¿ Apogent Technologies Inc., of Portsmouth, N.H., said it acquired Advanced Biotechnologies Ltd., of Epsom, England. Advanced Biotechnologies manufactures biologic reagents and special plastic consumables for the life science market, and the company logged sales revenues for 2000 of about $21 million. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.
¿ Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, and PanVera Corp., of Madison, Wis., said they will launch the first product integrating their core technologies within weeks. The screening kits are designed for high-throughput screening of drug candidates for inhibition of cytochrome P450 izozymes, a class of enzymes involved in drug metabolism. The companies merged in an $86 million stock swap deal in November. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 20, 2000.)
¿ Axonyx Inc., of New York, entered a research agreement with Thomas Jefferson University granting Axonyx the exclusive right to license certain inventions and products derived from work at TJU by Matthew During, director of the university's Central Nervous System Gene Therapy Center, who is involved in learning and memory enhancement work. The agreement includes a small peptide called Gilatide that's shown an ability to dramatically improve memory in healthy rodents.
¿ DepoMed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., said GATX Ventures Inc., also of Menlo Park, agreed to provide up to $2 million in financing for the purchase of laboratory equipment and the completion of DepoMed's Menlo Park facilities. DepoMed expects to draw down the financing over the next nine months.
¿ Galenica Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Fredrick, Md., entered an agreement with the University of Alabama at Birmingham to evaluate a recombinant subunit vaccine against herpes simplex virus. The vaccine was developed using Galenica's proprietary immune enhancer, GPI-0100. The agreement calls for preclinical evaluation of the vaccine candidate's ability to stimulate a protective and preventative immune response against HSV and measure the effect on the lesions caused by the infection.
¿ Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., said research demonstrating that the blockage of telomerase production in breast cancer cells leads to increased sensitivity to doxorubicin was published in the April issue of Cancer Research. Previous research has shown that inhibiting telomerase activity in tumor cells can re-mortalize cancer cells, sensitize them to certain DNA-damaging agents and ultimately cause cell death.
¿ Harvard Bioscience Inc., of Holliston, Mass., said the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, denied Harvard University's request for an injunction prohibiting the biotechnology company from using the name "Harvard." The court did, however, prohibit the company from using the name in the color crimson, Harvard University's school color, or in a font similar to the university's.
¿ ILEX Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, adopted a shareholder rights plan intended to ensure fair and equal treatment for all shareholders and protect the value of the shareholder investment. The rights will become exercisable if an acquiring party accumulates 20 percent or more of the company's stock.
¿ La Jolla Pharmaceuticals Co., of San Diego, said three papers centering on the development of LJP 394, the company's lupus kidney disease treatment, were published in the journals Lupus, Expert Opinion of Investigational Drugs, and The Journal of Rheumatology. LJP 394 is in a Phase III trial to confirm its ability to treat lupus kidney disease. In separate news, the Central Texas Kidney Association in Austin began treating the first of 300 lupus kidney disease patients selected for an international trial using a new treatment called Toleragens, which is designed to inhibit production of disease-causing antibodies without suppressing the healthy functions of the immune system. That Phase III trial will evaluate the potential of LJP 394 to treat renal flares, reduce the need for high-dose corticosteroids and/or chemotherapy and improve patients' quality of life.
¿ Lynx Therapeutics Inc., of Hayward, Calif., and GenoMar ASA, of Norway, entered a collaboration to use Lynx's Megasort technology to identify genes related to saltwater tolerance in the tropical fin fish tilapia. Lynx will receive undisclosed payments from GenoMar for genomics and discovery services. No further financial information was available.
¿ MediChem Life Sciences Inc., of Chicago, signed an agreement with the Signal Research Division of Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., for the structural determination of a Celgene drug lead bound to a kinase drug target that regulates disease-causing genes. MediChem will test conditions for binding the small-molecule drug lead to the target protein, and co-crystallize the resultant protein with the small-molecule compound bound to it. MediChem may receive a bonus payment under the agreement for early completion of project goals.
¿ NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forrest, Ill., said data from a study of its chimeric protein IL13-PE38, which is composed of human interleukin-13 and a truncated form of Pseudomonas exotoxin, was published in the International Journal of Cancer. The article detailed a preclinical study that indicated that injection of IL13-PE38 into glioblastoma tumors caused a significant regression. NeoPharm licensed the therapeutic from the National Cancer Institute, and is conducting Phase I/II trials of the treatment in refractory glioblastoma multiform.
¿ Nymox Pharmaceutical Corp., of Maywood, N.J., said a report in Alzheimer's Reports documents results from a double-blind 140-patient study of its AlzheimAlert urinary test for Alzheimer's disease. The test uses urine samples sent to Nymox's laboratory in Maywood to detect elevated levels of the brain protein NTP (neural thread protein).
¿ Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., signed a cooperative research and development agreement with the National Cancer Institute to discover drug candidates that block the fusion of HIV to human cells. The agreement aims at developing high-throughput screening assays based on Panacos' fusion inhibitor discovery technology to screen a 100,000-compound library for small-molecule fusion inhibitors suitable for drug development.
¿ Progen Industries Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, said its partner, Medigen Biotechnology Corp., of Taiwan, received approval to begin a Phase Ib trial of the anticancer agent PI-88. In preclinical testing, PI-88 demonstrated an ability as both an anti-angiogenic agent and an anti-metastatic agent. Progen concluded its own Phase Ib trial of PI-88 in cancer patients in February, and is finalizing plans to begin a Phase II trial.
¿ Proteome Sciences plc, of Surrey, UK, and Mindset BioPharmaceuticals Ltd., of Jerusalem, were awarded a grant totaling #450,000 (US$646,803) by the Britech Foundation. The grant is intended to fund a three-year research program into Alzheimer's disease that the companies believe will yield new targets for therapy and improved diagnostic markers.
¿ Samaritan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Las Vegas, said the Court of Queens Bench in Edmonton, Canada, dismissed claims brought by Altachem Pharma Ltx, of Alberta, against Samaritan subsidiary Steroidogenesis Inhibitors Inc., also of Las Vegas. Altachem sought rights to the Samaritan immunomodulator Anticort, under development as an HIV treatment, or $100 million in damages. The companies remain involved in a legal dispute over the scope of their licensing agreement.
¿ SIGA Technologies Inc., of New York, achieved a milestone in its collaboration with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, the pharmaceutical division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J. Their collaboration focuses on identification and development of a new class of anti-infective agents targeting Gram-positive bacterial infections. The milestone payment amount was undisclosed. The collaboration has so far identified the srtA gene, validated it as a drug target and established screening methods and produced sufficient quantities of the enzyme for high-throughput drug screening.
¿ Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., confirmed a report that its subsidiary, PolyMASC Pharmaceuticals, filed suit against Alza Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., alleging patent infringement. The suit charges Alza with infringement on PolyMASC's U.S. Patent No. 6,132,763 titled "Liposomes," and relates to Alza's liposomal products Doxil and Caelyx. Both drugs are pegylated lioposomes encapsulating the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin.