999 to identify targets in Alzheimer¿s disease and metabolic syndrome. They expanded the collaboration in October 1999 to include investigation into the mechanism of action of clinical compounds provided to Exelixis by Pharmacia.
¿ Lorus Therapeutics Inc., of Toronto, said its Phase III clinical protocol for Virulizin will be expanded. The new program has a recruitment goal of 350 patients. Survival is the primary endpoint of the study, with clinical benefit and time-to-symptom progression as key endpoints. The new Phase III trial provides for first-line therapy with Virulizin combined with gemcitabine, the current standard of treatment for pancreatic cancer, to be evaluated in comparison to treatment with gemcitabine alone. The study will include a second-line treatment for patients that fail gemcitabine treatment. Second-line treatment will compare treatment with Virulizin plus 5-flurouracil, the salvage therapy for pancreatic cancer, to 5-FU alone.
¿ Molecular Biosystems Inc. (MBI), of San Diego, reported an amendment to the Optison Product Rights Amendment dated May 9, 2000, with Mallinckrodt Inc., of St. Louis. Optison, an intravenous ultrasound contrast agent, was developed by Molecular Biosystems, and is being marketed by Mallinckrodt in the U.S. and Europe. Under the original terms of agreement, Mallinckrodt was to pay MBI a royalty of 5 percent of net sales of Optison in the U.S. and Europe for as long as Mallinckrodt was marketing the product. MBI has received royalties of approximately $200,000 per quarter from Mallinckrodt this year. Under the amended agreement, MBI will receive an immediate cash payment plus additional unspecified royalties for a two-year period.
¿ Neuralstem Inc., of College Park, Md., and MetriGenix Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., plan to jointly develop and market a series of neurochips as low-density, theme-based oligonucleotide microarrays based on MetriGenix¿s Flow-thru Chip technology. Neuralstem will contribute content from its discovery efforts using human central nervous system stem cells. The resulting stem cell-based neurochips will be offered to the CNS drug discovery and development community for research and screening purposes. Terms were not disclosed.
¿ Nexell Therapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., entered an agreement with Baxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill., under which Baxter will become the worldwide distributor of Nexell¿s cell processing products. As part of the agreement, Baxter will purchase certain assets and liabilities of Nexell¿s cell processing business, as well as worldwide sales, marketing and distribution rights for the related products, for an estimated net price of $4.3 million, plus royalties on future product sales. Certain Nexell employees will work for Baxter. The company plans to complete the transaction by Oct. 1.
¿ Organogenesis Inc., of Canton, Mass., initiated a clinical study in deep diabetic foot ulcers with its Vitrix living dermal replacement. Vitrix is being studied for use as a dermal base that helps promote wound healing. In the 20-patient study, patients not healed with Vitrix plus the standard of care by 12 weeks can then receive the company¿s lead product, Apligraf, to complete the wound-healing process. Vitrix is a single-layer product made up of human dermal cells and collagen. It can be folded upon itself and inserted into deep wounds.
¿ Organogenesis Inc., of Canton, Mass., said it would sell $10 million in equity to Novartis Pharma AG, of Basel, Switzerland. The companies agreed earlier this year to a deal giving Organogenesis the right to sell, at its discretion, up to $20 million in equity. The funds will be used for general working capital, Organogenesis said. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 27, 2001.)
¿ Qiagen N.V., of Venlo, the Netherlands, entered a technology access and evaluation agreement with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany. Bayer will gain limited access to the ZeptoGene Workstation technology platform. Financial terms were not disclosed. The ZeptoGene Workstation is based on Planar Waveguide technology, which allows the use of minimal sample amounts for analysis of the differential expression patterns of genes that are expressed at very low levels.
¿ Sangamo BioSciences Inc., of Richmond, Calif., reported the publication of data in Nature Biotechnology and Methods in Enzymology detailing a new system that permits the rapid engineering of zinc finger proteins (ZFPs) able to bind in a highly specific fashion to more diverse DNA sequences than was previously possible. By employing pre-made libraries, this new methodology also accelerates the rate at which newly engineered ZFPs can be created and validated. Sangamo is focused on the research and development of novel transcription factors for the regulation of gene expression.
¿ Silicon Genetics Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., licensed its GeNet database to Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, for use in Exelixis¿ integrated discovery platform. According to Silicon Genetics, GeNet will allow researchers at Exelixis to share, store and retrieve experimental data and annotated results from gene expression experiments. Licensing terms were not disclosed.
¿ The US-ROC (Taiwan) Business Council, of Arlington, Va., said it will host a high-level delegation of Taiwan officials and leaders in the mid-Atlantic region this fall. The Taiwan government recently announced that it is focusing on the biotechnology sector, investing $1.5 billion in research, development and promotion over the next five years. After a two-day summit at the University of Pennsylvania¿s School of Medicine and School of Applied Engineering in Philadelphia, the delegation will tour pharmaceutical and educational research facilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
¿ Third Wave Technologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., said its researchers demonstrated the ability to analyze genetic sequences based on their structure, which is different from conventional methods requiring linear analysis of a sequence under tightly controlled conditions. According to findings published in the current issue of Nucleic Acids Research, this new technology has the potential to revolutionize nucleic acid sequence analysis and dramatically simplify research and clinical applications by requiring fewer probes and less-sophisticated instrumentation, which could enable easy, inexpensive analysis at the point of patient care.