¿ Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., initiated its second Phase II trial of ABX-EGF, this one in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. The multicenter study will enroll up to 210 patients across North America. Patients will receive weekly intravenous ABX-EGF infusions in combination with standard chemotherapy, or standard chemotherapy alone. ABX-EGF is a fully human monoclonal antibody that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor. It also is in a Phase II trial for kidney cancer. (See BioWorld Today, April 19, 2001.)
¿ Advanced Viral Research Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., submitted an investigational new drug application to the FDA to begin Phase I trials of Product R as a topical treatment for genital warts caused by human papillomavirus infection. Product R is a nontoxic peptide nucleic acid-type immunomodulator that appears to stimulate the pro-inflammatory immune responses required to combat viral infections.
¿ Corixa Corp., of Seattle, received a $1 million milestone payment from its research collaboration and license agreement with the pharmaceutical division of Japan Tobacco Inc., of Tokyo. The milestone was achieved following Japan Tobacco¿s selection of a Corixa antigen for further development. It marks the first milestone payment Corixa has received under the terms of their 1999 agreement.
¿ Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., identified lead compounds in its drug discovery collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory Inc., a division of the Otsuka Group, based in Japan, triggering an undisclosed milestone payment to Pharmacopeia. Pharmacopeia developed a cell-based assay and used its high-throughput screening technology to test compounds against Otsuka targets to identify the compounds.
¿ SYN X Pharma Inc., of Toronto, said the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the listing of SYN X¿s common shares. SYN X will be listed and posted for trading under the symbol SYY. SYN X is a proteomics-based research and development company.
¿ Cytochroma Inc., of Kingston, Ontario, continued and expanded its research, development and license agreement with Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif., to develop inhibitors of retinoic acid metabolism. The agreement extends the period of the exclusive research collaboration for up to three years and includes additional milestone payments and increased royalty streams on product sales. The collaboration, initiated in June 1999, takes advantage of Cytochroma¿s knowledge of two cytochrome P450 enzymes responsible for the breakdown of retinoic acid in humans, CYP26A and CYP26B.
¿ DepoMed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., completed the Phase II data analysis for its once-daily Metformin GR product. Data from all 163 Type II diabetes patients confirmed interim findings indicating the safety and efficacy and relative tolerability of the product. In the double-blind trial, DepoMed¿s Metformin GR was compared to Glucophage, New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.¿s commercially available, immediate-release (IR) formulation of metformin HCl that was administered twice daily. Comparison of the improvement in the glucose tolerance test after four weeks of treatment showed that the GR formulation was as effective as the IR formulation and differences among the treatments were not significant, DepoMed said.
¿ Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said data presented at the International Congress on Parkinson¿s Disease in Helsinki, Finland, demonstrated improvement in motor function and quality of life for Parkinson¿s patients treated with Spheramine in Titan¿s ongoing Phase I/II trial. The interim study results, presented by principal investigator Ray Watts, support previous positive results reported from the study, and indicate all six patients to date have experienced clinical improvement, Titan said.
¿ Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, and partner Xoma Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., presented initial results from the second of two pivotal Phase III trials of Xanelim (efalizumab) at the American Academy of Dermatology ¿Academy 2000¿ meeting in Anaheim, Calif. The primary endpoint was patients achieving 75 percent or greater improvement in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score, compared to placebo at 12 weeks, which was previously reported. Secondary endpoints extended out to 24 weeks of treatment. All endpoints were hit in the trial, Genentech said. It said the results indicate the potential ability of Xanelim to provide long-term control of psoriasis symptoms in patients with moderate to severe forms of the disease. If further analysis of the trial¿s data, as well as data from the other pivotal study, are positive, the companies expect to submit a biologics license application to the FDA by year-end or in 2002¿s first quarter. (See BioWorld Today, May 25, 2001.)
¿ Ichor Corp., of Lyon, France, said its shareholders approved a change of name to Mymetics Corp., and it began trading on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol MYMX. Mymetics is developing strategies for the treatment and prevention of certain viral-mediated autoimmune diseases, with an initial focus on AIDS. Its research has identified a fundamental mimicry between the virus and a protein of the immune system.
¿ IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp., of San Diego, said its board amended and restated the stockholders rights plan adopted in 1997. The rights plan is intended as a means to guard against abusive takeover tactics. The adopted amendments will enhance the effectiveness of the rights plan.
¿ InforMax Inc., of Bethesda, Md., signed a license agreement with the Windber Research Institute, of Windber, Pa., for InforMax¿s GenoMax enterprise software system. The agreement includes a software license, system support and professional services. GenoMax is a modular family of analysis programs designed to work with one or more types of genomic and proteomic data. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Ixion Biotechnology Inc., of Alachua, Fla., received the final installment due from Questcor LLC, a subsidiary of Sweden-based Q-Med AB, in connection with a July 2000 agreement to purchase an aggregate total of 3.9 million shares of Ixion¿s common stock. The payment made earlier this month was about $3.4 million, or approximately half of the total payment of $7.8 million. Q-Med¿s ownership position remains unchanged at 56 percent of Ixion.
¿ Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, signed a two-year drug target validation agreement with Immunex Corp., of Seattle. Lexicon will use its gene targeting technologies to develop knockout mammalian models for targets in Immunex¿s internal drug discovery programs. Lexicon will receive an up-front technology access fee and annual research funding, as well as milestones and royalty payments on certain products developed.
¿ NeoRx Corp., of Seattle, appointed Douglass Given president, CEO and director of the company, replacing Paul Abrams, who resigned from those positions but will provide consulting services to NeoRx. Previously, Given was senior vice president and chief technology officer at Mallinckrodt Inc., of St. Louis.
¿ Novasite Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, a majority-owned subsidiary of Applied Molecular Evolution Inc., entered an evaluation agreement with Aventis Pharma, of Bridgewater, N.J., to conduct a pilot screening project using Novasite¿s Expanded Target Drug Discovery (ETDD) technology platform. Novasite¿s ETDD technology is designed to enhance high-throughput screening by screening chemical libraries against variants of the target¿s binding site. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Origen Therapeutics Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., and Embrex Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., were awarded an Advanced Technology Program grant totaling $4.7 million from the National Institute of Science and Technology, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The four-year grant will help fund a project for development of technology aimed at the large-scale production of poultry using avian embryonic stem cells in ovo technology.