¿ Advanced Biosystems Inc., a subsidiary of Hadron Inc., of Alexandria, Va., was awarded a $2.6 million, one-year contract by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command to study and develop medical defenses for anthrax. The research is designed to develop defenses against, and treatments for, specific biological agents that can be used in warfare or terrorist attacks.
¿ AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., said it identified a correlation between circulating levels of ovarian tumor marker CA 125 and the efficacy of its anticancer agent OvaRex through a further interim review of clinical data from 252 patients. The new data indicated that in high-risk patients the proportion of patients with disease-free survival of at least six months is significantly higher in the OvaRex-treated population compared to placebo (p=0.0397). Previously announced interim results indicated that OvaRex immune responders more than doubled their time to relapse vs. nonresponders. Full analysis of the 345-patient study is expected in the third quarter.
¿ Althexis Co. Inc., of Waltham, Mass., named Mark Skaletsky chairman and CEO. Skaletsky is former president and CEO of GelTex Pharmaceuticals Inc., also of Waltham.
¿ Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, of Piscataway, N.J., the life sciences business of Nycomed Amersham plc, signed an agreement with the Georgia Research Alliance to provide Georgia universities with access to its Ettan integrated proteomics technologies. It will provide instrumentation, chemistry and software tools to facilitate proteomics research on an industrial scale.
¿ Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., entered a collaboration with The Automation Partnership, of Cambridge, UK. The collaboration is aimed at integrating advances in biotechnology with the acceleration of information storage technology and robotics. TAP and Amgen are designing and building an automated system for small-molecule sample storage, retrieval and preparation. The $8 million system is comprised of thousands of frozen samples, robots, laser scanners, and conveyor belts that archive, retrieve, prepare and deliver customized formulations of samples.
¿ Applied Biosystems Inc., of Foster City, Calif., released a statement just before market close on Wednesday saying it might see a reduction in sales in the coming quarters due to the current economic conditions. Michael Hunkapiller, president of ABI, said there is some modest softening in sales in the current quarter, and the order pattern suggests that in the upcoming few quarters the company's short-term growth rate may be one-half to two-thirds of its long-term target. Its stock (NYSE:ABI) continued its March slide on Thursday, falling $11.45, or about 33 percent, to close at $23. The stock closed at $68.95 on March 1.
¿ Calyx Therapeutics Inc., of Hayward, Calif., began a Phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy of CLX-0901, its antidiabetic drug. The trial will evaluate CLX-0901 for improving glycemic control in 120 Type II diabetic patients at two sites, one in Germany and one in the Netherlands. Results are expected later this year. CLX-0901 is a water-soluble, orally active small molecule that has been shown to bind to the insulin receptor and appears to activate the insulin-signaling pathway, Calyx said.
¿ Cytomedix Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., entered a licensing agreement to gain access to a family of patents held by DuPuy AcroMed Inc., a subsidiary of DuPuy Inc., of Warsaw, Ind. Cytomedix will license DuPuy patents in the fields of spinal and orthopedic surgeries, and neurosurgery.
¿ Deltagen Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., said it became a founding member of an international genomics consortium dedicated to using the mouse genome to generate data, technologies and resources for genome-wide functional analysis and for the establishment of phenotyping tools. Deltagen said its agreement with the Centre for Modeling Human Disease will provide it access to additional gene function data that will complement and expand its existing products and intellectual property portfolio.
¿ EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., said a recently published paper by its researchers and researchers from CytImmune Sciences Inc., of College Park, Md., demonstrated that EntreMed's lead product, endostatin, had detectable levels in serum from both healthy subjects and those with metastatic clear cell renal carcinoma (CCRC). Serum endostatin levels are increased in patients with metastatic CCRC as compared to an age-matched group of healthy volunteers, researchers said. Endostatin is a naturally occurring angiogenesis inhibitor and is being evaluated by intravenous administration, continuous infusion pump and self-injection in clinical trials in the United States and Europe.
¿ ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said Canadian regulatory authorities approved the start of a Phase I/II trial of StreptAvax, its vaccine against group A streptococcus infection. StreptAvax is a multivalent recombinant vaccine designed to protect against 26 serotypes of group A streptococcus. The trial is designed to evaluate the vaccine's safety in adults.
