¿ 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Exton, Pa., said Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, completed its purchase of seven ThermoFluor high-throughput screening workstations. ThermoFluor measures drug-binding affinity through changes in the melting temperature of proteins. The companies are working together under agreements announced in 2000. (See BioWorld Today, July 12, 2000.)
¿ Aerogen Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., said its board approved the adoption of a stockholders rights plan under which all stockholders of record as of June 26, will receive rights to purchase shares of a new series of preferred stock. The plan is designed to enable all Aerogen stockholders to realize the full value of their investment and to provide for fair and equal treatment for all stockholders in the event that an unsolicited attempt is made to acquire Aerogen.
¿ Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, of Piscataway, N.J., entered an early access agreement with the Center for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at the University of Texas at Dallas and the Alliance for Cellular Signaling, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. The agreement calls for Amersham to provide both with its Ettan integrated proteomics systems. The technology provided the institutions includes 2-D electrophoresis systems for protein separation and spot picker and digester systems for handing proteins of interest.
¿ Antisoma plc, of London, said following a meeting with the FDA that it is extending its recruitment in the Phase III SMART study of pemtumomab, formerly Theragyn, in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Recruitment has reached the initial target of 300. At a meeting Tuesday, the FDA advised Antisoma that the level of statistical significance should be increased to a ¿p¿ value less than 0.01, up from the original study design of less than 0.05. Due to this, the total number of patients required to demonstrate the revised level of statistical significance has risen from 80 to 116. The number of patients to be added has not been determined. The company said the projected date of filing for any marketing approval is now unlikely to be before 2004.
¿ Avecia Biotechnology, of Billingham, UK, said it entered a licensing agreement for patented bacterial cell expression system technology with XOMA Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., that will expand its capabilities for biotechnology contract manufacturing. The agreement, Avecia said, adds to its ability to cover the widest range of microbial systems in helping its customers identify and develop the right microbial expression technology for new protein therapeutics. The licensed technology includes the araB promoter system, the pelB secretion system and a genetically engineered E. coli host-cell line. Financial terms were undisclosed.
¿ Corvas International Inc., of San Diego, completed the planned enrollment for the multicenter Phase IIa safety trial of its injectable anticoagulant, recombinant Nematode Anticoagulant Protein c2 (rNAPc2), in patients undergoing elective percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Final results, the company said, will be available later this year.
¿ Cytomation Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., closed a $14 million private placement with undisclosed U.S. and international investors. The capital will allow the company to expand its business of providing enabling technologies for life sciences research. Cytomation designs and manufactures high-performance MoFlo Cytometers and ultra-high-speed cell sorters.
¿ Epimmune Inc., of San Diego, received a Small Business Innovation Research grant to continue its work with the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center to develop a malaria vaccine. The grant from the National Institutes of Health will support the continuation of earlier grant-funded work using Epimmune¿s Epitope Identification System and ImmunoSense technology to identify and select T-cell epitopes expressed by the malaria parasite. The grant amount was undisclosed. It will fund efforts to design a single, multiepitope vaccine and optimize its ability to stimulate an immune response against malaria.
¿ Exact Sciences Corp., of Maynard, Mass., said a study published in the June 6, 2001, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute demonstrates the viability of using stool as a source of human DNA for the possible detection of colon cancer. DNA from colorectal cancer cells shed into stool provides the means for early detection of disease using the noninvasive approach, it said. Exact said the data supported the potential application of molecular approaches for the early detection of colorectal cancer.
¿ Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, and its subsidiary, Artemis Pharmaceuticals GmbH, of Cologne, Germany, completed the Tuebingen 2000 Screen, the largest vertebrate genetic screening project ever conducted, the companies said. More than 10 million zebrafish were examined for mutations affecting several organs and systems. More than 6,500 fish were identified with alterations in the heart, blood, blood vessels, bone, cartilage, nervous systems and immune system. Exelixis said it is now possible to systemically analyze every gene in a vertebrate for its impact on organ structure and function as well as disease processes. Exelixis¿ stock (NASDAQ:EXEL) rose $2.13 Wednesday, or about 14 percent, to close at $17.16.
