¿ Alteon Inc., of Ramsey, N.J. and HemoMax LLC, of Pittsburgh, will develop its novel resuscitative fluid through an agreement with the University of Pittsburgh McGowan Center for Artificial Organ Development. The fluid, also called HemoMax, has shown potential in animal studies to treat severe hemorrhage.
¿ Aphios Corp., of Woburn, Mass., said it was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for development of a marine antiplaque compound. Marine organisms that generate compounds that integrate halogens, used in many antiplaque compounds, can be an important natural resource for the discovery of genetically unique compounds, Aphios said.
¿ Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., said it completed its merger with Anesta Corp. following approval of Anesta shareholders. The deal was worth about $444 million. At the close of trading Tuesday, Anesta (NASDAQ:NSTA) no longer was trading on Nasdaq. The company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Cephalon. (See BioWorld Today, July 18, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Avax Technologies Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., presented data on its in vitro and in vivo gene therapy studies at the European Gene Therapy Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. The data outlined the improved transduction efficacy available through utilizing replicative and semi-replicative vector systems compared to defective vectors, prompting reconsideration of using replicative viruses for treating cancer. Data indicated that transgene propagation is generated most rapidly with helper-dependent and replicative vectors, up to 85 percent transduction of tumor cells in vivo as compared to 1 percent transduction of tumor cells by defective retroviral vectors.
¿ Biohybrid Inc., of Denver, said it received a $2 million National Institute of Technology Standards award for its approach to the development of therapeutics to treat organ transplant rejection and graft-vs.-host disease. The company said it will use the award to accelerate its development program and move products into the clinic.
¿ CollaGeneX Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown, Pa., said a single-center, placebo-controlled, double-blinded Phase IV study of 24 severe generalized periodontitis patients showed significant clinical benefit of Periostat (doxycycline hyclate 20 mg). In teeth exhibiting clinical symptoms of periodontitis, tooth pockets of 7 mm or more, Periostat administration resulted in average pocket reductions of up to 3 mm.
¿ Curis Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it received a second $2 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the development of a new class of biomaterials for surgical procedures that augment, repair or regenerate lost structural tissue or physiological function. Initially, these biomaterials would be used for injectable, minimally invasive surgical procedures for the treatment of gastroesophogeal reflux disease and stress urinary incontinence.
¿ Diversa Corp., of San Diego, said it expanded its collaboration with Novartis Agribusiness Biotechnology Research Inc. to allow Novartis to use Diversa's evolution technology to develop and optimize novel synthesis routes to crop protection chemicals. Diversa will receive milestones, research payments and product royalties from the collaboration.
¿ Enchira Biotechnology Corp., of The Woodlands, Texas, said it entered a research collaboration with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to develop ligands that block the activation of epidermal growth factor receptors associated with many aggressive forms of cancer. Enchira will use its directed evolution platform to make ligands that can prevent growth signaling at target tissues, specifically, cancers overexpressing the EGFR and HER-2/neu receptors.
¿ Gemini Genomics plc, of Cambridge, UK, and CuraGen Corp., of New Haven, Conn., entered a new drug target discovery collaboration to apply CuraGen's PathCalling proteomic technology to rapidly ascertain the biological context of disease-associated genes. The agreement builds on an earlier agreement focused on determining the clinical relevance of CuraGen's single nucleotide polymorphisms in DNA samples derived from Gemini's diverse clinical populations. The companies will jointly own intellectual property arising from the collaboration.
¿ Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, had its Herceptin product taken into a Phase III study by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, of Pittsburgh, evaluating it in the adjuvant setting. The multisite trial will assess safety and efficacy for Herceptin and chemotherapy in treatment of 2,700 node-positive breast cancer patients whose tumors express the HER2 protein or demonstrate evidence of HER2 gene amplification.
¿ Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., introduced the Investigator ProPic Proteomics Workstation, which automates the excision of spots from Sypro Ruby-, Silver- or Coomassie-labeled gels. The workstation is a component of the company's Investigator Proteomic Solution, a fully integrated proteomic system that combines 2-D electrophoresis, gel staining, spot digestion and spotting onto Maldi targets in an automated system.
¿ Genzyme Molecular Oncology Inc., of Framingham, Mass., said it entered a licensing agreement with Invitrogen Corp., of San Diego, granting Invitrogen exclusive worldwide rights to market SAGE (Serial Analysis of Gene Expression) genomics technology in standardized reagent kits. Genzyme will receive an up-front payment and royalties on SAGE kit sales. No further financial terms were disclosed.
¿ HTS Biosystems Inc., of Eagan, Minn., said it entered a license agreement with Boston Probes Inc., of Bedford, Mass., that gives HTS access to Boston Probes' peptide nucleic acid technology. HTS will make an up-front payment to Boston Probes and pay maintenance fees and royalties on product sales.
