¿ Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., and CuraGen Corp., of New Haven, Conn., said CuraGen scientists discovered an additional 49 novel drug targets against which the companies have jointly elected to develop antibodies. The companies entered their collaboration in 1999 and expanded it in November. In August 2000, they announced discovery of 24 targets. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 10, 1999; Aug. 16, 2000; and Nov. 29, 2000.)
¿ Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., began a Phase Ib/II study of its lead compound, ACH-126,443 (beta-LFd4C), for treating chronic hepatitis B infection. The double-blind, multicenter trial will examine multiple doses of the drug administered once a day for two weeks in about 36 chronic HBV patients. Phase I studies showed attractive safety and pharmacokinetic characteristics, the company said.
¿ Antex Biologics Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., reported that immunization with its new Chlamydia trachomatis vaccine demonstrated protection against infertility in animals. Ninety percent of mice not immunized became infertile. Based on these results and other preclinical trials, the company said it expects to begin clinical trials next year.
¿ Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, saw its stock fall 23 percent Tuesday after releasing second-quarter results. The company reported a loss for the period of $2.1 million , or 9 cents per share, excluding charges, missing analysts¿ projections. The stock (NASDAQ:ARNA) fell $7.40 Tuesday to close at $24.60.
¿ Artecel Sciences Inc., of Durham, N.C., received two Small Business Innovation Research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The grants, totaling $338,000, will be used to advance the company¿s research programs using adipose tissue as a source of adult stem cells for clinical applications. The funding will help Artecel expand its technology, which is designed to isolate, expand and differentiate human adipose-derived adult stem cells into a variety of cell types, including fat, bone cartilage, smooth muscle and cells found in the nervous system.
¿ Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., filed a preliminary prospectus with the SEC relating to a proposed public offering of 3 million shares, which would raise about $76 million based on Atrix¿s opening price Tuesday. A shelf registration covering the securities has been filed and declared effective by the SEC. Underwriting the offering are Banc of America Securities LLC, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, CIBC World Markets Corp. and Gruntal & Co. LLC. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 16, 2001.)
¿ CombiMatrix Corp., a unit of Acacia Research Corp., of Pasadena, Calif., and Roche Diagnostics, of Basel, Switzerland, early this month entered into a nonexclusive worldwide license, supply, research and development agreement under which Roche will purchase, use and resell CombiMatrix¿s biochips and related technology for rapid production of customizable biochips. The deal includes an undisclosed revenue-sharing arrangement and has a term of 15 years. Roche will make minimum payments for three years.
¿ Enzon Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., initiated patient dosing in a Phase II trial for Prothecan (PEG-camptothecin) in patients with small-cell lung cancer. The trial is an open-label study that will enroll up to 60 patients to evaluate Prothecan¿s antitumor activity. The company plans to initiate additional Phase II trials in non-small-cell lung and other cancers with Prothecan as both a single agent and in combination with other oncolytic agents. Data from ongoing Phase I trials show that biologically relevant plasma concentrations of free camptothecin are sustained for up to 168 hours after a single dose of Prothecan, and antitumor activity has been observed.
¿ Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, said its joint venture with the crop protection group of Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer AG, Genoptera LLC, has delivered several additional novel insecticide targets for assay development and subsequent high-throughput screening to Bayer. The targets were developed using Exelixis¿ genomics-based technology. The delivery of these targets triggers undisclosed milestones to Exelixis. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 12, 2000.)
¿ Immunicon Corp., of Huntington Valley, Pa., said it received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the NIH/NCI to support development of technology that enumerates circulating cancer cells in peripheral blood from patients with carcinomas. The work is expected to have diagnostic applications. The grant amount was not disclosed.
¿ Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, was awarded a manufacturing project to produce the adenoviral reference material to be used by companies and academic institutions developing adenovirus-based products. The Adenoviral Reference Material Working Group of the Williamsburg BioProcessing Foundation, of Virginia Beach, Va., granted two competitive awards to Introgen. The FDA advised on the award grants. The company will manufacture approximately 5,000 vials of adenovirus reference material, which will be stores at the American Type Culture Collection in Manassas, Va.
¿ Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, delivered to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of Princeton, N.J., the third installment of the LexVision database containing in vivo mammalian gene function information for potential new drug targets. The installment, delivered during the second quarter, triggered a further payment from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which was Lexicon¿s first collaborator for the LexVision program in September 2000.
¿ Matrix Pharmaceutical Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA on Sept. 10 will review the company¿s IntraDose Injectable Gel, an investigational product to treat recurrent or refractory head and neck cancer. Matrix submitted the final portion of a new drug application to the FDA for IntraDose on Jan. 4.
¿ MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, and ProChon Biotech Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, reported the discovery of a novel antibody lead resulting from their collaboration, which began in June 2000. The antibody, representing a class of drug candidates selected from MorphoSys¿ HuCAL antibody libraries, was demonstrated by ProChon to block the function of mutated, overactive forms of human growth factor receptors. The mutated forms are associated with inherited skeletal disorders and have been linked to tumor progression and prognosis in several types of cancer. ProChon filed a patent to protect the rights to the discovery.
¿ QLT Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Novartis Ophthalmics, the eye care unit of Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, expanded their alliance to co-develop photodynamic therapy with verteporfin to treat skin cancer and other dermatological conditions. Novartis will fund future development costs of verteporfin up to C$15 million (US$9.7 million), after which they will share development costs and profits. QLT can receive milestones of C$2.5 million for the first regulatory filing and approval. The Phase III program is expected to begin early in 2002. The product, also known as Visudyne, already is approved and marketed by Novartis for age-related macular degeneration.
¿ Lorus Therapeutics Inc., of Toronto, said GTI-2040, its lead antisense drug, demonstrated antitumor activity in animal models with human lymphoma tumors. The company said that GTI-2040 was shown to be well tolerated in preclinical and clinical trials, and is entering multiple Phase II clinical trials this year.
¿ The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, of White Plains, N.Y., will award $22.5 million in grants to three interdisciplinary research teams for projects aimed at rapidly accelerating the discovery of breakthrough treatments for blood-related cancers through its Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) program. The grants include two U.S.-based SCOR centers, to be located at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University in New York, and at the University of Pennsylvania/Children¿s Hospital of Philadelphia. SCOR¿s first international research center will be located at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia.