¿ Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., adapted and optimized its Argent gene regulation technology for rapid, high-throughput, stringent analysis of in vivo and in vitro gene function, the company reported in the Nov. 21, 2000, issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. New features include extraordinarily tight regulation of genes, dose-dependent modulation of gene expression, higher magnitude gene expression, and rapid introduction through a single-step specialized gene-delivery vector.
¿ BioChem Pharma Inc., of Laval, Quebec, said the FDA approved Trizivir, a triple-drug anti-HIV therapeutic. Trizivir combines BioChem's Epivir and Retrovir with Glaxo-Wellcome's Ziagen.
¿ BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Antonio, formed KI Pharmaceuticals LLC, a joint venture focused on oncologics, with Japanese company Grelan Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, to enhance its Eastern presence. BioNumerik has allied itself with Grelan since June 1996, when the companies agreed to co-develop BioNumerik's cisplatin-protecting agent, BNP7787, in Japan. Grelan made a $2 million equity investment in BioNumerik when that agreement was expanded in conjunction with BioNumerik's $12 million financing this year. (See BioWorld Today, May 5, 2000.)
¿ Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., granted marketing and distribution rights in the Republic of Korea for Provigil, the company's modafinil tablets for treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness in association with narcolepsy, to Choongwae Pharma Corp., of Korea. Financial terms were undisclosed.
¿ Endovasc Ltd., of Montgomery, Texas, said it is prepared to begin clinical trials of Liprostin, its critical limb ischemia therapeutic, having received notification from the FDA that its investigational new drug application has completed review. The company plans to run Phase I and Phase II trials in Houston.
¿ Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., began a commercial research program with Interleukin Genetics Inc., also of Waltham, to provide DNA sequencing information and single nucleotide polymorphism detection. The program will focus on genes in the chromosomal region of 2q13, which is associated with risk for inflammatory diseases, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gastric cancer and osteoporosis. Financial details were undisclosed.
¿ Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., said research findings published in the Nov. 15, 2000, issue of Developmental Biology demonstrate that clonal human embryonic stem cell populations retain indefinite replicative capacity and the ability to differentiate in long-term culture. Geron said the research confirms the potential of human embryonic stem cells to serve as a source of replacement cells and tissues for regenerative medicine.
¿ Lion Bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, entered a five-year strategic alliance with Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., to co-develop and co-market a plant and fungal metabolic profiling database for target identification and validation. The alliance is an expansion of an agreement reached in January. The companies will share revenue from sales of the resultant database, bioinformatics tools and solutions.
¿ MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, entered an asset purchase agreement with a subsidiary of MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., for the purchase of Hexalen, an FDA-approved orally administered chemotherapeutic for second-line treatment of ovarian cancer. MGI will pay MedImmune $7.2 million over an 18-month period plus royalties for 10 years. Hexalen had sales of about $3 million in 1998.
¿ Molecular Geriatrics Corp., of Vernon Hills, Ill., received a $250,800 program-related investment from the Institute for the Study of Aging to fund drug discovery efforts through in vitro screening aimed at identifying Alzheimer's disease therapeutics. The company will screen compounds to determine whether a drug candidate intervenes on a pathway common to both neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques.
¿ Neose Technologies Inc., of Horsham, Pa., modified its shareholder rights plan at the request of its largest shareholder, Kopp Investment Advisors, of Minneapolis, to allow Kopp to purchase additional shares of Neose on the open market. Kopp plans to increase its stake in Neose from 14.7 percent to up to 20 percent. It would have been limited to 15 percent under the old rights plan. Neose develops technologies for the synthesis and manufacture of complex carbohydrates using a proprietary enzymatic glycosylation technology.
¿ Novelos Therapeutics Inc., of Newton, Mass., completed its first round of private equity financing, raising $3.3 million in a placement led by Masthead Venture Partners, of Portland, Ore. Novelos will use the funding to advance its lead candidate, BAM-002, a naturally occurring peptide for non-small-cell lung cancer treatment.
¿ PIC International Group plc, of Cambridge, UK, entered an alliance with Keygene N.V., of Wageningen, the Netherlands, focused on finding DNA markers associated with value-added traits in swine. Keygene will use its AFLP technology to map swine genes and identify traits. Financial terms were undisclosed.
¿ SpectruMedix Corp., of State College, Pa., received a $700,000 grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health to develop and test its 384-capillary DNA sequencer. The grant includes an undisclosed amount for indirect expenses beyond the $700,000, which is for reimbursing research and development costs.
¿ Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., said a report in the September 2000 issue of Molecular Therapy details improvements in the company's GeneSwitch gene regulation system. Improvements include the ability to completely shut off expression of potent therapeutic proteins and a more stringent control of the level and duration of expression of selected therapeutic genes.
¿ Versicor, Inc., of Fremont, Calif., achieved a second milestone in its three-year collaboration with Novartis Pharma AG, of Basel, Switzerland, creating a proprietary assay package to identify novel antibacterial agents. Novartis will use this assay and others to identify drug candidates. The amount of the milestone was undisclosed.
¿ Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., said Mylotarg, its CD33-positive relapsed acute myeloid leukemia treatment, was designated an orphan medicinal product in Europe. If approved, it would be the first antibody-targeted chemotherapeutic, which acts using antibody-antigen specificity for target delivery, available in Europe.