¿ AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., reported results from its 55-patient Phase II OvaRex trial for ovarian cancer patients with biochemical relapse following primary surgery and chemotherapy. The trial was designed to compare time to disease relapse in patients who demonstrate an immune response to OvaRex MAb vs. patients who do not. The company said the results validated quality-of-life data associated with the administration of OvaRex MAb as compared to placebo. The results will comprise one of three primary supportive trials to AltaRex¿s 345-patient pivotal trial.
¿ Hemosol Inc., of Toronto, said it will receive funding from the Canadian Department of National Defense, which will match funds contributed by Hemosol up to $500,000 over a two-year period. Proceeds will be used to accelerate the progress of a second hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier, HML-109, from the company¿s series of hemoglobin-based products in development.
¿ ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., closed its overallotment option for its previously announced offering of $400 million in convertible subordinated notes. The notes, with an interest rate of 6.5 percent, are convertible into common shares at about $34.25 per share. The exercising of the overallotment option brings the total for the offering to $525 million. (See BioWorld Today, July 16, 2001.)
¿ Immunex Corp., of Seattle, and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., launched a new education and support program for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The program has objectives to convey the importance of early evaluation for therapies, show the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis and demonstrate the need for people with RA to seek treatment from a rheumatologist.
¿ MPM Capital, of Cambridge, Mass., said it co-led the recent founding investment in Critical Therapeutics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Critical Therapeutics raised $10 million in its Series A round, which was also co-led by Healthcare Ventures, also of Cambridge. Critical Therapeutics focuses on the development of therapeutic products for critical care medicine. Neither company officials nor investors could be reached for comment.
¿ Nastech Pharmaceutical Co. Inc., of Hauppauge, N.Y., presented data at the 6th International Drug Delivery Technologies & Deal Making Summit in Princeton, N.J. Using standard formulation components typical of nasal products, interferon alpha blood levels were not detected in the single-dose, open-label study involving 12 healthy male volunteers aged 18 to 50. Applying Nastech¿s proprietary formulations, intranasal interferon alpha achieved similar blood levels to the marketed product administered subcutaneously at three hours post dosing. The formulations were well tolerated, and no nasal irritation was observed during the study, Nastech said.
¿ Ortho Biotech Products LP, of Raritan, N.J., said a study published in the current issue of The Journal of Clinical Oncology compares Doxil (liposomal doxorubicin) with topotecan. The objective of the study was to compare the efficacy and safety of Doxil vs. topotecan in patients with epithelial ovarian carcinoma following first-line, platinum-based chemotherapy. Results showed the median time to progression for Doxil was 16.1 weeks and 17 weeks for topotecan (p=0.095). Overall response rates for Doxil and topotecan were 19.7 percent and 17 percent, respectively (p=0.390). Doxil-treated patients survived an average of 60 weeks and topotecan-treated patients survived an average of 56.7 weeks.
¿ Prana Biotechnology Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, received an A$1.75 million (US$884,471) START grant from the Australian Biotechnology Industry Research and Development Board to expand Prana¿s platform technology for drug treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Prana has identified a biological mechanism that its scientists believe is critical in understanding and treating a range of neurodegenerative diseases.
¿ ValiGen N.V., of San Diego, said its Berlin-based subsidiary, Infogen Medizinische Genetik GmbH, was awarded a public grant by Berlin¿s official funding institution to support the company¿s family-based genetic field work, in addition to its cardiovascular disease management and drug development programs. The funding was part of a collection of public funds from the German government, the European Union and Bundesland, Berlin. The amount was not disclosed.