¿ Adolor Corp., of Exton, Pa., completed two Phase II trials of its lead compound, ADL 8-2698, for treatment of opioid bowel dysfunction. Data from the trials confirmed observations from Phase II tests in the same indication, showing the compound mitigates the severe opioid-induced bowel dysfunction in patients taking narcotics without interfering with the narcotics' analgesic effects. The company plans to discuss the results with the FDA before moving forward.
¿ AlphaGene Inc., of Woburn, Mass., said results from an analysis comparing its inventory of expressed genes with data published by the public consortium of the Human Genome Project revealed about 64 new genes on chromosome 21 and 200 new genes on chromosome 22. Further bioinformatic analysis of the new genes identified a large number of potential drugable targets, including integrins, kinases, phosphotases, proteases, transcription factors, zinc fingers and G protein-coupled receptors.
¿ Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Genesis Pharma SA, of Athens, Greece, signed an agreement granting Genesis certain exclusive rights to distribute, market and sell Aranesp in Greece and Cyprus. Aranesp is under review by the FDA and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency for the treatment of anemia resulting from chronic renal failure.
¿ BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., of Novato, Calif., and Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass., said findings from a clinical trial of Aldurazyme, an enzyme replacement therapy for mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS-I), reported in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest the therapeutic has potential to alleviate the primary symptoms of MPS-I. The data indicate the therapy is well tolerated and effective. A Phase III trial began in December. That trial is expected to conclude in the third quarter of 2001.
¿ Celera Genomics Group, of Rockville, Md., launched a new version of the Celera Discovery System for desktop access to Celera's proprietary genome data. The new version offers new computational tools designed to allow researchers to more efficiently mine the genome data.
¿ Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, said a report in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences demonstrates the ability of camptothecins, a class of anticancer agents, to link to polyglutamate. That linkage results in a water-soluble, less-toxic and more-effective version of the drug.
¿ Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., extended the expiration date for its Series A warrants from Feb. 6 to Aug. 6. Each warrant will now allow holders to purchase one additional share of Cel-Sci for $3. The original warrant term called for a purchase price of $10. A total of 116,405 warrants are outstanding.
¿ CV Technologies Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, started the second Phase II trial of its cold and flu drug candidate, CVT-E002, a multicomponent phytopharmaceutical. The compound will be tested to evaluate its efficacy at reducing the number and severity of naturally acquired respiratory illnesses in older adults during the influenza season.
¿ Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, formed the e-Lilly venture fund, which will use Lilly's pharmaceutical knowledge and financing capabilities to transform novel business ideas into companies. It has an initial investment fund of $50 million and will make individual investments of up to $3 million, focusing on early stage to development-stage start-up companies with innovative e-business solutions in the field of pharmaceuticals.
¿ Epimmune Inc., of San Diego, appointed Emile Loria president and CEO. Loria is the former president and CEO of Biovector Therapeutics, of France.
¿ Genencor International, of Rochester, N.Y., entered an agreement with Cargill Inc., of Minneapolis, to supply biocatalysts for Cargill's wet corn-milling facilities. The five-year exclusive supply agreement is valued at $70 million.
¿ Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, completed transaction agreements related to its joint venture with Elan Pharmaceuticals plc, of Dublin, Ireland. The joint venture, which will hold nonexclusive licenses for Generex's buccal delivery technology and certain Elan drug delivery technologies, will focus on applying drug delivery technologies to pharmaceutical products for treatment of prostate cancer, endometriosis and/or the suppression of testosterone and estrogen.
¿ GeneTrace Systems Inc., of Alameda, Calif., and Molecular Mining Corp., of Kingston, Ontario, entered a collaboration to design, analyze, define and validate a physiological network model for application in drug discovery. The companies will co-fund the research and share the revenues generated by any findings. Further financial details were unavailable.
