¿ Alliance Pharmaceuticals Corp., of San Diego, entered an agreement to acquire Molecular Biosystems Inc. for 770,000 shares of Alliance stock in a deal worth about $10.4 million. MBI's Optison intravenous ultrasound contrast agent is marketed in the U.S. and Europe. Alliance's contrast agent Imavist, formerly known as Imagent, is under development in collaboration with Schering AG, of Berlin.
¿ Aradigm Corp., of Hayward, Calif., received a milestone payment from Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, for successful completion of a U.S. Phase IIa clinical trial of AERx Pulmonary Drug Delivery System for the delivery of dornase alfa to patients with cystic fibrosis. The AERx system is designed to deliver Genentech's Pulmozyme through an electronic inhaler. The amount of the milestone payment was not disclosed.
¿ BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., of Novato, Calif., initiated a Phase I/II clinical trial of recombinant human Arylsulfatase B (rhASB, or recombinant human N-acetylgalactosamine-4-sulfatase) in enzyme replacement therapy for patients with mucopolysaccharidosis VI (MPS-VI). The FDA granted BioMarin both orphan drug status and fast-track status for rhASB for the treatment of MPS-VI. The randomized, double-blind study at two dose levels is designed to investigate safety and efficacy of rhASB in six patients over 24 weeks.
¿ Celera Genomics Inc., of Rockville, Md., completed sequencing 9.3 billion base pairs of mouse DNA since beginning the process in April. The company said it now has 3X-fold coverage of the mouse genome, and has discovered single nucleotide polymorphisms between mouse strains it will use in a mouse SNP database. Celera said it intends to continue sequencing and combine its sequence information with public data generated by the Mouse Sequencing Consortium, which plans to sequence the "Black 6" strain of mouse to 2.5X to 3X coverage.
¿ Cetek Corp., of Marlborough, Mass., reached a screening agreement with Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, to use Cetek's proprietary technology based on capillary electrophoresis in screening Taisho's targets. Cetek will develop assays for Taisho's targets and screen against libraries from Taisho.
¿ Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., delivered version 2.0 of a customized version of its FunctionFinder bioinformatics system to Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany. Version 2.0 adds increased functionality, information on gene expression and metabolic and phenotypic profiles. Paradigm receives a milestone payment for the delivery, which is part of a partnership worth up to $40 million.
¿ Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, agreed to take supply of customizable DNA microarrays from Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., for use in expression-profiling experiments in various model organisms to supplement existing Exelixis platforms for high-throughput functional genomics analysis. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, obtained an exclusive worldwide sublicense for three patents in the area of adrenal steroids from Aeson Therapeutics Inc., of Tuscon, Ariz., and acquired a 21 percent stake in Aeson. Aeson is developing molecules that are analogues with similar properties to Hollis-Eden's lead compound, HE2000, and is conducting a Phase II study of its lead compound, fluasterone, for cardiovascular disease and actinic keratosis, a precursor to squamous cell cancer. Hollis-Eden exchanged $2 million in cash and 208,681 shares of its stock for the equity in Aeson. Hollis-Eden also agreed to an exclusive 30-month option to acquire the remainder of Aeson at a pre-determined price.
¿ Sonus Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bothell, Wash., will refocus itself on the development of its drug delivery and blood substitute products and it has withdrawn the new drug application and discontinued clinical activity for its ultrasound contrast product, EchoGen. These decisions are based on several factors, including recent discussions with the FDA that revealed a significant amount of work would need to be done to get EchoGen approved in the U.S.
¿ Trega Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, licensed to the Janssen Research Foundation and the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, both Johnson & Johnson companies, the absorption and metabolism modules of Trega's iDEA predictive models. The iDEA models are designed to provide in silico simulations of new drug candidate processing in the body. The license expands Trega's existing agreement with R.W. Johnson, which contributed to the development of the first iDEA module.
¿ International Wex Technologies Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, filed an IND for Tetrodin, its opiate withdrawal treatment, with the Health Protection Branch Canada. The filing's approval would allow the company to proceed with Phase Ia clinical testing to evaluate safety and dosing.
¿ Nastech Pharmaceutical Co. Inc., of London, said results of a pilot Phase II clinical trial of the company's intranasal morphine formulation for treatment of breakthrough pain show the product to be safe and efficacious in the treatment of eight episodes of breakthrough pain. The results were presented at the International Conference on New Approaches to Pain Management. In the study, 66 percent of breakthrough pain episodes were successfully treated within 20 minutes using the nasal formulation. A broader Phase II study later this year will select the final morphine formulation.
¿ Noviro Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., named Chairman Jean-Pierre Sommadossi as CEO. Sommadossi served as chairman since the company's founding in 1998, and is a former professor of pharmacology, toxicology and clinical pharmacology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.
¿ Packard BioScience Co., of Meriden, Conn., acquired a stake of just under 10 percent in Agencourt Bioscience Corp., of Beverly, Mass. in addition to entering a strategic marketing alliance with the company to co-market nucleic acid purification products. Agencourt's Solid Phase Reversible Immobilization technology was used and developed by the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research to purify more than 6 billion base pairs of DNA for the Human Genome Project.