¿ Acadia Pharmaceuticals, of San Diego, received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health to support research using R-SAT (Receptor Selection and Amplification Technology) to explore functional variations in drug target genes in populations of patients with neuropsychiatric disease.
¿ Avax Technologies Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., said its autologous cancer vaccine for melanoma, M-Vax, is now commercially available in Australia for patients with Stage III melanoma metastatic to the lymph nodes. According to the company, this event marks the first time a centrally produced autologous cancer vaccine for melanoma has been made commercially available anywhere.
¿ Axcan Pharma Inc., of Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, said Photofrin has been approved in Sweden for the palliative treatment of obstructive esophageal cancer, as well as for the palliative treatment of obstructing endobronchial non-small-cell lung cancer. It also has been approved by the Italian and Irish health authorities for similar indications. Axcan acquired worldwide rights to Photofrin from QLT PhotoTherapeutics Inc., of Vancouver.
¿ Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, received orphan drug status from the FDA for arsenic trioxide as a treatment for myelodysplastic syndromes, diseases in which the bone marrow does not function normally and not enough normal blood cells are made. Approximately 40 percent of patients with MDS die from the consequences of ineffective blood-cell production and 30 percent progress to acute leukemia. Arsenic trioxide also has orphan drug status for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
¿ Centaur Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., completed enrollment in a Phase IIa trial of CPI-1189 in Parkinson's disease patients showing early signs of cognitive impairment. The company expects initial study results to be available in early 2001.
¿ CytoGenix Inc., of Houston, reported that collaborators at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston began studies of the company's expression technology, EnzSyn, which involves direct enzymatic synthesis of genetic material in the cell. Working under a sponsored research agreement, Baylor scientists are using the technology to develop antisense therapies for breast cancer and reduction of lung inflammation and injury.
¿ Demagen Inc., of Pittsburgh, said scientists at the USDA have produced transgenic tobacco and cotton plants that express a gene encoding an antimicrobial peptide, D4E1, designed by the company. Details were presented in June at the 6th International Congress of Plant Molecular Biology in Quebec and published in the May 2000 issue of Plant Science.
¿ Digital Gene Technologies Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., said the Joslin Diabetes Center, of Boston, will use DGT's gene expression profiling technology to investigate Type II diabetes. The agreement is DGT's 15th under an academic collaboration program launched in April 1998.
¿ Evotec BioSystems AG, of Hamburg, Germany, obtained a 65 percent stake in a Goettingin start-up called Direvo Biotech AG, which is specializing in directed evolution. Evotec acquired the stake by licensing use of its patents to the company, founded by several scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry.
¿ GelTex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Waltham, Mass., initiated Phase I testing of GT160-246, a non-absorbed toxin binding polymer for treatment and prevention of Clostridium difficile colitis.
¿ Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., introduced the GeneTAC G3 Productivity Tool, a single, automated system designed for multiple genomic research functions, including printing biochips, colony picking, macro-arraying, replication and selective re-arraying.
¿ Genzyme Tissue Repair, of Cambridge, Mass., reported significant progress in all three of its Carticel (autologous cultured chondrocytes) post-marketing studies, including the completion of the Registry Based Study, which met primary and secondary endpoints and has been sent to the FDA for review. The study analyzed a specific cohort of patients from Genzyme Tissue Repair's Cartilage Repair Registry who failed other cartilage repair procedures and compared those outcomes with clinical outcomes following Carticel.
¿ Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, opened new research laboratories in Ventura, Calif. Zaki Salahuddin will direct a team focused on hepatitis C virus and HIV/AIDS.
¿ Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said its board approved a two-for-one stock split in the form of a stock dividend. Stockholders of record at the close of business on Aug. 7 will receive one additional share for each share held. The split will increase the number of shares from about 32 million outstanding to about 64 million.
¿ Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., announced a two-for-one stock split for stockholders of record Aug. 1, raising the number of shares outstanding to about 42 million.
¿ InterLink Biotechnologies LLC, of Princeton, N.J., has invested in a new start-up company called FemtoLink Biotechnologies LLC, which specializes in mass spectrometry diagnostic applications for agricultural, pharmaceutical, industrial and environmental businesses. FemtoLink's founders, James Petell and Scott Young, were formerly with Dow AgroSciences.
¿ Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, won a marketing-approval recommendation in Europe for Panretin gel (alitretinoin) as a topical treatment for cutaneous lesions in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma. The recommendation from the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products could serve as the basis for marketing clearance covering the 15 countries in the European Union. A decision is likely within three to four months.
¿ Matrix Pharmaceutical Inc., of Fremont, Calif., was added to the Russell 3000 Index, which comprises the 3,000 largest U.S. companies, based on market capitalization. The company also joins the Russell 2000 Index, a subset of the larger index consisting of the 2,000 largest small-cap companies.
¿ Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said Wyeth-Ayerst Research accepted four novel genes implicated in central nervous system diseases as part of a collaboration dating back to July 1996. Since then, Wyeth, a Radnor, Pa., division of American Home Products Corp., has accepted seven genes from Millennium as potential targets for CNS drug discovery.
¿ Nortran Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, obtained a conditional listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange for its common shares, which are expected to commence trading in late July. Nortran will continue to trade on the Canadian Venture Exchange under the symbol NRT and the NASD over-the-counter bulletin board under NTRDF.
¿ Oncolytics Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, raised C$3 million (US$2.03 million) by issuing 244,898 common shares to Innovatech Grand Montreal, a Montreal-based venture capital fund, at C$12.50 (US$8.44) per share.
¿ Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Richmond, Calif., and Bayer Corp., of Pittsburgh, initiated a Phase I trial in Germany for an inhibitor of Ras pathway, implicated in cell proliferation and tumor growth. A U.S. investigational new drug application also has been filed, and additional filings for Phase I trials in Canada and Belgium are planned.
¿ Third Wave Technologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., is collaborating with Specialty Laboratories, of Santa Monica, Calif., to develop new applications for Third Wave's Invader technology platform, which Specialty recently adopted for use in routine clinical applications. Third Wave has developed Invader-based analyte-specific reagents and assay controls to test for mutations in the factor V (Leiden), factor II (prothrombin) and methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase genes.