¿ Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said collaborator Allergen Inc., of Irvine, Calif., filed an investigational new drug application for AGN 195795, a gene-specific adrenergic agonist for treatment of glaucoma. The compound showed superiority to existing adrenergic agents in animal studies. The companies also said they extended their collaboration for two years.
¿ Acorda Therapeutics Inc., of Hawthorne, N.Y., received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant and a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the National Institutes of Health totaling $209,000. They will be used for collaborative research with the Mayo Clinic in central nervous system repair using natural monoclonal antibodies. Acorda's "M1" antibodies have shown efficacy in promoting regrowth of myelin sheaths around nerve fibers, activity that could offer treatments for multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases.
¿ Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., completed the acquisition of privately held Neomorphic Inc., of Berkeley, Calif. In connection with the acquisition, stockholders of Neomorphic will receive about 1.4 million shares of Affymetrix common stock in exchange for all of their outstanding shares and the assumption of all of Neomorphic's stock options. Affymetrix agreed to register the resale of the Affymetrix stock issued in the transaction following the closing. At such time the aggregate number of Affymetrix stock that the Neomorphic stockholders will receive may be increased or decreased depending on Affymetrix's stock performance prior to the effective date of the registration statement. In lieu of any such increase, Affymetrix has the option of paying cash in an amount not to exceed $20 million. The transaction, initially valued at $70 million, is being accounted for as a purchase transaction. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 3, 2000.)
¿ Biota Holdings Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, signed a heads of agreement with Vapotronics Ltd., a subsidiary of Vapotronics Inc., to research the effectiveness of aerosol applications for one or more of Biota's drugs. Under the terms, Vapotronics will perform a number of tests to determine the effectiveness of its technology when used in conjunction with Biota's drugs.
¿ Caliper Technologies Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., said the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California upheld Caliper's motion requesting summary judgement that its LabChip product does not literally infringe on claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,750,015, held by Aclara BioSciences Inc., also of Mountain View. The court declined to uphold a motion to find summary judgement that the '015 patent is invalid. A motion to find summary judgement that the '015 patent is unenforceable is still pending. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 31, 2000.)
¿ Cangene Corp., of Winnipeg, Manitoba, entered a definitive merger agreement with Chesapeake Biological Laboratories Inc., of Baltimore. Chesapeake is a pharmaceutical and medical device developer, and commercial manufacturing services provider for parenteral and aseptic products. Cangene will acquire all outstanding stock of Chesapeake for $4.60 per share in cash, totaling $42 million, including the assumption of $7.2 million in debt. The Cangene and Chesapeake boards of directors have unanimously approved the transaction.
¿ Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., reported with the Naval Medical Research Center the protective immune response to malaria causing organisms induced by a Cel-Sci peptide based on its Ligand Epitope Antigen Presentation System (LEAPS). Data were presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The peptide in the study was a combination of a mouse malaria epitope peptide linked to a T-cell-binding ligand peptide designed to specifically stimulate the immune system. The study was a part of a cooperative research and development agreement to develop and characterize the nature of the response for a malaria vaccine using LEAPS.
¿ Connetics Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., published preclinical study results in the September - October 2000 issue of Wound Repair and Regeneration. The results, titled "Relaxin Induces Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Expression And Angiogenesis Selectively At Wound Sites," suggest relaxin may be useful in the treatment of ischemic conditions by stimulating angiogenesis through the induction of both vascular endothelial growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor at ischemic sites.
¿ Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Doylestown, Pa., received a $1 million fast-track Small Business Innovation Research grant by the National Institutes of Health to develop Surfaxin for acute respiratory distress syndromes, including acute lung injury. The grant will be split into $128,000 for the first six months and $891,000 for up to two years, and is expected to cover a portion of the costs of research and development for Surfaxin associated with protease inhibitors.
¿ Galenica Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Frederick, Md., entered an agreement with the Naval Medical Research Center Malaria Program of the U.S. Navy to evaluate Galenica's proprietary immunomodulator technology in the development of a malaria vaccine. Under a cooperative research and development agreement, Galenica's lead adjuvant candidate, GPI-0100, will be evaluated for its effectiveness in vaccine formulations containing antigens derived from the malaria parasite in stimulating a protective immune response against the disease.
¿ Genencor International Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., signed a four-year agreement with Danisco A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, for $20 million in funding for Genencor's research and development efforts. Genencor is now Danisco's exclusive partner for the discovery, development and production of innovative bioingredients for use in the food industry. Genencor will use its i-biotech system to develop bioingredients with new functionality, including proteins, enzymes, peptides and other biologically derived compounds. Danisco will provide its application technology and global market reach.
¿ Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., gave preliminary results at the 51st annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease in Dallas from an ongoing open-label pilot study evaluating the safety and efficacy of adefovir dipivoxil for lamivudine-resistant chronic hepatitis B virus infection in 35 patients co-infected with HIV and HBV. Early results suggest the treatment appears to be well tolerated and result in a decrease in HBV DNA at 24 weeks. It has two Phase III clinical trials to evaluate adefovir dipivoxil as a potential treatment for chronic HBV in non-HIV infected patients.
