¿ Advanced Viral Research Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., entered an agreement with The Selikoff Center for Environmental Health and Human Development, of Ra'anana, Israel, to develop research plans and clinical trials for Product R. The collaboration will develop trials of Product R evaluating the peptide as a treatment for the toxic effects of cancer chemotherapy. Product R is a peptide the company calls a "switch-type" immunomodulator, meaning it is capable of stimulating an antiviral inflammatory response and lessening arthritis-like autoimmune inflammatory responses.
¿ Alkermes Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., initiated enrollment in its second trial for Medisorb Naltrexone, its injectable alcohol dependency therapeutic. The trial is designed to assess Naltrexone's safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics when administered monthly. Naltrexone is approved in an oral dosage formulation for treatment of alcohol dependence and opiate abuse. Alkermes intends to enroll 30 patients in the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
¿ ArQule Inc., of Woburn, Mass., extended its 1997 agreement with Sankyo Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, to provide Sankyo access to ArQule's Compass Array libraries through 2004. Sankyo also will continue to use ArQule's Directed Array program for synthesis of analogue compounds derived from the identification of active hits using ArQule's arrays or its own internal development activities. ArQule said it "may receive delivery fees, research payments, milestone payments and royalties from sales of any products resulting from the collaboration."
¿ Axonyx Inc., of New York, said scientists from the University of Indiana and the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging found that Axonyx's lead Alzheimer's disease therapeutic candidate, Phenserine, can regulate amyloid precursor protein processing. Phenserine is a novel acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, and it's in a Phase II proof-of-concept study.
¿ Carrington Laboratories Inc., of Irving, Texas, authorized a stock repurchase plan allowing the company to repurchase up to 1 million shares of its common stock. Carrington has about 9.42 million shares outstanding, and shares of Carrington (NASDAQ:CARN) opened Tuesday at $1, just over the stock's 52-week low of $0.875.
¿ Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, said Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., will apply Crucell's PER.C6 technology to Merck's HIV-1 vaccine program. Merck scientists hope its vaccine will be both prophylactic and palliative, and will use an adenovirus grown on Crucell's PER.C6 cell line per an agreement that dates to October 2000. That agreement called for an up-front fee, ongoing fees and royalty and milestone payments payable to Crucell by Merck. Merck also has an option to extend the exclusivity to cover three unnamed additional disease areas.
¿ Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., presented data from Study 9901, a Phase III trial of the antibiotic Cidecin (daptomycin for injection) in the treatment of complicated skin and soft tissue infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria. The data, presented at the 11th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Istanbul, Turkey, showed Cidecin achieved the endpoint of statistical equivalence to the antibiotic standards of care. The clinical success rates ranged from 81 percent to 91 percent in the Cidecin arm, vs. 81 percent to 92 percent in the comparator arm. Also, patients receiving Cidecin required fewer days of intravenous therapy than patients receiving comparator agents, with 79 percent of Cidecin patients on the therapy for four to seven days and 21 percent on the therapy for more than eight days. Forty percent of patients in the comparator arm were on the therapy for four to seven days. Last month the company reported trial results without specific data. (See BioWorld Today, March 15, 2001.)
¿ Deltagen Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., delivered the third quarterly release of its mammalian gene function data to its current DeltaBase subscribers. DeltaBase, a functional database containing information on genes and their in vivo mammalian role, includes 187 potential genomic drug targets.
¿ Galenica Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Fredrick, Md., will establish new research and development operations in Birmingham, Ala. The company also will relocate its administrative headquarters to a 20,000-square-foot facility at Oxmoor Research Park in Birmingham. The move should be completed in the fall.
¿ Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., extended its license agreement with Aventis Pharma SA, of Frankfurt, Germany, renewing the Germany company's access to Genome Therapeutics' PathoGenome Database. Aventis continues to have nonexclusive access to the database in exchange for an annual subscription fee and royalties on any small molecules developed as a result of the collaboration. Genome Therapeutics retains rights to therapeutic and vaccine use of bacterial genes or gene products derived from the database.
¿ Hybridon Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., converted $7.6 million worth of its 8 percent secured senior notes into preferred equity. The notes represent 90 percent of the notes the company issued in December 1999. Hybridon also entered an agreement to sell 60 percent of its stake in MethylGene Inc., of Montreal, of which Hybridon owns 22 percent. The MethylGene sale includes an agreement to make a payment of between 30 percent and 60 percent of an outstanding $6 million convertible loan. The loan's conversion rate will be reduced from $2.40 to $1.50 per share of common stock. Hybridon said the positive effects of the transactions it announced range from $11.9 million to $14.7 million, and added it will apply those funds toward its efforts at DNA chemistry, development and partnership opportunities.
¿ Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said the European Commission granted marketing authorization for Targretin capsules. Also, Ligand submitted an application to the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products to market Targretin 1 percent gel in the European Union. As a result, Elan Pharma International Ltd., an affiliate of Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, will pay Ligand $3.5 million under the terms of their marketing and distribution agreement.
¿ Pharming Group NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, completed the acquisition of ProBio Inc., of Melbourne, Australia, which has offices in the United States. Pharming will transfer shares to the former ProBio shareholders at the locked share price of EUR12.52 (US$11.17). Pharming will not raise funds to support ProBio's operational expenses. Milestone payments totaling up to $4 million will be made in Pharming shares to former ProBio shareholders over the next two years, dependent on ProBio reaching commercial and technical milestones.
¿ Proteome Sciences plc, of Cobham, UK, said its U.S. associate, Intronn LLC, signed a cooperative research and development agreement with the National Cancer Institute, of Bethesda, Md. They will focus on developing an RNA-based treatment for human papillomavirus infection and cervical cancers induced by HPV infection. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Vical Inc., of San Diego, said partner Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., presented preclinical data from its HIV vaccine program that includes a vaccine based on Vical's naked DNA gene delivery technology, at the Keystone Symposium in Keystone, Colo. Merck is testing naked DNA vaccines for HIV in two human trials, one for uninfected volunteers and one for HIV-infected patients receiving active antiretroviral therapy.