¿ Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, appointed Uli Hacksell as CEO, replacing Leonard Borrmann. Hacksell has been the company's executive vice president of drug discovery since joining Acadia in February 1999.
¿ Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its landmark CHAMPS study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicates that early treatment with Avonex, the company's interferon beta-1a therapeutic for multiple sclerosis, significantly decreased, by more than 40 percent, the rate at which individuals at high risk for MS develop clinically definite MS. Treatment with Avonex reduced the rate of clinically definite MS by 44 percent in the test population in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Biogen is proceeding with application filing for broadened labeling based on the study.
¿ British Biotech plc, of Oxford, UK, said results from Study 186, a clinical trial of the oral matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor marimastat, showed no statistically significant advantage over carboplatin alone in either primary or secondary endpoints. The failure isn't the first for British Biotech for marimastat. The company announced in June that a Phase III trial of the compound in patients with glioblastoma failed to show a statistically significant advantage over the placebo in either the primary or secondary endpoint. (See BioWorld Today, June 26, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Hybridon Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it completed the sale of its DNA manufacturing business to Avecia Inc., of Manchester, UK, for about $15 million, $3 million of which will be received in 12 months. The company said it will use the funds for expansion of its broad platform of DNA-based technology that includes antisense drugs, novel immune stimulatory CpG DNA, and functional genomics, particularly, its Phase II oncology antisense drug candidate GEM 231. Avecia will supply GMP DNA to Hybridon and Hybridon's collaborators at a set price through 2002.
¿ Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech K.K., the Japanese subsidiary of Amersham Pharmacia Biotech Ltd., entered an alliance giving Amersham exclusive distribution rights to market Gene Logic's genomic information products in Japan. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Genelabs Technologies Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., completed submission of its NDA for marketing approval of GL701, its investigational drug for treatment of lupus, to the FDA. In accordance with an agreement with the FDA, the company used the rolling NDA process, a benefit of fast-track designation that was previously granted to GL701 late last year. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 23, 1999, p. 1.)
¿ Genmab A/S, which is developing fully human monoclonal antibodies for treatment of cancer and chronic inflammatory conditions, is seeking up to EUR240 million (US$211 million) in a dual listing on Germany's Neuer Markt and the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. Genmab is offering 6 million shares, priced at EUR34 to EUR40. The subscription period, which opened Monday, closes Oct. 10. Commerzbank AG and UBS Warburg AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, are joint sponsors of the flotation and, along with Carnegie Bank, co-lead managers. Genmab was established in February last year by a group of Danish investors and Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J., which licensed to Genmab its HuMab-Mouse technology for generating fully human monoclonal antibodies.
¿ Genomics One Corp., of Laval, Quebec, was awarded a contract to construct a TrueBlue bacterial artificial chromosome library of Staphylococcus aureus for a joint project between the National Research Council of Canada and Health Canada. The library will consist of 1,000 clones covering the 2.5-million-base-pair Staph genome.
¿ Genzyme Molecular Oncology, of Framingham, Mass., initiated a Phase I/II clinical trial to assess the safety, immunogenicity and potency of a gene therapy cancer vaccine for melanoma. The vaccine combines two widely expressed melanoma tumor antigens, MelanA/MART1 and gp100, and is expected to increase the potency of the vaccine in eliciting an immune response.
¿ Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it discovered a novel target for the treatment of hepatitis B virus, one it said it believes has not been explored previously for drug development. The target was discovered using its ProNet proteomics technology. The finding increases to 36 Myriad's drug discovery programs.
¿ Novasite Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said it was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant of $100,000 from the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney branch of the NIH to support application of the company's Expanded Target Drug Discovery technology to identify lead molecules for use in obesity treatment. Novasite said it will use the funding to complete proof-of-principal work on ETDD technology.
¿ Oxford BioMedica plc, of Oxford, UK, entered into a software licensing agreement with InforMax Inc., of Rockville, Md. Oxford BioMedica will use the InforMax software to help it analyze and interpret genomics data. The companies also will work together to promote InforMax's products and services in Europe, and they are discussing the possibility of jointly marketing genetic information produced by Oxford.
¿ Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, said results from preclinical studies at the New York Neurological Institute of Columbia University on dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) in stroke are encouraging. The studies demonstrated that DHA significantly reduced brain damage, neurological deficits and death in an animal model of human stroke. DHA is a derivative of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C.
¿ Proteome Inc., of Beverly, Mass., said it expanded its agreement with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., to include access to Proteome's newest databases for human genome research. Merck will gain access to the Human Proteome Survey Database and the G Protein-Coupled Receptor Proteome Database in addition to Proteome's model organism databases already covered in the agreement.
¿ Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., presented cell culture data at a symposium in Shanghai showing potent antiviral effects of its ribozymes in several model systems. The ribozymes are designed to target highly conserved regions in the hepatitis B viral genome.
¿ Sangamo BioSciences Inc., of Richmond, Calif., and Rosetta Inpharmatics Inc., of Kirkland, Wash., will collaborate to apply their complementary technologies in gene regulation and informational genomics to perform functional genomic studies on potential therapeutic targets. The companies hope to better understand the role of certain genes or proteins as candidates for drug development. Each company will fund its respective efforts.
¿ Scotia Pharmaceuticals plc, of Stirling, Scotland, said it received notification from the FDA that its application for Foscan, a photodynamic therapy for head and neck cancer, is not approvable. The company is not sure what the problem is, and said it could take weeks before it knows what is needed to put it right. The FDA helped Scotia design the pivotal trial, initially involving 50 people, and then expanded to 64.
¿ Synsorb Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, after discussions with the FDA and Health Canada's Therapeutic Products Directorate following Phase III analysis of Synsorb Pk, said an additional clinical trial will be required to complete development of the product, which failed in a study over the summer. The company has moved into a planning stage for a new Phase III clinical study. (See BioWorld Today, July 14, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Theratechnologies Inc., of Saint Laurent, Quebec, reached an agreement to acquire the privately held company Pharma-G, with the final closing scheduled for Oct. 3. Theratechnologies will pay about C$7.5 million (US$5 million) through 500,000 newly issued shares at C$15 per share. Pharma-G is a proteomics company and has developed ExoPep, a drug discovery platform that allows design of peptide compounds that interact with G protein-coupled receptors.
¿ University of South Florida researchers published in the Sept. 26, 2000, edition of Neurology data showing a correlation between Alzheimer's disease and a gene called Cystatin C in people older than 80.
¿ V.I. Technologies Inc., of Watertown, Mass., said Samuel Ackerman accepted the position of chairman. Ackerman, a company director, executive vice president and chief science officer, was a co-founder of Pentose Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was acquired by V.I. last year.
¿ Vion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center presented preclinical data on Vion's TAPET bacterial vector technology's potential in enhancing imaging of solid tumors. Mice bearing C38 colon carcinomas were injected with a second-generation TAPET vector engineered to express herpes simplex thymidine kinase, which accumulated in the tumor tissues at a ratio of 1000-to-1 compared to normal tissues, trapping a radiolabeled compound in the tumor.