¿ Allos Therapeutics Inc., of Denver, began a Phase Ib/II study of RSR13 administered with BCNU (carmustine) chemotherapy for the treatment of recurrent malignant glioma. RSR13 is in Phase III evaluation to enhance the efficiency of radiation therapy for brain metastases, but this marks the first study evaluating its potential to enhance the efficacy of a chemotherapy agent.
¿ AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., said it will transfer its proprietary cell culture manufacturing processes and the development responsibilities for OvaRex MAb from Lonza Biologics plc, of Basel, Switzerland, to Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill.
¿ Antex Biologics Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Army for the development of an oral microbead vaccine to prevent traveler's diarrhea. The grant will fund studies on the encapsulation of inactivated Campylobacter jejuni bacteria into microbeads, and determination of their immune response in preclinical studies.
¿ Aphton Corp., of Miami, said the FDA has allowed the initiation of a clinical trial of its immunogen, GnRH pharmaccine, in combination with the chemotherapeutic taxotere in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer. After an initial treatment with pharmaccine, which has not previously been administered in the U.S., the company plans to file for FDA permission to begin a pivotal trial with the combination therapy.
¿ Aradigm Corp., of Hayward, Calif., said it raised $5 million through the sale of 339,961 shares at a price of $14.71 per share to GlaxoSmithKline plc, of Brentford, UK, pursuant to the exercise of a put option by Aradigm under the terms of the collaboration between the companies. That collaboration calls for Aradigm to conduct a Phase IIb trial for the development of the AERx Pain Management System for pulmonary delivery of morphine.
¿ Arakis Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, said Bioglan Pharma plc, of Hertfordshire, UK, agreed to develop and commercialize AD 177, a novel treatment for psoriasis and one of Arakis' proprietary performance-enhanced medicine-based therapies. The companies will jointly develop and invest in the development program of AD 177. Bioglan will receive exclusive worldwide commercialization rights and will pay Arakis royalties on sales. A proof-of-principle study will commence in the second quarter.
¿ Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, received $1.5 million in milestone payments from Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, under the terms of the companies' April 2000 research collaboration. The payments are in response to Lilly's acceptance of CART-activated versions of six orphan G protein-coupled receptors. The delivery brings the total number of human endocrine, cardiovascular and central nervous system receptors accepted by Lilly to nine.
¿ Avidex Ltd., of Oxford, England, completed a #10 million (US$14.7 million) funding round. The investment was led by Advent Venture Partners, of London, which invested #4 million. The remaining #6 million came from private investors and existing shareholders, including Quester Capital Management on behalf of Oxford College's Fund and the Oxford Technology Venture Capital Trust plc. In separate news, James Noble was appointed as its CEO.
¿ Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its IMPACT study of Avonex (interferon beta-1a) in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis achieved its primary endpoint. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III trial of Avonex, Biogen said, showed the drug reduced the progression of disability in secondary progressive MS patients by 27 percent vs. placebo.
¿ Calydon Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., said researchers reported a novel therapeutic strategy for treating advanced prostate cancer combining a genetically modified adenovirus with a class of chemotherapeutic agents called taxanes. In combination, the therapy produced a synergetic benefit over either individual method of treatment. Calydon plans to test the combination therapy in a Phase I/II trial in early 2001.
¿ Crucell N.V., of Leiden, the Netherlands, entered a licensing agreement with Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., for access to Crucell's PER.C6 technology. Cell Genesys has a license with an option to convert it to a commercial license within five years. Financial terms were undisclosed.
¿ DepoMed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., said it has a collaboration with a NYSE-traded pharmaceutical company to develop an improved, controlled-release product, using one of DepoMed's proprietary delivery systems. The partner, the product and the drug delivery technology were not disclosed, although DepoMed will receive an initial payment and all research and development expenses will be funded by the partner. DepoMed expects to conduct a human bioavailability trial of the controlled-release product later this year.
¿ Endovasc Ltd., of Montgomery, Texas, said it successfully completed Phase I trials of Liprostin in healthy volunteers. The dose-tolerance tests showed the drug for treatment of critical limb ischemia to be well tolerated and safe.
¿ Hyseq Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., named Ted Love president and chief operating officer. Love brings experience from his six years at Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco.
