¿ Akzo Nobel, of Oss, the Netherlands, will acquire Covance Biotechnology Services Inc., of Princeton, N.J. in a cash transaction valued at $190 million. Akzo Nobel will complete the acquisition through its business unit, Dyosynth, in mid-2001. Covance expects to achieve net proceeds of about $100 million from the sale.
¿ Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., settled the first of three licensing disputes with Block Drug, a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London. The settlement resolves a pricing dispute over Atrix¿s periodontal product, Atridox, and provides payment to Atrix for sale of the product. Atrix said it intends to pursue settlement of further issues including Block¿s alleged failure to pay milestone payments following FDA approval for Atrisorb-D, a guided tissue regeneration barrier product.
¿ AxCell Biosciences Corp., of Princeton, N.J., said it will introduce its ProChart Database of protein interactions in the body in Europe this week. The database will include the results of AxCell¿s program to map all the interactions of one of the body¿s 60 to 80 protein domain families, the WW Protein Domain.
¿ Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, increased its ownership in PharmaNetics Inc., of Raleigh, N.C., from 7 percent to 19.9 percent. Bayer bought 1.45 million newly issued shares for $17.4 million. The agreement expands the distribution agreement in place between the companies, allowing Bayer to distribute PharmaNetics¿ Theranostic tests.
¿ BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., of Novato, Calif., said it is now ready to submit a biologics license application and a marketing authorization application for Aldurazyme, in the United States and Europe, respectively, after manufacturing five required process qualification lots of Aldurazyme. Aldurazyme is a recombinant human alpha-L-iduronidase being tested in a Phase III trial with BioMarin¿s joint venture partner, Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass., as enzyme replacement therapy for patients with mucopolysaccharidosis I.
¿ BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lincolnshire, Ill., said testing of its vaccine adjuvant and delivery system produced positive results. The trial, which used BioSante¿s CAP (calcium phosphate nanoparticles) as a vaccine adjuvant and delivery system, indicated CAP enhanced immune response better than alum, the only vaccine adjuvant approved for use in the U.S. The preclinical study results were presented at the Fourth Annual Conference on Vaccine Research in Arlington, Va.
¿ DoubleTwist Inc., of Oakland, Calif., said it would commercialize the GeneCards database of Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science, of Rehovot, Israel. DoubleTwist will have exclusive rights to license the GeneCards product to commercial entities and also integrate GeneCards into its online product. DoubleTwist will fund further development of GeneCards at the Wiezmann Institute. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Dynavax Technologies Corp., of Berkeley, Calif., withdrew its initial public offering. The company, which develops drugs for allergies, infectious diseases, cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases, aimed to raise up to $75 million.
¿ Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., said two research studies demonstrating the utility of telomerase in extending the functional lifespan of human cells in culture and in animals were published. One study, published in the April issue of FASEB Journal, showed telomerase immortalized cells from patients with Werner syndrome. The immortalized cells maintained the features of the genetic disorder, creating an unlimited supply of Werner¿s cells for research, the company said. The second study, published in the March issue of Nature Biotechnology, showed telomerase-immortalized human vascular cells formed functional vessels in vivo and responded normally to factors that alter blood vessel growth.
¿ Graffinity Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Heidelberg, Germany, and m-phasys GmbH, of Tubingen, Germany, entered an alliance aimed at G protein-coupled receptor drug discovery platform development and marketing. The companies¿ integrated platform will include m-phasys¿ M-FOLD refolding technology for GPCRs and Graffinity¿s chemical mircroarray-aided drug discovery technology. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
¿ Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, presented highlights from a study of HE2200, an immune regulating hormone, which demonstrated that the compound, when given to aged mice in conjunction with a hepatitis B vaccine, significantly improved immune response to the vaccine as measured by the amount of vaccine-specific antibody. The drug candidate also demonstrated a correction from the depressed cell-mediated immunity of aged mice to the level of younger mice.
¿ ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its subunit intranasal influenza vaccine acquired through its acquisition of Intellivax International Inc. proved safe and well tolerated in a human trial. Data from the trial also indicated the vaccine produced both mucosal and systemic immune responses.
