¿ Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said it agreed to sell $26 million aggregate principal amount of 8 percent senior secured convertible notes maturing on Oct. 1, 2004. Axys previously announced its intention to sell up to $20 million of fixed rate convertible notes. Diaz & Altschul Capital LLC. served as placement agent for the transaction. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 19, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said a Federal District Court judge entered final judgement in favor of Biogen and against Berlex Laboratories Inc., of Richmond, Calif., in a patent infringement case concerning the "McCormick" patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 5,376,567 and 5,795,779, which cover technology related to Biogen's Avonex interferon beta-1a multiple sclerosis treatment. Biogen was awarded a summary judgement in the case in August.
¿ Boston Biomedica Inc., of West Bridgewater, Mass., and the Consortium for Plasma Science LLC said they will extend their collaboration for the development and commercialization of Boston Biomedica's proprietary Pressure Cycling Technology (PCT) for inactivating pathogens in human plasma. The original agreement was signed in December 1999. In separate news, Boston Biomedica said it was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Grant for $100,000 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute related to the PCT antigen inactivation project.
¿ Cognetix Inc., of Salt Lake City, was awarded a $98,900 Small Business Innovation Research grant by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to support the discovery and development of new treatments for chronic pain using conopeptides. Conopeptides are small peptides isolated from the venom of predatory marine snails. Some conopeptides block discrete sodium channels involved in chronic pain.
¿ Coulter Pharmaceutical Inc., of South San Francisco, said it acquired exclusive worldwide rights to a class of anticancer compounds from Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. Ltd., of Japan, in a deal that included an undisclosed up-front payment and potential future milestones and royalties. Duocarmycin B2 and KW-2189 work directly on cancer cell DNA, and are said to be 1,000 times more potent than standard chemotherapies. Coulter will use the compounds with its proprietary tumor-activated prodrug and tumor-specific targeting technology to produce drug candidates.
¿ DNA Sciences Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., said a request for blood samples to use in genetic studies of breast cancer, asthma and colon cancer made on www.DNA.com received response sufficient to begin studies less than a month after initiation of the recruitment. About 4,500 Americans have signed up for the DNA Sciences Gene Trust Project since its launch on August 1.
¿ Epimmune Inc., of San Diego, said collaborative researchers at the University of Wisconsin reported in the September 21, 2000, issue of Nature findings on the immune system's control of the AIDS virus in a non-human primate model that could aid in the development of a preventive vaccine. Data indicate viral proteins predominant in the early stages of the infection may be targets for HIV vaccine development. In a study of rhesus macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus, data indicated that replacement of amino acids within key viral proteins such as Tat, Rev and Nef enabled SIV to escape the immune response. Escape from the immune response through mutations in the dominant Tat epitope, a unique short amino acid sequence associated with the virus, allowed for greater levels of replication, the study showed.
¿ Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., said it opened a new Proteomic Center at its headquarters. The new lab has the capacity to run hundreds of large format two-dimensional gels per week and identify protein characteristics by the thousands.
¿ Immtech International Inc., of Vernon Hills, Ill., said it entered a collaborative research program with the Institute for Tuberculosis Research at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago to find a new drug for treatment of common and drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The collaboration will focus on Dicationic compounds, which bind to the DNA of bacteria, blocking life-sustaining enzymes.
¿ ImmunoGen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its lead tumor-activated prodrug for the treatment of colorectal and pancreatic cancers, huC242-DM1/SB-408075, has entered a second Phase I/II clinical trial conducted by partner SmithKline Beecham plc, of London. Treatment of the first patient in the study triggered a milestone payment of $2 million for ImmunoGen. The second trial is a dose-escalating, multidose study designed to determine safety for the compound, and will be conducted at the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center.
¿ Ixion Biotechnology Inc., of Alachua, Fla., said it has been awarded one of this year's Tibbetts Awards by the Small Business Administration, an annual award named after Roland Tibbetts, father of the Small Business Innovation Research grant program. The annual awards honor small firms, projects, organizations and individuals who exemplify SBIR achievement. Ixion focuses on oxalate-related diseases such as kidney stones, and is known for its work in diabetes treatment.
¿ Lynx Therapeutics Inc., of Hayward, Calif., said its principal scientific adviser, Sydney Brenner, received the Special Achievement in Medical Sciences Award from the Lasker Foundation. The Lasker Awards honor outstanding contributors to basic and clinical medical research. Brenner, whose work includes discovery of messenger RNA and its role in amino acid ordering, first received the award in 1971.
¿ Matrix Pharmaceutical Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said the FDA granted orphan status to IntraDose (cisplatin/epinephrine) Injectable Gel for treatment of patients with metastatic malignant melanoma. Data on IntraDose presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting showed 48 percent of patients had a response in the tumor designated most troublesome. Response time duration ranged from 30 to 259 days.
¿ MDS Proteomics Inc., of Toronto, a spin-off of MDS Inc., also of Toronto, said it is in the final stages of acquiring Protana A/S, of Odense, Denmark, an innovator in mass spectrometry for identifying and analyzing proteins. Protana A/S has worked as an affiliate of MDS Inc., which owns an 88 percent stake in MDS Proteomics.
¿ Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, said the National Cancer Institute purchased a NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation. The NCI purchased the workstation after using a NanoChip workstation in a successful diligence process involving alternative technologies for the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms.
¿ Ortec International Inc., of New York, said it agreed to sell about 1.25 million shares to an unnamed group of institutional investors for gross revenues of $8.42 million. Robertson Stephens Inc. acted as placement agent for the private financing.
¿ SafeScience Inc., of Boston, said it completed patient enrollment for a Phase II safety and efficacy clinical trial of its lead candidate, GBC-590, for treatment of refractory or relapsing colorectal carcinoma. The 23-patient trial is being conducted at four sites.
¿ Telik Inc., of South San Francisco, and Genaissance Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., said they've completed a collaboration for the identification of compounds active against haplotypes of the estrogen receptor, technology for which Telik acquired exclusive rights, and with which Telik could develop in partnership with other companies. Telik and Genaissance will share any revenues derived from the compounds.
¿ TransMolecular Inc., of Birmingham, Ala., was awarded two Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grants in the amounts of $128,351 and $131,702 for development of a novel sodium ion channel as a pain drug target and for the study of peptide and recombinant toxin therapies based on the peptide chlorotoxin, respectively. Chlorotoxin research will focus on an indication for glioma, a brain cancer.
¿ Trega Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, said Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, took an initial license to Trega's iDEA predictive model for drug absorption for use in drug discovery activities. Aventis will provide Trega with ease-of-use and performance feedback. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Variagenics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it signed an agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Ridgefield, N.J., for use of the Variagenic Impact Program in a therapeutic development program. Variagenics will provide custom single nucleotide polymorphism discovery for an undisclosed Ingelheim drug candidate to identify genetic markers predictive of therapeutic response.
¿ Vivus Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., said it filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA for its female sexual dysfunction product Alista, a proprietary topical formulation of alprostadil applied locally to the female genitalia. Alprostadil is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring vasodilating agent, and is the active ingredient in the company's male erectile dysfunction treatment, Muse. Vivus plans to move the product into the clinic soon after the 30-day FDA waiting period.