Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., said the FDA granted orphan drug status to Alexion's humanized monoclonal antibody C5 complement inhibitor, 5G1.1, for the treatment of patients with dermatomyositis. Alexion is enrolling patients in a Phase Ib pilot clinical trial that is designed to gather clinical data regarding the safety profile and biological and clinical effect of 5G1.1. The orphan drug status gives Alexion market exclusivity for seven years from the drug's approval date.
¿ Dragon Pharmaceuticals Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia, signed licensing agreements with three overseas pharmaceutical companies. In August the company signed a license and distribution agreement with Duo pharma SDN BHD, of Malaysia, giving Duopharma rights to market Dragon's flagship recombinant erythropoietin for injection. Dragon also signed an agreement with Itaca Laboratories Ltd., of Brazil, to market and distribute Dragon's epoetin-alfa, and Yoo & Yoo BioTech Co. Ltd., of South Korea, to market and distribute Dragon's products inSouth and North Korea.
¿ Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., said it is designing its Investigator Proteomic System to integrate with mass spectrometers from all major manufacturers. Genomic Solutions newest product, Protein Warehouse, integrates all current Investigator component data from its individual proteomics instruments. Also, the company divested its Maldi-TOF project and intellectual property to Thermo Electron Corp. in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash and other considerations.
¿ MediciNova Inc., of San Diego, received its first $5 million equity investment from Tanabe Seiyaku Co. Ltd., of Japan. Tanabe has committed another $5 million investment within one year. MediciNova is majority owned by Tanabe and was founded in September to pursue emerging technologies and new ventures in drug discovery.
¿ Mosaic Technologies Inc., of Waltham, Mass., was awarded $2 million under the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Technology Program. The funds will be used to continue development of its high-throughput gene sequencing system. Mosaic was one of 54 companies selected to receive project funding under the program.
¿ NexMed Inc., of Robbinsville, N.J., said the Nasdaq-Amex Market Group has approved its application to list its securities on the Nasdaq National Market, effective Oct. 6. The company's securities will be listed under the same trading symbol: NEXM. NexMed is developing Alprox-TD cream treatment for male erectile dysfunction, Femprox cream treatment for female sexual arousal disorder and the Viratrol hand-held treatment device for herpes.
¿ Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., and DNAPrint genomics Inc., of Sarasota, Fla., said DNAPrint agreed to purchase Orchid's SNPstream 25K system for industrial-scale single nucleotide polymorphism scoring. DNAPrint researchers will conduct high-throughput genotyping using Orchid's technologies and DNAPrint will make an up-front payment to Orchid. DNAPrint also will purchase Orchid's SNPware consumables on a per-unit basis. Other details were not disclosed.
¿ PPGx Inc., of Morrisville, N.C., said Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, will incorporate PPGx's GeneTrials Bioinformatics Platform into its pharmacogenomics research and development program. The agreement is part of PPGx's GeneTrials Partner Program, a framework through which PPGx grants pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies early access to its bioinformatics technology and pharmacogenomics consultants.
¿ Sequella Inc., of Rockville, Md., received a $2.4 million Challenge Grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to accelerate research on a new generation of antibiotics to battle tuberculosis (TB). The grant will enable Sequella researchers to step up their efforts to identify and test chemical variants of the TB drug ethambutol with increased efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Ethambutol is often added to several other anti-TB agents to treat TB.
¿ Synaptic Pharmaceutical Corp., of Paramus, N.J., said it granted non-exclusive licenses covering its alpha-1 adrenergic receptors and benign prostatic hypertrophy patents to The R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute (RPI), a Johnson & Johnson company. The agreement gives RPI the freedom to operate under Synaptic's functional-use patents for benign prostatic hypertrophy and alpha-1 adrenergic receptor patents for all therapeutic indications. In exchange, RPI will provide an up-front licensing fee, milestone payments and royalties.
¿ ViroPharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., said it sold 96,059 shares of common stock for $3 million to Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., as a result of progress made under their hepatitis C virus collaboration. In December 1999, Viro Pharma and Wyeth-Ayerst formed an alliance to develop and commercialize ViroPharma's lead small-molecule antiviral drug candidates for hepatitis C virus and to discover, develop and commercialize additional novel inhibitors of HCV. American Home Products agreed to purchase shares of ViroPharma's common stock at the time of completion of certain product development stages. The share price was based on a premium to a trailing average price.