¿ Immunomedics Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., appointed Cynthia L. Sullivan CEO and a member of the board. Sullivan is a former employee of Ortho Diagnostic Systems Inc.
¿ Insmed Inc., of Richmond, Va., said a full analysis of data from its Phase II trial of SomatoKine in patients with Type II diabetes indicated the recombinant protein under development as an insulin sensitizer produced positive results. The randomized, open-label, parallel-design, dose-ranging study indicated SomatoKine produced reductions in patients' average daily insulin requirements and average daily fasting glucose levels.
¿ Invitrogen Corp., of San Diego, and GenoScope, France's National Sequencing Center, released gene sequence data from 35,054 clones related to approximately 10,000 different human genes into public databases. The clones are also available under Invitrogen's ResGen brand. The entities jointly hold exclusive rights to distribute the gene clones and sequence data in France, while Invitrogen holds the rights for the rest of the world.
¿ Meristem Therapeutics Inc., of Clermont-Ferrand, France, which focuses on recombinant protein development, and Quintiles Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., formed a strategic alliance to offer partnering solutions to companies that have discovered proteins of potential therapeutic benefit that need additional development expertise and resources. Meristem, which received an equity investment from Quintiles as part of the collaboration, plans to use its Genie Vegetal plant engineering technology to address the problem of limited production capacity in the therapeutic recombinant protein sector.
¿ MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, initiated a new Phase II trial with irofulven, its anticancer compound, in patients with refractory or recurrent advanced epithelial ovarian cancer. The trial will evaluate irofulven in up to 65 patients receiving a dose every other week to develop recommendations for a Phase III trial in advanced ovarian cancer. The patient enrollment is expected to last about 12 to 18 months.
¿ Morphochem AG, of Munich, Germany, signed a research and development collaboration with Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, to use Morphochem's high-throughput chemistry to develop proprietary compounds that interact with an undisclosed diabetes target. Aventis will pay a success fee and will fund the Morphochem team working on the project. Morphochem will receive milestone payments, as well as royalties on any sales.
¿ Nastech Pharmaceutical Co. Inc., of Hauppauge, New York, raised about $4.2 million in gross proceeds through a private sale of 860,000 newly issued shares of its common stock to a group of investors, including Safeco Growth Opportunities Fund and an asset management division of a money center bank. Jesup & Lamont Securities Corp., of New York, acted as placement agent for the sale.
¿ NatImmune A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, raised $7.5 million in a private placement, increasing the total raised since its start in April 2000 to $9.5 million. Investors included Dansk Innovationsinvestering, Novo A/S, Lonmodtagernes Dyrtidsfond, Kommunernes Pensionsforsikring and Vaekstfonden. NatImmune focuses on developing protein-based therapeutic agents in the innate immunity field.
¿ National Institutes of Health, of Washington, said researchers successfully transferred stem cells from immunologically matched siblings to a small group of chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) sufferers. The NIH said early indications are that the patients' immune systems function significantly better than prior to treatment. CGD affects more than 1,000 people in the U.S. and about 25,000 people worldwide.
¿ Neoprobe Corp., of Dublin, Ohio, said at the Society of Surgical Oncology meeting that the importance of lymphatic mapping for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients indicated that Neoprobe's intraoperative lymphatic mapping could be beneficial in staging other cancers. Neoprobe said the technology could have application in non-small-cell lung cancer, upper gastrointestinal cancer and colorectal cancers.
¿ Nexell Therapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said it would seek FDA approval to begin a registration trial in support of an application to treat chronic granulomatous disease, and later, other inherited blood and immune disorders, with engineered stem cells. Nexell is seeking the approval based on results of a National Institutes of Health stem cell transplantation study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (See NIH item above.)
¿ Protein Design Labs Inc., of Fremont, Calif., presented the first Phase I results from its humanized anti-IL-4 antibody, SB240683. The study, designed to evaluate the antibody's safety and pharmacokinetics in patients with mild to moderate asthma, found the antibody was well tolerated and had a half-life of 18 to 21 days.
¿ Shimadzu Corp., of Kyoto, Japan, launched a business unit focused on biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, Shimadzu Biotech. The new biotechnology unit will offer a range of products running the gamut from proteomics and genomics technologies to micro-satellite DNA and single nucleotide polymorphism analysis.