¿ Aphton Corp., of Miami, began a clinical trial of a combination of its anti-G17 immunogen and irinotecan in patients who've failed 5-FU and irinotecan. Aphton plans to seek fast-track status for the therapy when a sufficient number of chemotherapy-refractive patients respond to the treatment.

¿ Biomatrix Inc., of Ridgefield, N.J., said its shareholders approved the merger agreement with Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., to form a new company, Genzyme Biosurgery. The company will be a division of Genzyme composed of Biomatrix, Genzyme Tissue Repair and Genzyme Surgical Products after the merger.

¿ Elitra Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, completed its acquisition of Mycota Biosciences Inc., of Montreal, for 5.95 million shares, a deal valued at $19.34 million. Mycota will continue its operations as a wholly owned subsidiary of Elitra. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 13, 2000.)

¿ Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, delivered new assays for high-throughput screening to partner Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, through Genoptera LLC, Exelixis' joint venture with Bayer's crop protection division. The delivery triggers undisclosed milestone payments for Exelixis. The partnership, entered in 1998 and expanded in 1999, called for a $20 million up-front payment and $80 million in committed research funding over the eight-year life of the arrangement.

¿ Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, said four Phase III trials are currently enrolling or planning to enroll more than 10,000 women at 800 sites worldwide with adjuvant breast cancer to determine the safety and efficacy of adding Herceptin to chemotherapy in an adjuvant setting. The trials will include monitoring of cardiac safety for all participants and include interim safety analyses after a predetermined number of patients have been treated prior to concluding the efficacy part of the trial.

¿ Immunex Corp., of Seattle, said Health Canada approved Enbrel for use in Canada in adults for reduction in signs and symptoms of moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis in patients who have had an inadequate response to one or more disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Enbrel also can be used in combination with methotrexate. Enbrel vials will be commercially available for use in Canada beginning March 2001 through a patient registry program accessible through a rheumatologist.

¿ Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, said preclinical results for INGN 241, an adenoviral-mda7 gene therapy-based antiangiogenesis therapy, indicate selective cancer cell-killing activity. Antiangiogenic activity was observed in both in vitro and in animal models.

¿ Maxygen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., and Integrated Genomics Inc., of Chicago, entered a collaboration allowing Maxygen access to Integrated Genomics' bioinformatics software and databases. Terms were not disclosed.

¿ Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., reacquired worldwide commercial rights to GA-II, a Gene-Activated protein, from Aventis Pharma, a division of Aventis SA, of Frankfurt, Germany. Financial terms were undisclosed. Aventis completed a Phase I test of GA-II under an investigational new drug application filed in December 1999. TKT expects to initiate a Phase II test of the protein next year. Aventis Pharma continues development of TKT's Gene-Activated protein Dynepo.

¿ United Therapeutics Inc., of Silver Spring, Md., said it decided to discontinue development of Ketotop, a transdermal patch for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, based on results of its Phase III study. The key clinical and regulatory endpoint related to pain reduction did not meet the company's expectations.

¿ Vical Inc., of San Diego, said data on the safety profile and efficacy of Allovectin-7 and Leuvectin, both anticancer agents, supports the continued development of gene-based immunotherapies. Both use proprietary gene-delivery methods to induce immune responses against tumor cells.