¿ Aastrom Biosciences Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit established the Center for Cell Therapy (CCT). The CCT initially is being funded through a $2.2 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation by the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor Initiative, along with contributions from the institute and Aastrom. The new center will focus on the acceleration of new cell therapies to treat cancer and other diseases.
¿ Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said that Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., advanced a fully human antibody, generated with Abgenix technology, into clinical trials. The research collaboration began in 1999 for Abgenix to use its technology to develop fully human monoclonal antibodies to undisclosed antigen targets supplied by Amgen. This milestone triggers an undisclosed payment to Abgenix. Amgen is responsible for product development, manufacturing and marketing of products generated through the collaboration.
¿ Alpha Therapeutic Corp., of Los Angeles, said that as a result of a recent inspection by the FDA, the company will begin distributing albumin product lots manufactured since February 2001, when the company resumed operations at the North Filling suite at its Los Angeles plant. Albumin is a plasma therapy used in emergency settings to treat shock. The company said the decision means it is fully operational and is distributing its entire product portfolio, which also includes coagulation factors for bleeding disorders and immune globulin for primary immune deficiencies.
¿ AlphaGene Inc., of Woburn, Mass., formed an alliance with the Lahey Clinic, of Burlington, Mass., to study the molecular genetics of prostate cancer. The agreement initially will investigate the role of prostate-specific carcinoembryonic antigen as a diagnostic and prognostic market. The collaboration also will examine additional genomic and proteomic methods to understand the molecular biology of prostate cancer and possible treatment- monitoring protocols.
¿ Antisoma plc, of London, signed a cooperation and supply agreement for Thioplatin with W.C. Heraeus GmbH & Co. KG, of Hanau, Germany, a manufacturer specializing in precious metal compounds. Thioplatin is a platinum-based compound used for killing cancer cells. The agreement is the result of a feasibility study that established a new synthetic route for the compound and ensures clinical supplies through to any eventual marketed product, according to Antisoma. Antisoma said Thioplatin is on track to begin clinical studies in 2002.
¿ COR Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, sold an additional $50 million principal amount of 4.5 percent convertible senior notes, due 2006, to cover overallotments in its $250 million private placement to institutional investors. Gross proceeds from the offering now stand at $300 million. (See BioWorld Today, June 5, 2001.)
¿ Curis Inc., Genzyme Biosurgery and Genzyme Molecular Oncology, all of Cambridge, Mass., were added to the Russell 2000 Index and Russell 3000 Index.
¿ Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, launched its genomics program for the discovery of novel diagnostic tools and drug targets for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). The program will include collecting and evaluating blood samples and phenotypic data such as medical treatment history from FMS patients. The company said it intends to create a substantial database of genetic information from well-characterized FMS patients for analysis.
¿ Exact Sciences Corp., of Maynard, Mass., and Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, of Burlington, N.C., signed an agreement for the licensing of Exact¿s proprietary genomics-based technologies to LabCorp. Under the agreement, for a specific length of time, LabCorp will be the only national clinical laboratory to offer testing services based on certain Exact Science technology for the detection of colorectal cancer. Exact will receive an up-front payment and licensing fees on the amount of testing performed.
¿ Kosan Biosciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif., was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. The two-year, $555,000 grant was awarded to Kosan to develop a novel class of macrolide antibiotics.
¿ La Jolla Pharmaceutical Inc., of San Diego, presented additional data confirming that disease-causing antibodies from patients with antibody-mediated thrombosis primarily bind to a specific region of a key protein involved in blood clotting. The company said the discovery was an important step in defining its experimental LJP 1082 drug candidate for the treatment of antibody-mediated thrombosis. Following the completion of toxicology studies, the company plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA.
¿ Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said that its publicly traded redeemable warrants expired at the close of trading on Tuesday. The warrants were issued with the company¿s initial public offering in 1996. Prior to the expiration, each warrant was exercisable for one share of common stock. The expiration of the warrants reduced Maxim¿s fully diluted number of shares outstanding by approximately 1.1 million shares. The company currently has 25.4 million shares outstanding.
¿ Synsorb Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, received a further milestone payment from MDS Proteomics Inc., of Toronto, relating to the sale of Synsorb¿s former subsidiary, INH Technologies Inc. Under the terms of the March 2000 sale, originally made to MDS Sciex and later assigned to MDS Proteomics, Synsorb received an up-front payment and could receive up to $1 million in milestone payments as well as royalty and other related payments on consumable and licensed items and technology. The milestone payment was triggered by the issuance of two Japanese patents on the intellectual property position of INH in the field of high-throughput screening.
¿ Trimeris Inc., of Durham, N.C., and F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, had data evaluating patient acceptance of the subcutaneous administration of T-20, an investigational HIV fusion inhibitor being jointly developed by the companies, presented at the First International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The data from a substudy of the T-20-205 Phase II trial suggested the delivery was well tolerated by patients over the 48 weeks. Additional data from a poster session indicated that T-20 can be administered via subcutaneous injections delivered as one 90-mg dose twice daily, instead of two twice-daily injections.
¿ Trinity Medical Group USA Inc., of Ranch Santa Margarita, Calif., said clinical studies showing random genotype testing in patients using its immune-based therapy for HIV, Remune (licensed from The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif.), did not experience mutation of the virus. After 144 weeks, the study found that the genotyping using nucleic acid sequencing techniques of 1,200 base pairs suggested no mutation of the virus that confers resistance and no evidence of an overgrowth in HIV-1 drug-resistant strains.