¿ AcroMetrix Corp., of Benicia, Calif., received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The grant will support research aimed at developing molecular standards for hepatitis B and hepatitis C genotyping.
¿ AEterna Laboratories Inc., of Quebec City, Quebec, said a class of molecules isolated from Neovastat, its Phase III antiangiogenic compound, exhibit potent anti-angiogenic activity. AEterna said the discovery confirms its hypothesis that Neovastat¿s mechanism of action is triggered by multiple molecules. AEterna has filed patent applications in the U.S. regarding the composition of matter and methods of use related to disease treatment for the molecules.
¿ Amaxa GmbH, of Cologne, Germany, completed its second financing round for a total funding of EUR13 million (US$11.6 million). Investors included 3i Group Investments LP, of the UK; NRW Fonds GmbH, of Germany; and Technomedia Kapitalbeteiligungsgesellshaft Koln mbH, also of Germany. The company, which focuses on the development and marketing of gene transfer technologies, will use the funding to market its Nucleofector technology, a nonviral gene transfer method, and to accelerate its pipeline projects.
¿ Anika Therapeutics Inc., of Woburn, Mass., named Douglas Potter CEO, replacing Melville Engle, who resigned his positions of president and CEO and relinquished his seat on the board. Engle will move back to California with his family.
¿ BD Biosciences, of Franklin Lakes, N.J., a division of Becton, Dickinson and Co., and Dyax Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., established a relationship to discover antibodies using Dyax's phage display technology. BDB has obtained rights to antibodies identified using Dyax's human antibody library and screening technology. BDB will have the exclusive right to market the Dyax antibodies as research products to the life science market. Dyax retains all rights to use these antibodies in the therapeutic field. Each company has the right to collaborate with others to develop proteomics products using the antibodies. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Exact Sciences Corp., of Maynard, Mass., appointed current president Don Hardison CEO. Hardison joined Exact in May 2000. He has experience in general management, marketing and business development with several companies, including SmithKline Beecham plc and Quest Diagnostics Inc.
¿ Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said its monoclonal antibody targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr), HuMax-EGFr, demonstrated potent antitumor effects in in vivo mouse studies. Genmab expects to begin human trials with HuMax-EGFr later this year.
¿ Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., introduced GeneTAC RA-1, a high-performance benchtop microarrayer for high-throughput gene expression analysis. The instrument is the latest addition to Genomic Solutions¿ GeneTAC Biochip System, a suite of automated instruments designed to increase the productivity of genomics researchers.
¿ Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass., re-launched the 800-mg tablet formulation of Renagel (sevelamer hydrochloride). Production restraints and higher-than-expected demand for the 800-mg formulation caused a temporary shortage earlier this year, forcing patients to shift an equivalent dose using 400-mg tablets or 403-mg capsules. Genzyme increased its production capacity and built a ¿substantial¿ inventory of the 800-mg tablets.
¿ Guidant Corp., of Indianapolis, Ind., treated the first Japanese patients with intravascular radiotherapy as a part of the company¿s GALILEO Japan Registry. The GALILEO Intravascular Radiotherapy System is designed to reduce reblockages in coronary arteries by applying a dose of radiation to the artery.
¿ ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., donated 700 vials of its antiviral drug, Virazole (ribavirin, intravenous), to help the World Health Organization fight an outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in Kosovo, Yugoslavia. Virazole has been clinically shown to reduce mortality among patients infected with Korean hemorrhagic fever, the company said.
¿ MediChem Life Sciences Inc., of Chicago, said its structural proteomics division, Emerald BioStructures, was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant, titled ¿Crystallization Tools for Structural Genomics,¿ will fund Emerald¿s continued development of its protein crystallization process, EmeraldEngine.
¿ Merlin Biosciences Ltd., of London, said it invested #2.5 million (US$3.45 million) in Amedis Pharmaceuticals, of the UK, through the Merlin Biosciences Fund. Amedis provides technologies and products for the improvement of the medicinal properties of drugs. The financing was part of a #4 million round for Amedis that included Avlar BioVentures Fund I, TTP Venture Fund and Andy Richards.
¿ Novogen Ltd., of Stamford, Conn., said preliminary evidence from a study of the company¿s anticancer drug, phenoxodiol, indicates the drug inhibits sphingosine kinase, an enzyme that¿s been shown to promote many solid cancers. Phenoxodiol is currently in a Phase Ib/IIa trial in Australia, and a Phase Ib trial is slated to begin within 30 days.
¿ Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., closed its 5.95-million-share offering with new and existing shareholders priced at $6 per share for gross proceeds to the company of about $35.7 million. Orchid will use the proceeds to launch products from its single nucleotide polymorphism scoring products and services program, pay for its Platform Propagation expenses, and fund its Pharmaceutical Value Creation business. (See BioWorld Today, June 7, 2001.)
¿ Orphan Medical Inc., of Minneapolis, said the Commission of the European Communities granted orphan drug designation to Orphan Medical's fomepizole formulation in the treatment of methanol poisoning. The product is marketed in the U.S. as Antizol. Also, the company said it received a priority review for its supplemental new drug submission in Canada for the treatment of methanol poisoning. Antizol was recently launched in Canada for the treatment of ethylene glycol poisoning by Paladin Labs, Orphan Medical's Canadian marketing partner.
¿ Screentec BV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, raised EUR6.5 million (US$5.54 million) in its first round of financing. The round, which included Life Science Partners, of Amsterdam; Prelude Trust, of Cambridge, UK; and Alafi Capital, of Berkeley, Calif., will likely fund Screentec¿s focus, screening and validating orphan receptors and the discovery of endogenous orphan ligands.
¿ Shearwater Corp., of Huntsville, Ala., said it is entitled to a milestone payment from Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., related to Amgen¿s filing of a biologics license application to the FDA for pegfilgrastim, Amgen¿s sustained-duration Neupogen. Shearwater supplies the proprietary 20kDa polyethylene glycol derivative used in pegfilgrastim¿s manufacture.
¿ Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Andover, UK, and corporate partner Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said they will initiate enrollment in a Phase II study of CX516 (Ampakine CX516) in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The double-blind, randomized, four-week trial is designed to evlaute the safety and efficacy of the compound compared to placebo in 114 adults with ADHD. The trial is expected to reach completion in about a year.
¿ Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., initiated patient dosing in a Phase I/II trial of its human Del-1 gene medicine, VLTS-589, for angiogenesis. The open-label, multicenter, dose-escalating trial aims to evaluate the safety and maximum tolerable dose of the Del-1 gene medicine in patients with peripheral arterial disease where patients suffer from a blockage of the blood vessels in their legs.
¿ Varian Medical Systems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it entered a sole source agreement to provide advanced radiotherapy systems to outpatient cancer centers managed by Salick Health Care Inc. The three-year contract covers equipment and software related to Varian¿s SmartBeam IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) system.
¿ Zonagen Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, presented results from its Phase II study of the combination oral product Bimexes to the Latin American Congress of Impotency in Rio de Janeiro. The 44-patient study, designed to compare Bimexes¿ efficacy and safety in three different oral combinations to the highest approved dose of Viagra (sildenafil citrate), produced data that indicated the treatment produced a significant effect in the primary efficacy variable against the placebo run-in period, though it produced no statistically significant differences between the treatments.