¿ Genetronics Biomedical Ltd., of San Diego, completed a public offering of 6.27 million shares at C$1.35 each for gross proceeds of C$8.46 million (US$5.59 million). Genetronics, which specializes in technology and hardware for gene delivery, said it will use the majority of the proceeds to fund a Phase III trial of its Electroporation Therapy in the U.S. in head and neck cancer in addition to funding oncology product launches in Europe, other clinical trials and general corporate purposes.
¿ Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass., said it began treating patients in France with Fabrazyme under an Authorisation Temporaire d'Utilisation (ATU) from the French Medicines Agency. The ATU allows patients with Fabry disease in France to receive treatment with Fabrazyme before marketing authorization for the product is granted in the European Union. Genzyme has secured reimbursement for Fabrazyme through the French social security system.
¿ Idun Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Keystone, Colo., said studies indicate low micromolar concentrations of its caspase inhibitor IDN-5370 prevented apoptosis and promoted survival in cortical and sympathetic neurons exposed to apoptotic stimuli. The company said IDN-5370 was 10- to 50-fold more potent in promoting survival than other caspase inhibitors.
¿ Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine initiated the first formal evaluation of Ontak (denileukin diftitox) in patients diagnosed with fludarabine-refractory, CD25-positive, B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Objectives for the Phase II trial are to determine the complete and partial response rate, to assess the toxicity profile, to examine the period of progression-free survival and to evaluate overall survival following treatment.
¿ Matritech Inc., of Newton, Mass., entered a distribution agreement with Timm Medical Technologies Inc. for Matritech's NMP22 test for bladder cancer. The multiyear deal includes an initial equity investment by Timm in Matritech, marketing fees, milestone payments and increasing minimum test purchases. Matritech intends to seek regulatory approval for the test this year. If minimum product purchases are met, up-front payments and product purchase costs could be more than $23 million over the next six years.
¿ Merlin Biosciences Ltd., of London, said Chairman Christopher Evans was knighted. The honor comes in recognition of Evans' contribution to the UK biotechnology industry over the last 15 years.
¿ Orthologic Corp., of Tempe, Ariz., completed enrollment in its Phase I/II trial of Chrysalin, a synthetically manufactured peptide shown in animal studies to accelerate fracture healing. The 90-patient, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is designed to evaluate the safety and preliminary efficacy of the drug candidate.
¿ Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., completed a Series B financing, including a $3 million investment by A.M. Pappas & Associates, of Research Triangle Park, N.C. Panacos focuses on developing novel antiviral compounds targeting HIV, RSV and hepatitis.
¿ Protarga Inc., of Conshohocken, Pa., said researchers at Harvard Medical School reported preclinical data showing that the company's antipsychotic agent, Clozaprexin DHA-clozapine, is safer and more effective than the schizophrenia therapeutic clozapine. The study showed DHA-clozapine to be 10 times more potent than clozapine.
¿ The FibroGen Group, of South San Francisco, and Aventis Pasteur SA, of Lyon, France, entered a collaborative agreement to develop novel synthetic gelatins using FibroGen technology. The gelatins will confer optimum stabilization and activity attenuation specific for certain Aventis Pasteur vaccines. The agreement includes up-front payments, program funding, milestone payments, material supply revenues and royalty rights on end product sales. More specific terms or financial information were unavailable.
¿ The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, of Seattle, said the largest-ever multicenter study to date indicated the use of allogeneic peripheral blood stem cells for transplantation significantly increased the tempo of cell production compared to marrow transplant. The 172-patient study focused on patients with hematologic malignancies, and found the incidence of graft-vs.-host disease was 64 percent in stem cell transplant patients compared to 57 percent in marrow transplant patients; however, 45 percent of patients who underwent marrow transplant remained alive and disease-free after two years, compared to 65 percent of patients who underwent stem cell transplant.
¿ TissueInformatics Inc., of Pittsburgh, began a study to develop a high-throughput tool for automated antibody screening for Cambridge Antibody Technology plc, of London. The initial study for CAT will distinguish between areas of specific and nonspecific staining in tissue sections stained with human antibodies. Financial terms were undisclosed.