¿ Neurogenetics Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., and Eisai Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, signed an exclusive agreement involving Alzheimer¿s disease targets. Neurogenetics granted Eisai first negotiation rights to collaborate on selected Alzheimer¿s disease drug discovery programs. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ ImClone Systems Inc., of New York, achieved a patient enrollment milestone in its agreement with Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, for the investigational cancer vaccine, BEC2. ImClone reached the halfway mark in its study enrollment in its multinational Phase III trial of BEC2 in patients with limited disease, small-cell lung carcinoma. Merck is co-promoter and is co-sponsoring the trial. The milestone triggered a $500,000 payment from Merck.
¿ NaPro BioTherapeutics Inc., of Boulder, Colo., received a $5 million milestone payment under a licensing, development and marketing agreement with Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill. The milestone was cash in exchange for 888,889 shares of NaPro stock at $5.625 per share. Leonard Shaykin, CEO of NaPro, said the joint program to bring paclitaxel to market in United States is on schedule.
¿ PharmQuest Corp., of San Jose, Calif., and the University of California, San Francisco, began a $1.4 million, four-year collaborative research program to create drug informatics tools to expedite new drug discovery and development. The collaboration will fund work ongoing at PharmQuest and at UCSF. Intellectual property resulting from the collaboration will be jointly owned by the parties and available for licensing through PharmQuest.
¿ PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc, of Oxford, UK, said it achieved the first protective immunity by a DNA vaccine in volunteers that didn¿t respond to current commercial vaccines. The ongoing Phase I study of the company¿s hepatitis B DNA vaccine indicated the vaccine induced protective levels of antibodies in 80 percent of volunteers who hadn¿t responded to three doses of commercial vaccine.
¿ Silicon Genetics Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said the Karolinska Institute in Sweden purchased a license for GeneSpring 4.0, SGI¿s latest gene expression visualization and analysis software. Version 4.0 includes global error models to evaluate the statistical precision of all measures in an experiment, a classification inspector and statistical group comparison.
¿ Stressgen Biotechnologies Corp., of Victoria, British Columbia, said additional preliminary Phase II data, reported at the 5th International AIDS Malignancy conference, confirm previously reported activity of HspE7, an immunotherapeutic for the treatment of a precancerous condition caused by human papillomavirus, called anal dysplasia. Data from the first 22 consecutive patients were reported at the primary six-month evaluation point: 16 of the 22 were downgraded to low-grade dysplasia, consistent with initial reports for the trial.
¿ Transgenomic Inc., of Omaha, Neb., said Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass., purchased the WAVE System, a genetic analysis tool specializing in mutations, as a part of an ongoing technology development program for genetic applications. Financial details were unavailable.
¿ Triad Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, presented Integrated Object-Oriented PharmacoEngineering technology (IOPE), its high-throughput structure-based drug design technology, at Drug Discovery Technology Europe 2001 in Stuttgart, Germany. IOPE is based on an application of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to guide drug design.
¿ United Biomedical Inc., of Hauppauge, N.Y., developed a synthetic peptide vaccine effective in pigs against foot-and-mouth disease virus. The company said the vaccine is not a killed virus and is completely safe. It presented results at the Fourth Annual Conference on Vaccine Research in Arlington, Va., showing the vaccine protected 45 out of 46 pigs from an intentional exposure to the virus in five trials on three continents.
¿ Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., began a third pivotal Phase III trial with GW433908, an HIV protease inhibitor. The randomized, open-label trial will compare the two doses of the compound in combination with ritonavir, another protease inhibitor, with a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir. The trial will evaluate the compound¿s safety, tolerability and efficacy. Vertex partners with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, for GW433908 development.
¿ ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, agreed with DuPont Pharmaceuticals Co., of Wilmington, Del., to help DuPont evaluate new anti-HIV agents in development. DuPont will use ViroLogic¿s drug resistance testing technologies, PhenoSense HIV and GeneSeq HIV, to evaluate drug activity against HIV strains resistant to available drugs. This marks the 10th pharmaceutical collaboration for ViroLogic.