¿ ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said the FDA granted orphan status to Tiazole (tiazofurin), its chronic myelogenous leukemia in accelerated phase, or blast crisis, therapeutic. The anticancer agent is currently in testing with patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia.
¿ InforMax Inc., of Rockville, Md., and Biomax Informatics AG, of Martinsried, Germany, agreed to grant InforMax exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the BioRS Integration and Retrieval System developed by Biomax. As part of the four-year agreement, the companies will integrate BioRS's capabilities with the InforMax platform, and InforMax will market solutions using the combined technologies.
¿ Intercell Biomedical Research & Development AG, of Vienna, Austria, completed a EURO27 million (US$25.4 million) Series B preferred shares private financing to support and expand internal research and development programs, throughput screening and vaccine development. The funding was led by Apax Partners Funds, along with TVM Techno Venture Management, Nomura International plc, GO Equity GmbH, Sal. Oppenhiem Jr. & Cie and Alpinvest NV. Intercell is involved in the research and development of synthetic, chemically defined vaccines for infectious diseases and cancers.
¿ Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., said development partner Pfizer Inc., of New York, initiated Phase II testing of pagoclone for generalized anxiety disorder. The study is designed to evaluate the drug's safety and efficacy. Interneuron licensed pagoclone to Pfizer, then Warner-Lambert Co., in December 1999.
¿ IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., completed patient enrollment in its Phase III trial of Protegrin IB-367 Rinse in chemotherapy patients. Company officials said the statistical power of the study will be reduced due to an error by a subcontractor causing incorrect dispensing of a portion of the clinical supplies during the trial.
¿ Nortran Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its future activities will focus in the cardiac area. It has three programs in the cardiac arrhythmia area and will target other cardiac indications in the future. Also, Barry Johnson joined the company as director of pharmacology.
¿ Ohio State University, of Columbus, Ohio, the Ohio Supercomputer Center and LabBook Inc., of McLean, Va., said they formed a partnership to provide life science researchers with an annotated map of the human genome.
¿ Paratek Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boston, achieved a milestone in its research collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of Brentford, UK, by submitting a set of lead compounds with potential for use against bacteria that are resistant to existing antibacterial products. The compounds will be further developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the milestone triggers additional equity investment in Paratek and increased research support by GlaxoSmithKline.
¿ PhotoCure ASA, of Oslo, Norway, said a Phase III study of its Metvix photodynamic therapy compared to cryotherapy indicated Metvix is more efficacious. According to the company, 91 percent of precancerous skin lesions were completely cured compared to 68 percent of lesions treated with cryotherapy.
¿ Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, agreed with Pfizer Inc., of New York, to amend the deadline for Pfizer to decide whether to continue their asthma/allergy research collaboration for an additional year. The deadline is now Jan. 25. The companies initially entered a two-year agreement in January 1999. In separate news, Rigel said a new study published in Nature Genetics (volume 27, No.1, January 2001) demonstrates the utility of the company's combinatorial biology technology at identifying novel drug targets in disease signaling pathways.
¿ SafeScience Inc., of Boston, said it raised $4.7 million from institutional and accredited investors. The company issued about 3.96 million shares at $1.19 per share and fixed-price cash warrants to purchase about 1.964 million additional shares at an average weighted price of $2.56 per share, exercisable over five years. The company said it will use the proceeds to fund advancement of its lead compound, GBC-590, a treatment for refractory or relapsing colorectal carcinoma.
¿ Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, said it published results of its large-scale single nucleotide polymorphism assay development and validation study in the Jan. 16, 2001, issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study's results were obtained using the company's automated assay development process and proprietary MASSarray system.
¿ Trega Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, said F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, licensed two modules of the iDEA Predictive ADME Simulation System for use in drug discovery. Roche expanded to a three-year global license from its initial license to the absorption module granted earlier this year. The agreement includes access to the iDEA metabolism module, as well as product updates for the life of the license. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Xenogen Corp., of Alameda, Calif., entered an evaluation license with Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., allowing Chiron access to Xenogen's real-time in vivo imaging technologies. Chiron will evaluate the technology for drug discovery applications in treatment of cancer.