¿AEterna Laboratories Inc., of Quebec, said that SGF Soquia Inc, Fonds de solidarite FTQ and Fonds d'investissement bio-alimentaire have purchased an additional 1 million shares in AEterna subsidiary Atrium Biotechnologies Inc. at a cost of C$10 million (U.S. $6.75 million). SGF Soquia acquired 600,000 shares while the remaining two companies acquired 400,000 shares. AEterna's antiangiogenic lead compound, AE-941/Neovastat, is in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of lung cancer and kidney cancer.
¿Applied Biosystems Inc., of Foster City, Calif., and Genomica Corp., of Boulder, Colo., entered a software technology license agreement and a separate $3 million equity investment agreement by ABI. Genomica is to license its comprehensive genetic-analysis object model to ABI. Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.
¿Aquila Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Framingham, Mass., said the National Institutes of Health awarded the company a Phase I small business innovation research grant of an undisclosed sum to support development of novel Staphylococcus aureus vaccines based on the company's CD1 immune enhancement technology. The NIH awarded the grant through its National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases branch. Aquila has received two separate SBIR grants to support similar CD1-related vaccine development in tuberculosis and Chlamydia infections.
¿Atugen AG, of Berlin, said it reached a collaboration agreement with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, in which Bayer will provide Atugen with gene target sequences and specific cell lines. Atugen will optimize delivery to the cell lines and then produce GeneBloc reagents to inhibit expression of specific target genes.
¿Biacore International AB, of Uppsala, Sweden, presented positive first-round results from its September 1999 alliance with Bioreason Inc., of Santa Fe, N.M., aimed at enhancing absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) screening of small-molecule compounds in late-stage drug discovery. Biacore said the data demonstrated successful integration of Biacore's SPR-based biosensor technology with Bioreason's predictive chemoinformatics software.
¿Biopure Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said it completed enrollment in a pivotal Phase III clinical trial evaluating the oxygen therapeutic drug Hemopure (hemoglobin glutamer-250 bovine). The 680-patient trial is taking place at 50 hospitals in the U.S., Europe, Canada and South Africa. Biopure said it expects to file for U.S. marketing clearance with the FDA by mid-2001, and plans to follow the U.S. application with applications in the European Union and Canada.
¿Biota Holdings Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, signed a heads of agreement giving Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London, rights to develop and market a new influenza drug based on inhibition of the viral neuraminidase. Biota and Glaxo Wellcome will also work together to develop drug candidates with properties that will result in increased convenience in dosing regimen. The companies already are partners on the approved flu drug Relenza. The new agreement calls for each company to fund its own costs to the point of lead compound selection. Glaxo then will fund the program to market. Biota will be entitled to undisclosed milestone and royalty payments.
¿Boston Life Sciences Inc., of Boston, said Inosine treatment in its central nervous system program produced near-total recovery of limb function in an experimental rat model of stroke. Inosine is one of the company's lead regenerative compounds aimed at damaged nerve cells in stroke and spinal cord injury. The treatment was administered by continuous infusion into the cerebral spinal fluid.
¿COR Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, said the results of the PURSUIT study for the U.S. patient cohort with unstable angina was favorable for Integrilin (eptifibatide) Injection. Use of Integrilin with traditional therapy of aspirin and heparin significantly reduced the occurrence of death or heart attack over 30 days, moving from 15.4 percent to 11.9 percent (p=0.005).
¿Cytoclonal Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Dallas, said it completed an agreement with the Research & Development Institute Inc., of Montana State University, for the worldwide rights to the university's Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase gene technology, which involves gene codes for Telomerase, a protein with potential for degenerative disease treatment, cancer and aging. Cytoclonal will further the fungal production system that makes telomerase using its Quantum Core Technology, which designs small drugs that bind with high specificity to the active sites of enzymes.
¿Deltagen Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., and Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London, entered into a partnership to use Deltagen's DeltaBase gene function database and DeltaSelect drug target validation programs. Glaxo, the first to subscribe to Deltagen's database, will receive non-exclusive access to in vivo mammalian functional information for 250 new potential drug targets per year and also access to patents for mammalian gene function. Deltagen will get a subscription fee of $5 million over three years, and may receive discovery and development milestones and access fees.
¿Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, said it signed a development agreement with Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, for a buccal formulation of insulin administered orally as a fine spray using Generex proprietary technology. Generex will receive initial fees and milestone payments in addition to royalties based on product sales. Lilly, which will be responsible for conducting clinical trials, will receive exclusive worldwide rights to products resulting from the collaboration.
¿EPIcyte Pharmaceutical Inc., of San Diego, and The Dow Chemical Co. will work together on a multi-million dollar research and product development program for manufacturing large quantities of monoclonal antibodies in plants. The program will use EPIcyte's Plantibodies technology to further EPIcyte's prescription markets and Dow Agroscience's animal health field. Dow will receive exclusive licenses to Plantibodies products in the arena of animal health.