¿ Genicon Sciences Corp., of San Diego, completed a $5 million second closing of its Series D financing. The first round closed May 2 and totaled $27 million. Investors in the second closing were TVM Life Science Ventures and IngleWood Ventures LP. (See BioWorld Today, May 3, 2001.)
¿ Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., said components of its GeneTAC Biochip System have been purchased by a research organization in India through Genomic Solutions¿ distribution partner, PerkinElmer Life Sciences, a division of PerkinElmer Inc., of Boston. The Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore will use the GeneTAC G3 Library Management System for arraying, colony picking, gridding and replication in the production of DNA microarrays. Financial details were not provided.
¿ GPC Biotech Inc., the Boston operation of GPC Biotech, of Martinsried, Germany, said it moved operations from its current facility to an expanded facility in Waltham, Mass. The 84,000-square-foot facility in Waltham will, GPC said, provide space for the expansion of GPC¿s nine internal drug discovery programs and for the further development of its integrated technology platform.
¿ Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Baltimore, said the FDA accepted for review its supplemental new drug application seeking to expand the indication for its Gliadel Wafer (polifeprosan 20 with carmustine implant) to include first-line therapy in patients with newly diagnosed malignant glioma. Gliadel Wafer received marketing approval from the FDA in September 1996 for treatment of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 26, 1996.)
¿ ImmuCell Corp., of Portland, Maine, was awarded a one-year, $196,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to augment development of ImmuCell¿s Nisin-based mastitis treatment, Mast Out. ImmuCell also was awarded a $70,000 grant over 18 months from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund a portion of clinical trial expenses related to a dry-cow application of the technology.
¿ InforMax Inc., of Bethesda, Md., said its board adopted a stockholders rights plan. The plan stipulates one stock purchase right will be granted as a dividend at the rate of one right for each share of common stock held of record on the close of business on June 14. The plan is designed to deter coercive or unfair takeover tactics.
¿ IntegriDerm Inc., of Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research grant of $177,165. This is the second NIH grant for IntegriDerm since it began operations in 1999. It focuses on genomics research in dermatology and drug discovery for skin-care products.
¿ Invitrogen Corp., of San Diego, said it launched TOPO Tools, for molecular biology research. TOPO Tools allow for genes to be modified with regulatory elements and inserted into cells for protein expression without any bacterial steps, the company said.
¿ Large Scale Biology Corp., of Vacaville, Calif., said results of the first version of its Human Protein Index include the identification of proteins whose detection in the blood may provide a signal of disease or damage to source tissues. It also said its program with Biosite Diagnostics Inc., of San Diego, to create the first protein chips initially will focus on cardiovascular diseases and liver toxicology.
¿ Luminex Corp., of Austin, Texas, entered a multiyear partnership with Research and Diagnostic Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Techne Corp., to develop and market reagents based on Luminex¿s LabMAP technology. R&D Systems gets a worldwide nonexclusive license to develop and distribute reagents in return for an up-front payment and royalties. R&D Systems initially will develop, manufacture and market the Fluorokine MAP line of multianalyte profiling kits for use with the Luminex 100 analyzer.
¿ MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., expanded the clinical development of MEDI-507 to include psoriasis patients in Europe. It has begun dosing patients in its European Phase II study, the second Phase II expected to be conducted in 2001. The trial will enroll approximately 120 patients who have plaque psoriasis involving at least 10 percent body surface area and a minimum Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score of eight. MEDI-507 is a humanized monoclonal antibody that has the potential to selectively suppress the immune system.
¿ ProLinia Inc., of Athens, Ga., said it obtained rights to nonexclusively license nuclear transfer technology from Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., for agricultural applications. ProLinia will gain access to Geron¿s current and future issued patents and patent applications covering nuclear transfer for use in swine worldwide and bovine everywhere except Australia and New Zealand.
