¿ GroPep Ltd., of Adelaide, Australia, started a trial to test the safety and dose tolerance of a new treatment for severe mouth ulcers, one of the major side effects of high-dose chemotherapy. GroPep, which specializes in identifying and using growth factors, will be testing the liquid mouthwash known as WGFE-a on six patients undergoing chemotherapy at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne. GroPep¿s WGFE-a is, in essence, a form of milk enriched with a number of naturally occurring growth factors known to be fundamental to the wound-healing process. Patients undergoing chemotherapy wash their mouth with this milk six times a day.
¿ MelTec GmbH, of Magdeburg, Germany, announced the publication of its Neuronal Cell Detection System (NCDS). MelTec¿s proprietary robotic imaging technology reads protein networks in the context of whole cells, making protein patterns inside cells and on cell surfaces visible. NCDS is a new algorithm, which enables researchers to identify protein patterns of individual immune cells that invade a tissue or organ, detects them even if they are inside the tissue. The study, titled ¿A Neural Classifier Enabling High-Throughput Topological Analysis of Lymphocytes in Tissue Section,¿ was published in the June 5, 2001, issue of the journal IEEE Transactions.
¿ Meristem Therapeutics, of Clermont-Ferrand, France, postponed its planned IPO on the Nouveau Marchi of the Euronext stock exchange in Paris, in which it hoped to raise at least EUR54 million (US$46 million). The company attributed the decision to the ¿continued deterioration in stock market conditions,¿ saying it had been postponed ¿despite the marked interest shown by European investors.¿ It added that it would seek a stock market listing ¿as soon as market conditions permit.¿
¿ Noxxon AG, of Berlin, said animal trials for the first time have shown proof of efficacy of spiegelmer molecules, which worked against hormone-related tumors in animal models. The trials for validation of technology were run in collaboration with the Berlin-based pharmaceutical company Schering AG. Noxxon said the trial results are a breakthrough for its platform technology. Spiegelmer molecules are mirror-image RNA or DNA oligonucleotides that can bind tightly and specifically to known targets. Spiegelmers are invulnerable to enzymes, Noxxon said, adding that it intends spiegelmers to be the next generation of high-affinity, high-specificity biological tools improving on small molecules, antibodies and traditional RNA and DNA oligonucleotides.
¿ MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said its ongoing collaboration with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, was extended for an additional four years. MorphoSys said it will generate fully human therapeutic antibodies against up to 10 targets provided by Bayer. The first milestone in the collaboration was achieved in February through MorphoSys¿ generation of a high-affinity antibody against an undisclosed Bayer target. The agreement also specifies other areas of collaboration including genomics research and diagnostics. In December 1999 both companies had agreed to collaborate for at least two years, with an option to extend the collaboration for an additional four years. The whole deal over the six-year period is now valued in the double-digit U.S. million-dollar range. MorphoSys currently collaborates with 11 companies. Separately, the company appointed Jvrg Reinhardt to its supervisory board. Reinhardt is a member of Novartis Pharma¿s executive board.
¿ Xantos Biomedicine AG, of Martinsried, Germany, appointed Christoph Hergersberg chief scientific officer. Hergersberg, who previously held senior positions with Roche Diagnostics and the former Boehringer Mannheim, takes over from Peter Buckel, who is also the company¿s CEO. Xantos also said that it received a DM2.5 million (US$1.1 million) grant from German Research Ministry¿s Biochance funding program. The grant is expected to fuel research on potential new drugs designed to trigger apoptosis (programmed destruction of cells) in cancer cells. Xantos scientists will be working on the project together with a research team from the University of T|bingen.