¿ Accelrys Inc., the software subsidiary of Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said it successfully mapped 70 percent of the Neisseria meningitidis genome with functional annotations. The new map, according to Accelrys, represents an improvement in the functional assignment of 54 percent of the genome previously reported, and has resulted in more than 300 new assignments of proteins that could be targeted for therapeutic intervention. Accelrys used its GeneAtlas protein annotation tool to analyze the N. meningitidis genome.
¿ Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., launched its NetAffx web site, a web-based tool for users of the company¿s technology. Affymetrix said this is its first Internet resource dedicated to helping scientists reach biologically meaningful results more quickly. The site is designed to streamline and integrate access to the data generated by the company¿s GeneChip arrays, with biological information available in a broad range of public and private databases. The company also released its new GeneChip Custom Express array program, which allows customers to design arrays specific to their research needs.
¿ Alteon Inc., of Ramsey, N.J., agreed to sell 4.2 million shares of common stock at $2.25 each, for net proceeds after expenses and fees of $8.77 million. Underwriter for the transaction is U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. The company said that the proceeds would provide capital for its ongoing Phase IIb SAPPHIRE trial of ALT-711 for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders, as well has help to expand its product pipeline.
¿ Antigenics Inc., of New York, entered a collaboration with Bruce Walker, director of the Partners AIDS Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. The collaboration will involve a study combining work in identifying HIV-related antigens and Antigenics¿ heat shock protein (HSP) technology. Walker¿s laboratory will use an in vitro system to test the ability of HSPs complexed to HIV antigens to activate HIV-specific helper and cytotoxic T-cell clones isolated from HIV-infected people.
¿ BTG plc, of London, acquired the intellectual property behind the quiescent-cell (Q-cell) method of recombinant protein production. BTG is looking for licensees to further develop and commercialize the technology. Q-cells differ from existing industrial E. coli fermentation systems by allowing more on the manufacturing cell¿s resources to be directed toward producing the desired fermentation product, BTG said. The technology was developed by the department of genetics at Cambridge University.
¿ CancerVax Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said it plans to prepare a new drug submission to seek marketing approval in Canada for Canvaxin, its vaccine for the treatment of advanced-stage melanoma. The company anticipates completing the submission by the third quarter of 2002. The planned submission follows CancerVax¿s presentation of positive Phase II trial results.
¿ Cellomics Inc., of Pittsburgh, said Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., purchased a Cellomics ArrayScan HCS System, a tool for measuring efficacy and toxicity of drug candidates. Terms were not disclosed.
¿ GeneMachines, of San Carlos, Calif., said it sold OmniGrid microarrayers to the Genome Institute of Singapore. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
¿ Genta Inc., of Berkeley Heights, N.J., licensed several patents to EpiGenesis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cranbury, N.J. The nonexclusive agreement includes an up-front cash payment to Genta, along with royalty payments on product sales. The fundamental claims in the Genta patents involve methods, compositions and processes for in vitro and in vivo inhibition of protein synthesis by antisense oligonucleotides.
¿ Reliant Pharmaceuticals LLC, of Liberty Corner, N.J., appointed Irwin Lerner as CEO. He also maintains his seat on the company¿s board. Lerner is the retired chairman of Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., where he served as president and CEO from 1980 to 1992.
¿ Lexrite Labs, of Dixon, Calif., reported the publication of research in the July 17, 2001, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The company said the research validates its infinite-affinity antibody platform technology to permanently bind antibodies and radioactive carriers for cancer treatment. The antibody recognizes and permanently binds to a radioactive carrier or other therapeutically active molecule and forms a permanent chemical bond, which can deliver the maximum amount of therapy directly to a tumor cell, while sparing healthy tissue.
¿ Microbiotix Inc., of Worcester, Mass., received exclusive worldwide rights to license a series of proprietary antiviral compounds from Nissin Food Products Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan. One of the compounds, NMSO3, is an inhibitor of respiratory syncytial virus and adenoviruses. Microbiotix researches and develops novel anti-infective drugs.
¿ Oxford GlycoSciences plc, of Oxford, UK, said it integrated two cutting-edge proteomics technologies, Isotope Coded Affinity Tag reagents and MALDI TOF/TOF tandem mass spectrometry, in an industrialized platform. This new platform, the company said, complements its existing 2D-gel/mass spectrometry technology to provide speed, sensitivity and quality of proteomic analysis. The development is expected to accelerate the discovery of novel drug targets and disease biomarkers.
¿ Panacea Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Rockville, Md., said the National Institute of Aging of the National Institutes of Health awarded the company a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant. The grant will support the company¿s research and development activities aimed at developing therapeutic drugs for Parkinson¿s disease. The amount was undisclosed.
¿ Protein Polymer Technologies Inc., of San Diego, said it raised about $1.2 million from accredited and institutional investors through an initial closing of a private placement of convertible preferred stock and warrants. Included in the placement was $800,000 in convertible notes issued in March to certain previous PPTI shareholders. Participants included the Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., and previous shareholders. PPTI will use the proceeds for continued clinical development of its hydrogel technology and human clinical trials of an outpatient product designed to control or alleviate female stress urinary incontinence.
¿ Samaritan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Las Vegas, said Georgetown University granted the company an exclusive worldwide license to a patent that can be used as a tool to improve the detection of breast cancer. The patent, titled ¿Peripheral-type Benzodiazepine Receptor: A Tool for Detection, Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment of Human Breast Cancer,¿ identifies a protein named peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) responsible for part of the changes in cellular and molecular functions in the development and progression of breast cancer. Georgetown scientists have identified a correlation between high levels of PBR and tumor aggressiveness.
¿ Sicor Inc., of Irvine, Calif., purchased Biotechna U.A.B., of Vilnius, Lithuania. In connection with the acquisition, Sicor will issue 1.5 million shares of common stock and a warrant to purchase up to 150,000 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $3.50 per share. Sicor will assume approximately $30 million in debt. Biotechna develops and manufactures recombinant protein products and currently sells recombinant human interferon alpha-2b and human growth hormone in Asia, Eastern Europe and Mexico. It is developing other biopharmaceutical products.
¿ SkyePharma plc, of London, 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. SkyePharma received a $10 million signing fee and will receive milestone payments on the commercialization of DepoCyte and additional milestones after reaching certain sales targets. The company said milestone payments could reach $13 million. DepoCyte is indicated for the treatment of lymphomatous meningitis.
¿ The House Judiciary Committee, by an 18-11 margin, approved legislation that would prohibit human cloning. H.R.2505, introduced by Reps. David Weldon (R-Fla.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), would provide for a comprehensive ban on human cloning. The committee said the legislation could be considered by the full House as early as next week. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) introduced similar legislation (S. 790) in the Senate.
¿ VaxGen Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., said it finalized an agreement with BBI Biotech, a subsidiary of Boston Biomedica Inc., of West Bridgewater, Mass., to collect, process and store white blood cells and seminal plasma in VaxGen¿s Phase III trial of its AIDS vaccine in North America and Europe. If the trial of AIDSVAX proves effective, the project will investigate cellular immune responses and cellular factors associated with the vaccine in collected human tissue and cell samples. VaxGen will receive $488,750 over the life of the program under a subcontract with BBI, which is funding the work under a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases contract.