¿Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., said it acquired rights to obtain an exclusive license to patented antimicrobial compounds shown to have anti-infective activity against drug-resistant bacterial pathogens, from the Ohio State University Research Foundation. The agreement grants Genome Therapeutics a six-month option to obtain an exclusive license to the compounds, and allows the company to extend the option by six months.
¿Ilex Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, is licensing from BASF Pharma, of Ludwigshafen, Germany, oncology development compounds. BASF granted Ilex an exclusive, worldwide license for BSF 223651, and the companies are finalizing terms on a license to Elinafide. Discussions continue on other oncology product opportunities. BASF is streamlining its R&D to focus on immunology and cardiovascular diseases.
¿Inhale Therapeutics Systems Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., and Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, said they reinitiated a development program for an inhaleable formulation of Forteo recombinant parathyroid hormone (PTH). Together the companies plan to develop a pulmonary form of Forteo with Inhale's Inhance drug delivery platform. Inhale also said Lilly discontinued work on an unspecified inhaleable protein product that was in preclinical development. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 6, 1999, p. 1.)
¿La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, said the FDA has granted orphan drug designation for the company's lupus drug candidate, LJP 394, for lupus kidney disease. Lupus kidney disease, which develops in about half of patients suffering from lupus, is the leading cause of death among lupus patients. LJP 394 is scheduled to begin a Phase III trial in the next few months, the company said.
¿Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, licensed certain aspects of its positive-negative selection technology for the generation of knockout mice to Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿Lifecell Corp., of The Woodlands, Texas, said it has agreed to sell 2.5 million shares of its common stock to selected accredited investors at a price of $4 per share. The company will use the proceeds to continue regenerative medicine product development, expand sales and marketing of its current products, to potentially acquire complementary technologies or products, and for general working capital and corporate purposes.
¿Maxim Pharmaceuticals, of San Diego, said preclinical data on its caspase inhibitor CV1013 was presented at the 220th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Washington. The results showed CV1013 might be effective in preventing apoptosis in animal models of myocardial infarction, stroke and hepatitis.
¿The Medicines Company, of Cambridge, Mass., said it has started a randomized trial with a planned target of 350 women to study its probiotic CTV-05 as an adjunct to standard antibiotic treatment of bacterial vaginosis. CTV-05 is a strain of Lactobacillus called Lactobacillus crispatus, a bacterium that naturally occurs in the vagina and is believed to be a key component of human vaginal health. The trial is funded and managed by National Institutes of Health.
¿Merlin Biosciences, of London, said it closed its Merlin Biosciences Fund to investment after raising EUR247 million (US$215 million) for the fund, which aims at investing in unquoted bioscience companies in Europe. Leading investors included The European Investment Bank and Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, which contributed EUR50 million and EUR37.5 million, respectively.
¿Morphochem AG, of Munich, Germany, said it expanded its anti-infective discovery programs by opening a new base of operations in Basel, Switzerland. Wolfgang Keck will head the new unit, coming over from Hoffmann-La Roche, where he was vice director and deputy head of Biological Technologies and Infectious Diseases. The Basel operation will focus on developing new anti-bacterial treatments and approaches.
¿Mycota Biosciences Inc., of Montreal, said it completed identification of more than 900 of the essential genes of Candida albicans, the most prevalent human fungal pathogen. Mycota said it already has begun the primary drug screening phase to find antifungal targets for the pathogen, and it plans to begin high-throughput drug discovery screening using DNA-chip and other methods later this year.
¿National Institutes of Health will contribute nearly $20 million over five years toward the deciphering of the human leukocyte antigen gene complex, called the Rosetta Stone of immunology, through the International Histocompatibility Working Group, a network of close to 200 laboratories in more than 70 countries. The project, led by John Hansen of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, will set up a centralized HLA gene database and develop tools to decipher the HLA, or major histocompatibility complex.
¿Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., signed a collaboration with Schering AG, of Berlin, to focus on the chemical optimization of lead compounds identified by Pharmacopeia in its lead discovery services agreement signed with Schering AG in October 1998. (See BioWorld Today, Nov.4, 1998, p. 1.)
¿Sepracor Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., completed patient enrollment for its Phase III clinical study of (S)-zopiclone for treatment of insomnia. The company plans a second Phase III trial to run in parallel, bringing total Phase III enrollment to about 300 patients.
¿StressGen Biotechnologies Corp., of Victoria, British Columbia, said it initiated patient treatment in a Phase II clinical trial to investigate HspE7, its novel immunotherapeutic for the treatment of advanced cancer of the uterine cervix caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The recombinant fusion product combines the heat shock protein 65 and protein E7, derived from HPV, to produce a therapeutic designed to have a powerful and specific immune response.