GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, entered a deal worth up to $US$30 million with Boehringer Ingelheim, of Ingelheim, Germany. GPC said it will identify new drug targets associated with human papillomavirus infections. The deal includes up-front license fees, research funding and milestone payments to GPC Biotech up to US$30M. Royalties are subject to additional payments. Further financial details were not disclosed. GPC said it will use its OliCode, PathCode and bioinformatics technologies to identify molecular pathways important for HPV infections. OliCode is a gene-fingerprinting technology; PathCode is for large-scale protein-protein interaction mapping. GPC officials could not be reached for comment.
Adprotech Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, signed a research agreement with Elan Corp., of Dublin, Ireland, to evaluate Adprotech's Immudaptin adjuvant technology for use in an immunotherapeutic for Alzheimer's disease. Immudaptin, derived from a naturally occurring human protein, harnesses part of the complement system to amplify the natural immune response. Under the terms of the agreement Adprotech will modify selected drug candidates with Immudaptin, and Elan will evaluate their therapeutic potential. Elan recently announced an alliance with American Home Products Corp. to develop immunotherapeutics for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
BioVex Ltd., of London, has set up a new business, GenTest, to provide target validation services using its herpes gene delivery technology that is able to target genes to the nervous system, immune system and tumor cells. GenTest already agreed to its first contract, with an unnamed U.S. biopharmaceutical company, to identify genes involved in disease that are viable targets for therapeutic intervention.
Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, moved its human antibody HuMax-CD4 into a Phase II clinical trial for a second indication, severe psoriasis. A Phase II study of HuMax-CD4 in rheumatoid arthritis commenced last month. The psoriasis study entails four different dose levels, plus placebo, and is designed to yield safety, efficacy and dosage data. HuMax-CD4, a high-affinity monoclonal antibody that binds CD4 T cells, was generated using the HuMab transgenic mouse technology owned by Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J., which is a Genmab shareholder.
International Biotechnology Trust (IBT) shareholders approved the tender offer at an extraordinary general meeting last week, and opted to sell back 47.15 percent of the issued share capital at a price of £2.81 per share. This compared to the market price of £2.40 per share. While almost half the shares were tendered, a majority of shareholders tendered no shares, or only a minority of their shares. IBT Chairman Jock Green Armytage said this endorsed the policy of the company and was a "reflection of most shareholders' belief" in the investment opportunity of the global biotechnology sector. As previously agreed, Green Armytage retired following the meeting, to be replaced by Andrew Barker. The tender offer followed an attack on IBT by the arbitrageur Millennium Partners LP of New York in May. Millennium said that as IBT's shares trade at a discount to the net asset value (NAV), the company should restructure to allow shareholders to realize their holdings at a price close to the NAV. Following the settlement, IBT will have net assets of £137.8 million, and have 48,615,467 shares in issue, equating to a NAV of £2.80 pence per share.
MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, completed the acquisition of San Diego-based NeuroVir Therapeutics Inc. The U.S. company will operate under the name MediGene Inc. The stock transaction involves about 1 million new MediGene shares, valued at about US$77 million based on the stock price of the day the deal was disclosed. MediGene's CEO Peter Heinrich will act as CEO of the combined entity. Frank Tufaro will head MediGene Inc. as a managing director. The acquisition increases MediGene's clinical pipeline by two products, giving it five in development now.
Pantheco A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, which is developing antisense nucleic acid analogues for infectious diseases, signed an antibacterials R&D development pact with Zydus Cadila, of Ahmedabad, India. The companies aim to find new antibiotic compounds based on existing classes of antibiotics. Zydus Cadila will undertake chemistry, preliminary screening and initial characterization, while Pantheco will be responsible for further characterization studies, as well as preclinical and early clinical development work. Each company will fund its own research effort, and profits will be shared equally.