¿ deCode Genetics Inc., of Reykjavik, Iceland, said its scientists have discovered a gene linked to schizophrenia in conjunction with partner F. Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Basel, Switzerland, and scientists from the Icelandic health care system. The discovery comes as a result of a genome-wide screen of 400 schizophrenic Icelanders and an equal number of their unaffected family members. An undisclosed milestone payment to deCode was triggered.
¿ Environmental Protection Agency officials reaffirmed that a review of all available scientific information indicates that monarch butterflies are at very little risk from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn products, contrary to widely published reports. EPA also said some are predicting that the widespread cultivation of Bt crops may have benefits for the monarch butterfly's survival. Titled "Bt Plant-Pesticides Biopesticides Registration Action Document," the effort represents a preliminary draft risk assessment to evaluate the health, safety and environmental risks, as well as benefits of Bt corn, cotton and potato plants.
¿ ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said it revised its restructuring plan to consider strategic transactions including the sale of all or part of the company, though it remains committed to breaking up ICN into three constituent businesses: Ribapharm, ICN International and ICN Americas. The restructuring plan is in agreement with 8.5 percent owner Special Situation Partners, which threatened to run its own slate of directors for nomination at the company's annual meeting on Dec. 18 to block an initial public offering by one of the units. ICN's public senior debt will be repaid or refinanced as a part of the restructuring, an effort to enhance stockholder value that comes close on the heels of the reclamation of the company from the Serbian government by CEO and former Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Panic. ICN's stock (NYSE:ICN) closed up $1.25 Friday at $40.187, a 52-week high.
¿ Immtech International Inc., of Vernon Hills, Ill., said initial results of an in vivo trial of its dication compounds, including DB 289, in tuberculosis indicate efficacy expressed by a slowing in TB bacterial growth. The company's dication compounds are designed to bind to the minor grove of DNA and block critical enzymes. DB 289 is being developed for treatment of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and has potential for the treatment of sleeping sickness.
¿ SkyePharma plc, of London, received final approval from the FDA to market its lead dermatology product, Solaraze, for the treatment of acute keratosis. The product, which uses the company's Hyaluronan Induced Targeting transdermal delivery technology, is already approved for marketing in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK. The estimated market in the U.S. is $250 million.
¿ Sonus Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bothell, Wash., implemented a restructuring plan in support of its refocus on drug delivery and blood substitute product development. The company made a 25 percent reduction in personnel, leaving a core group of 30 people, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in ongoing operating expenses. The cost of the restructuring will be about $300,000 for severance and related benefit payments.