¿ 4SC, of Martinsried, Germany, received a grant of EUR1.3 million (US$1.09 million) from the European Commission for discovery of novel treatment regimens for severe malaria. 4SC accepted the grant on behalf of a group of researchers coordinated by Michael Lanzer of the Institute of Hygiene, University of Heidelberg.
¿ AngioSense Inc., of Cupertino, Calif., and Repair Inc., of Boston, said at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics Symposium held in Washington that they will jointly pursue clinical applications for sustained delivery of fibroblast growth factor to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in diseased hearts. AngioSense will supply its needle-free, jet-injection delivery system and Repair will provide proprietary FGF protein and fibrinogen constructs. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Aquila Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Framingham, Mass., said the third clinical trial for Quilimmune, its pneumococcal infections vaccine, will use an improved formulation shown in preclinical studies to have increased potency compared to other vaccines and earlier formulations of Quilimmune. The study is designed to evaluate the compound, an S. pneumoniae carbohydrate antigen combined with Aquila's Stimulon adjuvant QS-021, for efficacy and immunogenicity in 30 elderly subjects.
¿ Avant Immunotherapies Inc., of Needham, Mass., received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, of the NIH, to support the development of a vaccine for genital herpes. The grant is worth approximately $220,000, to be distributed to Avant over a 12-month period. The vaccine, named d15-29, utilizes a live, replication-defective mutant of the herpes virus to induce immunity.
¿ Centaur Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., said interim results for the AIDS dementia complex Phase IIa clinical study of CPI-1189 indicated it was well tolerated, with more than 90 percent of patients completing the initial 10-week dosing period, compared to 76 percent in the placebo group. The study was designed to determine the safety, tolerability, compliance and efficacy trends of CPI-1189 across a 22-week treatment period, with an interim analysis at 10 weeks.
¿ Coley Pharmaceutical Group Inc., of Wellesley, Mass., initiated Phase II clinical trials of a CpG compound for the treatment of allergic asthma. Phase I trials of the CpG oligonucleotide-based product have shown safety and tolerance. The randomized, double-blind study of 24 patients with allergic asthma sensitive to a dust-mite allergen carries primary endpoints of safety, tolerability and efficacy measured by pulmonary function tests following allergen challenge.
¿ diaDexus Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., said a study of a new independent risk factor for coronary heart disease concluded that the enzyme lipoprotein-associate phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) shows a strong correlation with risk of coronary heart disease. The study was published in the current edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.
¿ Ecopia BioSciences Inc., of Montreal, entered a collaborative research and license agreement with Kosan BioSciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif. Ecopia will apply its genomics platform to discover the genes responsible for directing the synthesis of a small molecule that is naturally produced by an environmental organism and is of interest to Kosan. The length of the agreement is six months or less and the financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Gemini Genomics plc, of Cambridge, UK, said Newfound Genomics, of St. John's, Newfoundland, its joint venture with Lineage Biomedical Inc., completed its first disease-specific clinical collections. The clinical activities centered on the detailed study of key genes responsible for common Newfoundlander diseases such as Type II diabetes and obesity.
¿ Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., named Steven Rauscher CEO and president of the company. Rauscher has been a member of Genome Therapeutics' board of directors since 1993, has been CEO of AmericasDoctor.com and was formerly vice president of corporate licensing for Abbott Laboratories. Richard Labaudiniere was named senior vice president of research and development.
¿ ISTA Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said interim results of a pilot Phase IIa study of Vitrase show the drug can safely induce a posterior vitreous detachment in patients with diabetic retinopathy. Sixty patients are enrolled in the randomized, placebo-controlled study held in Mexico City.
¿ Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, expanded its exclusive marketing agreement with MDS Inc., of Princeton, N.J., to include marketing of Colaris, Myriad's colon cancer predictive medicine product, in Canada. The agreement formerly encompassed hereditary breast and ovarian cancer predictive testing marketing in Canada. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
¿ Nobex Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., received two Small Business Innovation Research grants of $100,000 each. The first, from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is to support the company's efforts to enable peptide drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier. The second, from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, supports research on the chemistry and pharmacology of an appetite control protein.
¿ Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., established Orchid BioSciences Europe Ltd., a wholly owned European subsidiary located in Oxford, England. The subsidiary will focus on developing business opportunities in Europe for Orchid's single nucleotide polymorphism scoring and genetic diversity analysis products and services.
¿ Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Hayward, Calif., said the results of a Phase II study of Emitasol (metaclopramide, nasal spray) in treatment of diabetic gastroparesis were encouraging in terms of safety and efficacy. The randomized, open-label, multicenter, 89-subject study evaluated safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics. The company plans to begin a Phase III study in early 2001.
¿ Sepracor Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., said Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, terminated a licensing and development agreement covering (R)-fluoxetine. Eli Lilly will return the existing scientific data on the project to Sepracor. Following an assessment of the competitive environment and the risk and amount of time it would take to develop the product further, Sepracor discontinued the program. News of the agreement termination and the discontinuing of the program sent Sepracor's stock down $33.75, or 34 percent, to close at $87.06.
¿ StemCo Biomedical Inc., of Durham, N.C., closed its first round of venture capital financing, grossing $4 million through investments led by Intersouth Partners, of Durham, N.C. The Aurora Funds, of Research Triangle Park, N.C., also participated. The company is focused on developing stem cell biology research, diagnostic and therapeutics tools using technology developed at Duke University Medical Center.
¿ The National Institutes of Health, of Bethesda, Md., said scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases identified the gene that makes the most deadly malaria parasite resistant to chloroquine, the former mainstay, low-cost antimalarial drug. Small mutations in the pfert gene on chromosome 7 of Plasmodium falciparum associate completely with chloroquine resistance in parasite lines from affected areas in Asia, Africa and South America.
¿ The National Institutes of Health, of Bethesda, Md., said The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases gave a seven-year, $43.8 million contract to Science Applications International Corp., of McLean, Va., for malaria vaccine production and support services. The contract will support the transition of new malaria vaccine candidates from discovery in the laboratory up to clinical trials. Novavax Inc., of Columbia, Md., said it is part of the team assembled by Science Applications and it will work with it to evaluate the process of developing malaria protein vaccine candidates using multiple expression systems, as well as bacterial and viral vectors.