¿ Hunstman Cancer Institute researcher Don Ayer received a grant from the American Cancer Society to continue studies of gene expression and colon cancer. The $877,000 grant will be disbursed over four years.
¿ Intronn LLC, of Durham, N.C., said it appointed Gerard McGarrity as CEO. McGarrity is a former senior vice president at Genetic Therapy Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and most recently was chief scientific officer at Cambridge Genetics Ltd., of Cambridge, UK. Intronn is a subsidiary of Proteome Sciences plc, of the UK.
¿ Invitrogen Corp., of San Diego, said International Specialty Products Inc., of Wayne, N.J., withdrew its demand for an appraisal of fair value of its 3.5 million shares of Life Technologies Inc. from the Delaware Chancery Court. ISP submitted the demand upon Invitrogen's purchase of Life Technologies in September. Shareholders of Life Technologies will receive shares of Invitrogen on a one-for-one basis, or .72 of an Invitrogen share and $16.80 cash, or $60 per Life Technologies share. Also, Invitrogen and ISP said they will dismiss ISP's lawsuit against Dexter Corp., also bought by Invitrogen in the September deal, and the companies will dismiss a Life Technologies' suit against ISP. (See BioWorld Today, July 11, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., said it licensed novel chemistry patents to Roche Molecular Systems Inc., a business unit of Roche Diagnostics, of Mannheim, Germany, for use in production of diagnostic products. The non-exclusive worldwide license agreement calls for royalties, initial and ongoing payments for Isis.
¿ Novasite Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said it was awarded a bioengineering grant from the National Institutes of Health that provides the company with $3.2 million over three years to develop its Expanded Target Drug Discovery technology. The grant is through the Bioengineering Research Partnership Program of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
¿ Oncology Sciences Corp., of Austin, Texas, named Loretta Zapp CEO and president, effective Oct. 16. Zapp is the former president of Industrial Laboratories Company Inc.
¿ Pharmasset Inc., of Atlanta, said it was awarded its fourth Phase I National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research grant of the year, this one to fund research on the development of the nucleoside antiviral agent Racivir for treatment of hepatitis B and HIV infections. Racivir has shown efficacy in cell-based assays and in animal models of HIV and hepatitis B. The company also said DuPont Pharmaceuticals Co., of Wilmington, Del., made a second equity investment, increasing its ownership of Pharmasset from 1.7 percent to about 2.2 percent.
¿ Quantum Dot. Corp., of Hayward, Calif., said it received two Small Business Innovation Research grants through the National Cancer Institute. The first, for $98,000, is for the development of assays for sensitive multiplexed analysis of breast cancer markers, and the second, for $107,400, is for the detection of single target molecules on DNA microarrays. The developments will use the company's Qdot tags, fluorescent semiconducting nanocrystals covalently attached to specific biological ligands.
¿ Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, said the number of single nucleotide polymorphism assays it has available for genomics research has grown to more than 400,000, including assays for the SNP Consortium's publicly available SNP markers. Sequenom used its proprietary MassARRAY technology to complete the 419,796 SNP assays. The company also said it reached an agreement with European genomics researchers at the Sanger Centre, of Hinxton, UK, for the sale of a MassARRAY system. Sanger Centre researchers will use the system in a collaboration with the SNP Consortium designed to validate SNPs and to determine allelic frequencies in three distinct ethnic populations. Sequenom will provide assays for the SNPs of interest to support that collaboration.
¿ Southern BioSystems Inc., of Birmingham, Ala., said it entered a collaboration with AstraZeneca Inc., of Wilmington, Del., to investigate the feasibility of injectable sustained-release formulation of an undisclosed drug. The collaboration will use SBS's Saber delivery system based on sucrose acetate isobutyrate. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ The Institute for Genomic Research, of Rockville, Md., joined a consortium of 35 universities and research institutes funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The consortium is part of an NIH initiative to establish 11 four-year Programs for Genomic Applications.
¿ The National Institutes of Health said gene alterations that cause cystic fibrosis also appear to contribute to chronic sinus problems in some people, according to a report in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association. The gene CFTR, which regulates the flow of salt and water across the cell membrane, is copied and altered in people with cystic fibrosis, and of the 147 volunteers with chronic sinusitis in the study, 10 had CF mutations in the CFTR gene.
¿ Third Wave Technologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., and Epoch Biosciences Inc., of Redmond, Wash., entered an agreement that calls for Epoch to develop, license and supply technology to Third Wave for the Madison company's Invader operating system for genetic analysis. Incorporating Epoch's fluorescent dye chemistries into the assays has the capacity, the companies said, to increase Invader's throughput and enhance its performance.
¿ Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., said it initiated patient dosing for a Phase II clinical trial with a gene medicine combination of interleukin-12 and interferon-alpha for treatment of solid tumors. The trial is designed to evaluate the cytokine combination's safety, tolerability and efficacy for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.