¿ Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., licensed a group of potential diabetes therapeutics, small-molecule inhibitors of the phosphatase target PTP1B, from Array BioPharma Inc., of Boulder, Colo., for optimization and development. Amgen's exclusive license from Array provides Amgen with worldwide rights for development and commercialization of PTP1B-based therapeutics. Financial terms were not disclosed. Inhibitors of the phosphatase target PTP1B could offer treatments for diabetes and diabetes-related diseases.

¿ Aviron Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., sold 153,448 shares to Acqua Wellington North American Equities Fund Ltd. at $52.13 per share, a price determined using a volume-weighted, 18-day average market price, for proceeds of $8 million. Aviron late Tuesday announced the submission of a biologics license application for FluMist, its intranasal influenza vaccine, and saw its stock (NASDAQ:AVIR) rise $4.187 Wednesday to close at $69.562. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 1, 2000.)

¿ BioChem Pharma Inc., of Laval, Quebec, said new research indicates liver damage suffered by hepatitis B patients previously thought to be irreparable can be improved by antiviral treatment. The study presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Congress demonstrated a regression in cirrhosis in 64 percent of patients following two or more years of treatment with Zeffix (lamivudine). Over the same period, 51 percent of patients experienced a resolution or improvement in bridging fibrosis, a cirrhosis precursor.

¿ BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., of Novato, Calif., named Fredric Price chairman of its board and CEO. Price replaces Grant Denison, who continues to serve on the board. Price is the former president and CEO of AMBI Inc., of Purchase, N.Y.

¿ Biomatrix Inc., of Ridgefield, N.J., said a study presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology showed that hip osteoarthritis patients treated with intra-articular Synvisc (hylan G-F20) exhibited significant and sustained symptomatic relief. The data were the first evidence that Synvisc, approved in the U.S. as a viscosupplement and as a knee osteoarthritis therapeutic in 50 other countries, may be safe and effective in reducing pain and improving functionality for hip osteoarthritis patients.

¿ Boston Life Sciences Inc., of Boston, said scientists at Children's Hospital Boston described a mechanism controlling axon regeneration in nerve cells in a report in the Nov. 1, 2000, issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The paper describes a central program that controls a family of genes required for axon growth, and the function of Inosine, a naturally occurring small molecule found in the brain that can directly switch on the program.

¿ Copernicus Therapeutics Inc., of Cleveland, received a milestone payment as part of a $1.5 million Phase II grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to advance the development of therapeutic treatments for cystic fibrosis. The grant supports preclinical and early clinical development of Copernicus' targeted PLASmin complexes designed for the delivery of therapeutic genes to the cells lining the airways and lungs of CF patients.

¿ Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said its Phase I/II trial of HuMax-CD4 in rheumatoid arthritis produced positive results, showing tolerability and no evidence of depletion of CD4-positive T cells. HuMax-CD4 is a fully human antibody that targets CD4 receptors. The company said the 35-patient, dose-escalating, placebo-controlled study produced favorable responses in about half the treated population.

¿ Immunex Inc., of Seattle, and Madison, N.J.-based co-marketer Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories' protein-based tumor necrosis factor-inhibitor Enbrel (etanercept) produced an improvement in and sometimes a remission of uveitis, according to results of a trial presented by the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles to the 64th Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. The open-label trial of 10 children with chronically active uveitis showed a decrease in inflammation of the uveal tract in 63 percent of eyes.

¿ Neurobiological Technologies Inc., of Richmond, Calif., received a $2.5 million up-front payment from Merz & Co., of Frankfurt, Germany, related to Memantine, a neuroprotective agent for treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The agreement includes milestone payments and royalties upon Memantine commercialization.

¿ Packard BioScience Co., of Meriden, Conn., said it is negotiating the sale of Canberra Industries, which produces instruments and systems for radioactivity detection, quantification and monitoring in nuclear and related industries. Packard said it expects the sale to close within three months. In separate news, Packard delivered factory-tested biochip production devices to Motorola Inc., of Schaumburg, Ill., per the companies' 1999 agreement.

¿ ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, said it entered a development collaboration with Aventis Behring LLC, of King of Prussia, Pa., for the use of ProMetic's protein purification technology. Aventis will fund the development of a protein-isolating Mimetic Ligand using ProMetic's Intelligent Combinatorial Libraries. Aventis will ultimately use the ligand to enhance its protein purification procedures. Financial terms were undisclosed.

¿ Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Hayward, Calif., received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health for $749,000 to fund further research into a series of glial excitotoxin release inhibitor compounds. The grant will allow the company to complete preclinical work on several potential leads. The compounds target astroglial cells that are thought to be responsible for brain swelling following stroke or traumatic brain injury.

¿ Targeted Molecules Corp., of La Jolla, Calif., said it will produce an extensive map of the vasculature of mice and humans using selective homing peptides identified through its technology platform for in vivo screening of phage combinatorial libraries. The company already has identified a large library of proprietary homing peptides, which also could provide drug discovery avenues by using the peptides as lead molecules to identify receptors.

¿ Xoma Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., initiated a Phase I study of its ING-1 human-engineered monoclonal antibody in cancer patients. The open-label, dose-escalating study is designed to test safety, tolerability, immunogenicity and pharmacokinetics of intravenous administration of the compound in 15 to 30 patients. ING-1 is designed to bring about tumor death by recognizing and binding to the Ep-CAM antigen, which is expressed in the majority of adenocarcinomas.

No Comments