¿ Immuno-Designed Molecules SA, of Paris, has enlisted the participation of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne, Australia, in its multicenter Phase III trial of a cell therapy for ovarian cancer. IDM's cellular immunotherapy is designed to eliminate residual cancer cells remaining after surgery and chemotherapy. Centers in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom also are taking part in the trial, although only in four hospitals around France have patients actually been enrolled. In February IDM embarked on a Phase II clinical trial of its cellular vaccine, IDD-3, in the indication of malignant melanoma at two centers in Brussels.

¿ MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, obtained additional rights for its cardiac drug candidate Etomoxir for use in novel indications. Phase II clinical trials on the drug in treatment of heart insufficiency started in December. In addition to patents protecting the use of Etomoxir for heart insufficiency, Wolf Research Pharmaceutical GmbH, of Allensbach, Germany, granted to MediGene all patent rights relating to Etomoxir. These protect the use of Etomoxir for the treatment of additional cardiovascular diseases. MediGene also obtained rights for several Etomoxir-related substances for use in cardiac and noncardiac indications. In addition, all Etomoxir patents for which MediGene already had an exclusive license regarding the use in heart insufficiency were transferred to the company, MediGene stated. Financial details were not disclosed.

¿ NicOx SA, of Sophia Antipolis, France, reports significant anticancer activity in preclinical tests of nitrate derivatives of sulindac (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and aspirin on human cancer cell lines from the pancreas and the colon. The in vitro experiments carried out by Basil Rigas at Rockefeller University in the U.S. showed that nitric oxide-releasing NSAIDs were up to 2,500 times more effective in limiting the growth of pancreas and colon cancer cells than traditional NSAIDs. They were also better tolerated than basic sulindac and aspirin, which are the "reference compounds for the chemical protection of the colon," said Rigas, but whose "toxicity and associated mortality nevertheless prevent their mass application."

¿ Noxxon AG, of Berlin, said Max Link will become its new advisory board chairman. Link has held positions in pharmaceutical companies and management positions and supervisory board memberships in biotech companies, including Human Genome Sciences Inc., Cell Therapeutics Inc. and Protein Design Labs Inc.

¿ Transgene SA, of Strasbourg, France, posted a net loss of EUR22.5 million (US$21 million) in 2000, 23.6 percent up on the 1999 outcome (EUR18.2 million), although the fourth-quarter loss fell to EUR4.5 million from EUR5.3 million the year before due to the receipt of EUR0.9 million in license fees. Revenues for the full year were slightly up at EUR4.7 million, while research and development spending increased by a marginal 3.3 percent to EUR22.5 million. Transgene's cash and liquid reserves were nearly halved during the year, amounting to EUR28.5 million as of Dec. 31 compared with EUR50.2 million at the end of 1999.