¿ Aastrom Biosciences Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., and The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit said the Michigan Economic Development Corp. awarded a $2.2 million Michigan Life Sciences Corridor grant to fund development of new cell-based therapies through a Center for Cell Therapy to be established at the institute. Aastrom will contribute its cell production technologies and products to the center, including its AastromReplicell system. The center initially will pursue cord blood stem cell therapies for leukemia patients and dendritic cell vaccines for cancer treatment
¿ Ambion Inc., of Austin, Texas, said it entered a collaboration granting Qiagen Inc., of Venlo, the Netherlands, nonexclusive worldwide rights to Ambion's RNAlater RNA stabilization technology to use in products and processes for the research market. RNAlater stabilizes RNA in tissues and cells for RNA isolation and for ambient shipping and better sample storage. Financial terms were undisclosed.
¿ Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., hired a 10-person medical science liaison team to assist in medical education programs and in the clinical development of Cidecin (daptomycin for injection), which is in late-stage trials in multiple indications.
¿ Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, extended and expanded its agreement with the Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, CLB Division, for development of Cypress' platelet alternative, Cyplex, up to commercialization. The collaboration was initiated in February 1998, and focused then on improving yields and implementing process changes to support manufacturing scale-up to commercial levels.
¿ Gendaq Ltd., of London, said it discovered major improvements to zinc finger engineering technology that enhance the ability to exclusively target and regulate the expression of any given gene. The research involves new methods of constructing improved zinc finger protein multimers, compounds capable of binding unique DNA sequences present in genomic DNA with high specificity. Gendaq then uses the proteins to make Z-Switches to regulate target genes for applications in functional genomics and as therapeutics.
¿ Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., confirmed the receipt of a lawsuit filed in Delaware Chancery Court on Feb. 12 by PerkinElmer Inc., of Boston. The lawsuit requests the court to interpret the terms of PerkinElmer's right, under its certificate of incorporation, to require it to call and redeem all equity securities of Genomic Solutions not owned by PerkinElmer. The suit alleges, among other things, that Genomic Solutions has sought to improperly impede or terminate PerkinElmer's call right and to impose an improper financial penalty upon an exercise by PerkinElmer of that right.
¿ GenomicFX LP, of Austin, Texas, and Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., entered a partnership calling for GenomicFX to use Incyte's gene databases and custom genomics services to develop advanced genetic information tools for use in improving meat quality, food safety and livestock production efficiency. GenomicFX will get access to Incyte's LifeSeq Gold and Zooseq databases in addition to custom services from Incyte that will enable GenomicFX to create proprietary database resources for cattle and swine. Financial terms of the partnership were undisclosed.
¿ Genzyme Biosurgery, a division of Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said it is undergoing a series of actions to achieve profitability on an operating basis within five to six quarters. It will divest certain product lines that fall outside its core mission and will close its Canadian Synvisc manufacturing facility by the end of the second quarter, shifting production to its facility in Ridgefield, N.J. It has eliminated about 50 positions at the former Biomatrix corporate headquarters in Ridgefield as of January and discontinued funding a number of research and development projects outside its strategic focus.
¿ Genzyme Transgenics Corp., of Framingham, Mass., and Atlantic BioPharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., entered an agreement to produce Atlantic's recombinant human protein, ABI.001. The agreement calls for Genzyme to produce transgenic goats that express the protein in their milk. ABI.001 is under investigation as a treatment for myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disorder. GTC is developing 13 proteins with 11 partners, including Atlantic.
¿ Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., said a study published in the Feb. 14, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is effective at protecting people from flu in a close-contact setting. The study, Roche said, demonstrates that Tamiflu taken once daily for seven days can significantly reduce the spread of influenza to people exposed to the virus, thus preventing an outbreak. Tamiflu, co-developed with Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences Inc., was first approved for influenza in October 1999. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 29, 1999.)
¿ IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Francisco, said data from a single-dose Phase I study of Protegrin IB-367 indicates the drug candidate safely reduces bacterial levels in the mouths of patients at risk of experiencing ventilator-associated pneumonia. The single dose, applied directly to all surfaces in the mouth and exposed portions of ventilator tubes, was safe and efficacious, reducing bacteria by 99 percent within 30 minutes of administration.
¿ Xechem International Inc., of New Brunswick, N.J., discovered a number of medicinal plant extracts from China and India that show in vitro biological activity against Helicobacter pylori, vancomycin-resistant bacteria and methicillin-resistant bacteria. Xechem said it has filed patent applications in the U.S. related to the anti-infectives.
¿ Neoprobe Corp., of Dublin, Ohio, said researchers at the University of California's San Diego Cancer Center filed with the FDA to begin investigational clinical evaluation of a radiolabeled agent designed to improve surgical management and diagnosis of breast cancer. Neoprobe entered an option agreement to exclusively license the compound from the university. A Phase I study, funded through a grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and administered by university researchers, will evaluate the agent's ability to accurately identify tumor-draining lymph nodes in conjunction with Neoprobe's hand-held gamma radiation detection instruments.
¿ Neurochem Inc., of St. Laurent, Quebec, said a study that examined the genetic predisposition of inflammatory responses of brain cells to amyloid protein indicates that genetics play a role in the way mice respond to different inflammatory stimuli and in the way microglia, or brain microphages, respond to the presence of amyloid. Data suggest that differences in the levels of microglial inflammation caused by amyloid are genetically linked and could alter the sequence of events that lead to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease.
¿ Pharsight Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., said it will collaborate with the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to develop products using clinical drug trial simulation and population pharmacokinetic analysis software to support the drug development process. The three-year agreement will involve future versions of Pharsight's WinNonMix and Trial Simulator products, and is aimed at addressing industry needs for population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling and clinical trial simulation.
¿ Pheromone Sciences Corp., of Toronto, amended its $2.2 million special warrant private placement to provide that each special warrant will be exercisable, at no additional consideration, into one common share and one-half of a warrant. Each whole warrant will entitle the holder to purchase one common share of the company at an exercise price of $1.25 per share for one year from closing anticipated for February.
¿ Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem, and Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Parsippany, N.J., said Teva Marion Partners will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Teva and will be renamed Teva Neuroscience LLC. Teva Marion Partners was formed in 1995 as an equally owned marketing partnership between Teva and Marion Merrell Dow, a predecessor company of Aventis Pharmaceuticals, to promote the multiple sclerosis therapy, Copaxone, in North America. Separately, an agreement between Teva and H. Lundbeck A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, extended their existing strategic cooperation to include the oral formulation of Copaxone. Their CORAL study of oral Copaxone is the largest clinical study ever initiated for MS patients and should complete near the end of 2001.
¿ Theratechnologies Inc., of Saint-Laurent, Quebec, began the first of two Phase II trials of its growth hormone-releasing factor analogue, ThGRF 1-44, in patients with sleep disorders. The crossover, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is designed to evaluate the compound's safety and efficacy through seven days of treatment on slow-wave sleep in 12 healthy adult males. The trial's secondary objectives will evaluate the compound's effect on overall sleep architecture and duration, subjective alertness and daytime performance.
¿ Triad Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, said it successfully leveraged nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy-based structural information from one drug target to build a collection of potential drug leads that contains hits for other drug targets within the same gene family. The company said it was the first to do so.