¿ Amrad Corp., of Melbourne, Australia, commented on the identification of a gene that appears to act as a brake on growth, one of the SOCS family of genes, which may have utility in treating growth and muscle-wasting disorders. A company official said he considered the project to be in its early stages, but it was proving to be of interest to pharmaceutical companies. The company now is undertaking bioscreening exercises to look for molecules that interfere with the SOCS-2 function. In addition, the company would analyze the structure of the associated protein and look at designing candidate treatment molecules.
¿ Antisoma plc, of London, said it will resume enrollment of new patients into its Phase III trial of Theragyn in ovarian cancer. Recruitment was halted in May, following a poster presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting that hinted at a survival benefit among the control group. The study was not part of Antisoma's development program, but used the same radiolabeled antibody. The company was not aware of the study until it was published. The decision to resume the trial follows an independent assessment of the study under the auspices of the charity, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.
¿ BCY Ventures Inc., of Toronto, selected DCF 987 as its lead compound for incorporation as the active ingredient in the company's initial product for preclinical development targeting cystic fibrosis (CF). Company President and CEO Lorne Meikle said DCF 987 has resulted from research on several technologies relating to the treatment of lung complications associated with CF that originally were licensed by Synsorb Biotech Inc., of Calgary, in 1999. In laboratory studies, using sputum collected from CF patients, DCF 987, a low-molecular-weight fraction of dextran, was shown to act both as a mucolytic agent able to thin mucus and as an agent able to inhibit the adhesion of several bacteria that can be pathogenic to human lung epithelial cells.
¿ Bioenterprises Pty Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, a subsidiary of Human Therapeutics Pty Ltd., will manufacture a vaccine for melanoma developed by U.S. company Avax Technologies Inc. As Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer among the developed countries, Bioenterprises' Sydney facility will be the first to make the Avax vaccine in commercial quantities.
¿ Gene-Scan Europe AG, of Freiburg, Germany, is seeking up to EUR95.3 million (US$89 million) in an IPO on the Neuer Markt. Shares commence trading on Friday. The company is issuing 2,442,103 shares, priced between EUR35.50 and EUR39.50. Gene-Scan is involved in the development of detection systems for identifying the presence of genetically modified organisms in food and raw materials, and in the development and production of biochips. Baden-Wuerttembergische Bank AG and Concord Effekten AG are sponsoring the issue.
¿ MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, which is developing therapies for cardiac disease and cancer, said it entered a cooperation agreement with bioinformatics firm GeneData AG, of Basel, Switzerland. The accord gives MediGene access to GeneData's GD Workbench software tools for analyzing gene sequences and predicting their function, and to the company's GD Expressionist for analyzing gene expression data.
¿ Serono, of Geneva, Switzerland, granted licenses for its patents covering monoclonal antibodies to tumor necrosis factor to the BASF subsidiary Knoll AG and to the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Centocor Inc. Knoll will pay an undisclosed license fee, milestone payments and royalties on sales. Centocor will make undisclosed cash payments to Serono, but no royalties on sales of products covered by the patents. Centocor's license has been granted as part of a settlement of litigation filed by Serono against Centocor in the District Court of the Hague in the Netherlands. These patents result from a research alliance between Serono and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.