¿ Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, completed an equity investment in Chronix Biomedical, of San Francisco, as part of a move to gain a position in the genomics industry. The companies will jointly develop intellectual property related to diagnosing stages of gene reshuffling using a panel of screening tests for chronic fatigue syndrome.
¿ Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., said underwriters for its 11 million-share public offering exercised their overallotment option, purchasing an additional 1.65 million shares at $75 each. Total proceeds from the offering, including the overallotment option, were about $950 million. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 30, 2000.)
¿ LifeCell Corp., of Branchburg, N.J., completed a private placement of 2.5 million shares at $4 per share for proceeds to the company of $10 million to be used for program development, sales and marketing expansion, and potential acquisitions. Prudential Vector Healthcare Group and Gruntal & Co. LLC served as placement agents in the transaction. LifeCell develops and markets regenerative medicinal products for the repair, replacement and preservation of human tissues.
¿ Lynx Therapeutics Inc., of Hayward Calif., is collaborating with the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) for the discovery of genes and molecular mechanisms involved in cancer, infectious diseases and other Asia/Pacific-prevalent diseases. Lynx will use its Megasort and Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing technology to discover differentially expressed genes in samples provided by the IMCB.
¿ Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, gave 12-week results from its clinical study to evaluate the safety of triple-drug therapy incorporating Maxamine in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. After 12 weeks, the triple-drug Maxamine combination achieved a complete biochemical response in 100 percent of the 13 evaluable patients and 62 percent had a greater than two-log decrease in viral load or were complete responders. The results were presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases conference in Dallas.
¿ Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, will collaborate with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to develop genetic tests. The Children's Hospital is considered a world leader in caring for children with diseases caused by a deletion of DNA on chromosome 22. Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome is characterized by several things, including cardiac defects, cleft palate and feeding problems. The object of the collaboration is to accelerate development of clinical diagnostics assays on Nanogen's DNA microchips, potentially leading to quicker and better diagnostic results.
¿ Neurochem Inc., of Saint-Laurent, Quebec, filed for orphan medicinal product designation with the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products for Fibrillex, a drug in development for the treatment of patients suffering from secondary amyloidosis. The designation in Europe typically allows a 10-year market exclusivity in the 15 member states of the European Community.
¿ Psychiatric Genomics Inc. moved to Gaithersburg, Md., occupying a new 26,000-square-foot facility with its sister company, Avalon Pharmaceuticals Inc. PGI uses genomics to discover novel psychiatric therapeutics for mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and depression.
¿ QLT Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said results from its Phase II study of photodynamic therapy with verteporfin in non-melanoma skin cancer produced positive results. The smallest light dose in the 54-patient, randomized, open-label study produced the most effective results, with a complete clinical response in 98 percent of assessed tumors six months after treatment.
¿ Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., presented results of preclinical studies of its anti-hepatitis B ribozyme product candidates that demonstrated efficacy in animal models, and also information from studies of its anti-hepatitis C ribozyme, Heptazyme, at the annual American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. In both Heptazyme studies, it was well tolerated at all doses. Phase II studies on Heptazyme are upcoming. Studies on its anti-hepatitis B ribozyme compounds showed a statistically significant reduction in HBV viremia following subcutaneous administration of anti-HBV ribozymes.
¿ SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., said a study presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease confirms its immunotherapeutic, Zadaxin, increases T-cell activation in both CD4 and CD8 T-cell levels. The study with hepatitis B patients indicated that a six-month treatment regimen with Zadaxin and alpha interferon actively increased immune response.
¿ Seattle Genetics Inc., of Bothell, Wash., initiated Phase II studies with the monoclonal antibody drug conjugate SGN-15. It recently completed Phase I testing of SGN-15 and Taxotere combination in patients with breast or colorectal carcinoma.
¿ Syrrx Inc., of San Diego, and MolSoft LLC, of La Jolla, Calif., entered a 10-year strategic alliance for structure-guided drug discovery through MolSoft's Virtual Ligand Screening technology and Syrrx's high-throughput structural proteomics platform. Ruben Abagyan, founder of MolSoft, will join Syrrx's board of directors. Under the terms, Syrrx will be the only company authorized to use MolSoft's VLS technology in combination with structural proteomics capabilities, but MolSoft will continue to provide services directly to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Syrrx uses an array of proprietary robotic technologies to automate and streamline multiple steps in the protein structure determination process. MolSoft has been developing software tools for molecular modeling, bioinformatics and computer-aided drug discovery since 1994.
¿ ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, agreed with Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., to provide drug-resistance testing services for Roche's Phase III program for its anti-HIV therapeutic, T-20. ViroLogic will use its phenotypic drug susceptibility test, PhenoSense HIV, to gauge HIV resistance to approved antiretrovirals.