¿ Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., expanded its relationship with Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., allowing Chiron to use Abgenix's XenoMouse technology to generate fully human monoclonal antibody therapies against multiple cancer-specific antigen targets supplied by Chiron over a multiyear term. The first agreement between the two, signed in December 1999, included one antigen in the autoimmune disease field and four cancer antigens. Similar to the 1999 deal, Abgenix will receive milestone and license payments, plus royalties on product sales by Chiron in the expanded relationship. Chiron will be responsible for product development, manufacturing and commercializing products developed.
¿ Alchemia Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., completed an $8.2 million financing round. Investors, all from Australia, were Start-up Australia, of Sydney; Medica Holdings, of Brisbane; AMWIN, of Sydney; Biotech Capital; and Rothschild Bioscience Australia, of Melbourne. The funds will be used to recruit scientific and management staff, and expand Alchemia's research and development facilities and U.S. operations. It has raised more than $12.4 million to date. Also, it named Paul Goddard as its new chairman. Goddard previously was CEO at both Elan Pharmaceuticals plc and Neurex Corp.
¿ BioChem Pharma Inc., of Laval, Quebec, said Canadian authorities would not approve its merger with Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Andover, UK. Shire continues to hold discussions with the Canadian Minister of Industry on the merger the companies announced in December. However, BioChem said its own shareholders recently approved the merger overwhelmingly. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 12, 2000.)
¿ Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, said positive results for Theratope vaccine were presented at the 9th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in San Diego. Seventy breast and ovarian cancer patients were treated with high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation and Theratope vaccine. The study showed Theratope vaccine was well tolerated and had minimal side effects.
¿ Cetek Corp., of Marlborough, Mass., signed a collaboration with Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., for the development of high-throughput screening assays for identification of drug leads. Cetek will develop capillary electrophoresis assays for validated drug targets from Genome Therapeutics' drug discovery program and screen the assays against compound libraries from Genome Therapeutics and other sources. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Digital Gene Technologies Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., said investigators at The Scripps Research Institute, of La Jolla, Calif., and the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria in Australia reported an apparent role of apolipoprotein D (ApoD) in the ameliorative effects conferred on schizophrenics by the neuroleptic drug, clozapine. The finding can be found in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 98, No. 7. The investigators applied Digital Gene's TOGA technology in the ApoD studies.
¿ Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, said the FDA's center for Biologics Evaluation and Research granted priority review to Eli Lilly's product, drotrecogin alfa, with the proposed brand name of Zovant. The biologics license application was filed in January for the product to be used as a treatment of sepsis with associated acute organ dysfunction.
¿ Esperion Therapeutics Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., said it saw initial positive results in a Phase I trial for a synthetic HDL comprised of ApoA-I Milano and phospholipid (AIM), ETC-216. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 32 healthy volunteers, aged 18 to 50, assessed the safety and tolerability of five escalating single intravenous AIM doses in men and two different doses in females. AIM was well tolerated in the anticipated clinical dose ranges and no serious side effects were observed.
¿ GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc., of Irvine, Calif., signed a research agreement with the University of Toronto to investigate the use of several compounds to create medical products for the repair, reconstruction and regeneration of bone and soft tissue. GenSci committed $2.3 million over the five-year project, the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund committed more than $5 million, the University of Toronto and its affiliated research institutions committed $5 million and more than $5 million will come from other private sector partners, bringing the total investment to more than $18 million.
¿ GLYCODesign Inc., of Toronto, is expanding its clinical program by adding five Phase II trials in four cancer indications - metastatic renal cancer, advanced head and neck cancer, chemoprotection in breast cancer and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma - to validate the effectiveness of GD0039, its lead anticancer compound. Three additional Phase II trials are scheduled to be initiated later this year in new cancer indications.
¿ Hybrigenics SA, of Paris, said it launched the most comprehensive combined protein-protein interactions map of HIV and its host human cells. The database, called PIMRider HIV(1), contains all the protein interaction information known and available in scientific literature, the company said.
¿ Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, said its gene therapy product, INGN 241 (adenoviral-mda7), could offer benefits to lung cancer sufferers. Preclinical study results presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans indicated the mda-7 gene can suppress growth in lung tumors, and that ING 241 has both anti-angiogenic and antitumor activity.
¿ NeoTherapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., began a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II study of Neotrofin in Parkinson's disease. This is the third indication for Neotrofin in clinical trials and the company plans to initiate a pivotal trial in Alzheimer's disease next month. Patients in the Phase II study will receive doses of Neotrofin escalating from 250 mg to 1000 mg twice a day. The Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, Part III, will be used as the primary measure of preliminary efficacy.
¿ Oasis Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, closed a series A private placement that will provide it with $7 million, based on reaching certain milestones. The lead investor is GeneScan-Europe AG, of Freiburg, Germany. Artisan Ventures Ltd., one of the shareholders in Oasis, also participated. Oasis focuses on high-throughput target validation as well as single nucleotide polymorphism-based diagnostics.
¿ Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., signed a collaboration agreement with Mitsubishi-Tokyo Pharmaceuticals, of Tokyo, under which Pharmacopeia will use its assay development knowledge, compound sample collection and ultra-high-throughput screening technology to identify compounds against a Mitsubishi target. Pharmacopeia will receive fees and milestone payments and be entitled to royalties on marketed products.
¿ Stressgen Biotechnologies Corp., of Victoria, British Columbia, said the FDA granted orphan drug status to HspE7, the company's immunotherapeutic for treatment of human papillomavirus-related disease, or recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. The therapeutic is in a Phase III trial and several Phase II trials.
¿ Waratah Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Montreal, said completed studies indicated that its islet neogenesis therapy gastrin along with epidermal growth factors significantly improved glucose tolerance in animal models of diabetes. The company said the results show that islet replacement can be achieved by conventional drug therapy. Waratah also said it will present results from studies at the 61st conference of the American Diabetes Association in Philadelphia.