¿ AlphaGene Inc., of Woburn, Mass., discovered a novel member of the human carcinoembryonic antigen subgroup, AG128375, in prostate tissue. The company said the antigen might provide a more reliable marker for prostate cancer than prostate specific antigen. Other antigens in the subgroup are used as biomarkers for colon cancer, and can be measured in serum and tissue.
¿ AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., presented results from its Phase I study of its BrevaRex MAb demonstrating the antibody¿s ability to elicit cancer-killing B- and T-cell immune responses to the target antigen, MUC1. The company is in the process of advancing BrevaRex into a Phase I/II trial for treatment of multiple myeloma based on the success of this Phase I safety and immunology trial.
¿ Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., filed an investigational new drug application to study the use of Atrisone in treatment of atopic dermatitis. Atrisone, a combination of dapsone and Atrix¿s SMP (solvent microparticle system) delivery technology, is in a pivotal Phase III trial for treatment of moderate to severe acne and a Phase I proof-of-concept study for treatment of itch associated with healing severe burn wounds.
¿ Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, said the anticancer drug arsenic trioxide is the subject of a supplement to The Oncologist (Vol. 6, Suppl. 2, 2001). The drug, named Trisenox, is approved for treatment of relapsed or refractory acute promyelocytic leukemia and is under investigation for further cancer indications.
¿ Cel-Sci Corp., of Baltimore, said the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland will begin Phase I trials of Multikine in patients with cervical cancer. University officials said the trial will focus on women infected with both human papillomavirus and HIV.
¿ Compugen Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, will participate in the Gene Ontology Consortium. The consortium is engaged in creating a common language for describing genes and their functions.
¿ Elitra Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said it completely sequenced the genome of Aspergillus fumigatus, with 10-fold coverage. Elitra contracted the work from Celera Genomics Group, of Rockville, Md.
¿ Enzon Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., initiated patient dosing in a Phase I trial of PEG-paclitaxel. The trial is designed to evaluate PEG-paclitaxel¿s safety, tolerability and pharmacology in up to 40 patients with advanced solid tumors and lymphomas.
¿ Hybridon Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., presented data from studies on the company¿s CpG-like oligonucleotides, which are designed to modulate the immune system, for use as vaccine adjuvants or alone to stimulate the immune system. The results presented in a poster presentation indicated that site-specific introduction of nonionic linkages in synthetic oligonucleotides containing the CpG-motif modulates cytokine induction and, through that modulation, the immunostimulatory activity of the agents.
¿ Illumina Inc., of San Diego, said its board adopted a stockholders rights plan and declared a dividend of one preferred stock purchase right on each outstanding share of its common stock. The rights plan is designed to ensure fair and equal treatment of stockholders in the event of proposed takeovers, and to protect against coercive takeover tactics.
¿ Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., entered a collaboration with Genomic Health Inc., also of Palo Alto, to utilize Incyte¿s genomic and proteomic databases, functional genomics technologies and intellectual property. Genomic Health will get access to Incyte¿s LifeSeq Gold and BioKnowledge databases. Though financial terms were undisclosed, the company said terms are similar to other unrelated third-party agreements, and Incyte also participated in Genomic Health¿s last round of financing.
¿ Large Scale Biology Corp., of Vacaville, Calif., said its board adopted a shareholders rights plan designed to protect the long-term value of the company in the event of an unsolicited acquisition attempt. The plan gives the board sufficient time to study and respond to any unsolicited tender offer or other attempted acquisition.
¿ Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, entered a broad collaboration with F. Hoffmann-La Roche, of Basel, Switzerland, for the creation and development of human antibody therapeutics. Roche gets access to Genmab¿s antibody development capabilities and its preclinical and clinical development capabilities. Genmab will receive milestone and royalty payments on successful products, and under certain circumstances could receive rights to develop products based on disease targets identified by Roche. Genmab will use Medarex Inc.¿s UltiMAb platform for human antibody generation against targets identified by Roche. The first three targets already have been identified, and the projects will be under the auspices of a joint Roche-Genmab Research Committee. Medarex, of Princeton, N.J., owns part of Genmab.
¿ MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it plans to begin construction on a new headquarters in Montgomery County, Md. The company estimates the cost of the new building at $70 million, and said it will provide 210,000 square feet of research, development, marketing and administrative space. MedImmune expects to begin transitioning into the building near the end of 2002.
¿ MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, initiated a Phase II trial of irofulven, its anticancer agent, as a single-agent treatment for advanced/metastatic soft tissue sarcoma. Objective tumor response is the trial¿s primary endpoint, and the trial also will measure duration of response, time to disease progression and overall survival as secondary endpoints.
¿ NeoRx Corp., of Seattle, said its Phase I/II STR (skeletal targeted radiotherapy) trial in multiple myeloma was updated at the International Myeloma Workshop Meetings in Banff, Alberta. Of the 75 evaluable patients, the company said, 32 patients are in complete remission.
¿ NewBiotics Inc., of San Diego, named Thomas Mizelle CEO. Mizelle succeeds Roger Headrick, who becomes NewBiotics¿ board chairman.
¿ Proteome Systems Inc., of Sydney, Australia, and Sigma-Aldrich Corp., of St. Louis, entered an agreement granting Sigma-Aldrich manufacturing and distribution rights to products developed in collaboration. The products include ProteoPrep, a line of sample preparation kits. ProteoPrep will be the first product launched through the collaboration.
¿ Sangamo BioSciences Inc., of Richmond, Calif., said it has now regulated more than 300 endogenous human genes. The genes cover potential drug targets from 17 function areas including G protein-coupled receptors, ion channels, kinases, phosphatases and nuclear hormone receptors. Sangamo scientists regulated the genes using the company¿s proprietary zinc-finger DNA-binding protein transcription factor technology.
¿ V.I. Technologies Inc., of Watertown, Mass., and Oxford University, of Oxford, UK, entered a licensing agreement for RNA ligand technology developed by the university. The agreement grants V.I. exclusive rights to Oxford¿s technology, which is designed to selectively bind to prions, which cause bovine spongiform encephalitis, or mad cow disease, and its related human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.