¿ Protarga Inc., of King of Prussia, Pa., said it commenced a multicenter Phase II study of Taxoprexin DHA-paclitaxel for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma. The first patients were treated at the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center. DHA-paclitaxel is a synthetic small molecule made by chemically linking paclitaxel to the natural fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid.
¿ Shimadzu Biotech, a unit of Shimadzu Corp., of Kyoto, Japan, presented the development of a new pulsed ion extraction technique, known as Mass Correlated Acceleration. The technology has been licensed exclusively to Kratos Analytical and will be incorporated into its Axima range of Maldi mass spectrometers later this year. The announcement was made at the 49th Annual ASMS Conference.
¿ Stressgen Biotechnologies Corp., of Victoria, British Columbia, said data presented at the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Annual Meeting suggest that HspE7 may be active in treating genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus. The observations were made during Stressgen¿s Phase II trial in anal dysplasia, where 14 of the first 22 patients enrolled at one center also had genital warts. At six months, 13 of 14 patients responded to HspE7. Of the total patients reported, 10 of 14 had warts reduced in size 70 percent to 95 percent and three of 14 had complete resolution. The responses are not HPV-16 specific, indicating HspE7 activity crosses multiple HPV types, the company said.
¿ Structural GenomiX Inc., of San Diego, said an article in the June 6, 2001, issue of Structure described the structure and mechanism of action of LuxS, an enzyme involved in the virulence of many bacteria. SGX combined genomics and its high-throughput structure determination technology to determine the crystal structure of three orthologs of LuxS.
¿ The Center d¿Immunologie Pierre Fabre, of Paris, entered a worldwide licensing agreement with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, of Lausanne, Switzerland, for the development of a melanoma vaccine involving the Melan-A/Mart-1-derived peptide ELA. Researchers plan to develop a melanoma vaccine constituted of an adjuvant protein and a melanoma-specific antigen.
¿ The City of Biotechnology and Human Health of Metropolitan Montreal, of Laval, Quebec, was created by the Quebec government, Investissement Quebec, the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Laval Technopole and the City of Laval. Biotech City will have specialized centers for research, learning, commercial development, incubation and accommodating biotech and biopharmaceutical companies. The project is supported by a total investment of C$250 million (US$163.9 million), and is located on the INRS¿s Armand-Frappier campus.
¿ Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said results from its hemophilia A gene therapy investigation are published in the June 7, 2001, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The Phase I study demonstrated that the nonviral ex vivo gene therapy system delivering Factor VIII to patients with severe hemophilia A was safe and well tolerated over one year of monitoring in the first six treated patients. The report, TKT said, also provides evidence that the therapy may be a practical treatment for this patient population and may be effective in reducing the occurrence of spontaneous bleeding.
¿ Trimeris Inc., of Durham, N.C., and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., said research done by their scientists suggest the antiviral activities of the HIV fusion inhibitor T-20, and the second-generation fusion inhibitor T-1249, may be unaffected by resistance to any currently approved antiretroviral classes. The data were presented at the 5th International Workshop on Drug Resistance and Treatment Strategies, held in Scottsdale, Ariz. Also presented were data highlighting T-20-resistant mutations and their ability to decrease the replicative capacity of the virus.
¿ Versicor Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said it will receive a milestone payment from Pharmacia Corp., of Peapack, N.J., in connection with the initiation of clinical development of one of the compounds from the companies¿ ongoing collaboration centered on oxazolidinone antibiotics. Under the agreement entered in April 1999, worth about $30 million, Pharmacia will conduct preclinical testing on compounds prepared by a joint research team. Products from the collaboration will be clinically developed and commercialized by Pharmacia, and Versicor will receive royalties and milestones on sales. (See BioWorld Today, April 6, 1999.)