¿ Advanced Viral Research Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., completed the expansion of its research and development facilities. The City of Yonkers held a press conference to celebrate.
¿ AxCell Biosciences Corp., of Princeton, N.J., said it agreed to form a collaboration with the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. The institute is headed by Leroy Hood. The two groups will work together to chart the protein interaction changes in prostate cells that have become cancerous.
¿ Celera Genomics and Life Technologies Inc., both of Rockville, Md., are developing a collection of clones of human full-length genes and corresponding DNA sequences. Sequence data will be used to annotate Celera's Human Genome Database, and clones will be available from Life Technologies through a link in the database. This week, Invitrogen Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., agreed to pay $1.9 billion for Life Technologies and Dexter Corp., the majority shareholder in Life.
¿ Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., said the Polish health authorities granted the company permission to start a Phase II trial in head and neck cancer patients with the immunotherapy adjuvant drug, Multikine. The study will enroll up to 20 patients in two dose groups.
¿ Collateral Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, said it was added to the Russell 3000 Index, which measures the performance of the 3,000 largest U.S. companies based on total market capitalization. And Symyx Technologies Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., said it was named to the Russell 2000 Index, as well as the Russell 3000 Index.
¿ Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, and Dow AgroSciences, of Indianapolis, said they entered into a three-year collaboration to develop novel fungicides and herbicides for crop protection. Exelixis will identify and validate targets and format screening assays that will be used to develop new classes of fungicides and herbicides. Dow will receive a non-exclusive license to the targets and will provide research funding, milestone payments and royalties on sales of resulting products. Exelixis also will use a collection of compounds from Dow that may be useful in its drug discovery programs. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Human Genome Sciences Inc. (HGS), of Rockville, Md., and Transgene, of Strasbourg, France, said they have selected two novel genes from HGS' gene database for development as novel gene therapy drugs for severe cardiovascular conditions. The two genes, known as AngioPro (connective tissue growth factor-2) and VasoSten (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-4), have exhibited effectiveness in preclinical trials. Potential therapeutic applications of VasoSten are gene therapy of restenosis, or obstruction following angioplasty, and of blood vessels, such as coronary or peripheral arteries. AngioPro gene transfer using Transgene's adenoviral vectors has been shown to stimulate new blood vessel formation and increase blood flow in a rabbit model of peripheral ischemic disease.
¿ Karo Bio AB, of Huddinge, Sweden, and Bristol-Myers Squibb & Co., of New York, said they extended their October 1997 collaboration to develop novel therapies to treat obesity, hypercholesterolemia and insulin resistance. The two companies have created first-generation drugs and now will focus on developing second-generation lead compounds and to develop the compounds.
¿ MacroChem Corp., of Lexington, Mass., said Urology has accepted for publication a major paper on the Phase II study of Topiglan, a topical treatment for erectile dysfunction. The paper will report that Topiglan was six times more effective than placebo in men with vascular-caused erectile dysfunction, the leading cause of male impotence.
¿ Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it signed a multi-year agreement with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for BRACAnalysis testing to Harvard Pilgrim members who have a heightened risk of breast and ovarian cancers. BRACAnalysis is a test for genetic predisposition to cancer based on DNA sequence analysis of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
¿ Norak Biosciences Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said it named Roger Blevins as chief executive officer. Blevins has 20 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry and academic research. Prior to joining Norak, he was CEO of Medco Research Inc., also of Research Triangle Park.
¿ Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said it established a service agreement with Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., for Orchid to perform SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) scoring on samples provided by Millennium. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Packard BioScience Co., of Meriden, Conn., renamed its subsidiary BioSignal Packard, which supplies products services and enabling technologies for drug discovery and genomics. The subsidiary formerly was called BioSignal Inc.
¿ Panacea Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Rockville, Md., signed a licensing and collaboration agreement with researchers at Case Western Reserve University covering cell-cycle abnormalities in Alzheimer's disease. The group of researchers is led by Mark Smith, associate professor of pathology at the Cleveland university.
¿ PE Biosystems Group, of Foster City, Calif., said it designed a suite of TagMan assay reagents that monitor the expression of all Drosophila melanogaster genes. The fruit fly is considered a model organism in biological research because it shares similar DNA sequences with humans.
¿ The Biotechnology Industry Organization, of Washington, said it endorses recommendations by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and an international consortium of scientific societies to apply biotechnology to agriculture in developing nations to fight hunger, improve the environment and help stabilize economies.
¿ The Institute for Genomic Research, of Rockville, Md., said it completed its 19th and 20th genome sequencing projects of Chlorobium tepidum and Caulobacter crescentus. The C. tepidum genome is the first from a member of the green sulfur bacteria, which possess a unique mechanism of photosynthesis relative to other organisms. It will help scientists understand global carbon cycles and the origins and mechanisms of photosynthesis and thermophily. Caulobacter are the most common bacteria in nutrient-poor freshwater streams and will be used in the environmental cleanup of contaminated wastewater.
¿ The U.S. National Institutes of Health, of Bethesda, Md., said it formed the international HIV Prevention Trials Network to develop and test promising non-vaccine strategies to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The initiative will explore alternative measures, besides AIDS vaccines, that may be able to block or reduce infection with HIV. The network will have research sites in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the U.S.