¿ Albany Molecular Research Inc., of Albany, N.Y., invested $650,000 in Fluorous Technologies Inc., a new company based in Pittsburgh. Fluorous was formed to develop the potential of fluorous organic chemistry technology for chemical synthesis, isolation and purification. The company will use this technology in pharmaceutical drug discovery, agriochemical product development and more environmentally friendly chemical manufacturing businesses.
¿ Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, received a $1 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The purpose of the grant is to develop and validate improved, miniaturized high-throughput in vitro methods for determining whether individual compounds and compound libraries tested in drug screens have potentially unfavorable interactions with key metabolic pathways. Currently, these unwanted characteristics are identified later in the drug development process.
¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., updated durable response data to Proleukin labeling, reinforcing the long-term remission benefit of Proleukin for patients with advanced-stage kidney cancer or melanoma. The data demonstrated a durable response of more than 10 years for some patients who responded to therapy. Proleukin is a recombinant form of interleukin-2, a naturally occurring protein produced by the human body that helps regulate the immune system. It was approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma in 1992 and malignant metastatic melanoma in 1998.
¿ Exact Laboratories Inc., of Maynard, Mass., will collaborate with Henry Lynch of Creighton University to study a hereditary form of colon cancer, known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer. The collaboration, which is part of a five-year $2.8 million grant funded by the National Cancer Institute, will help evaluate a colorectal cancer screening test that has application to individuals with the disease.
¿ Genzyme Tissue Repair, of Cambridge, Mass., submitted a 510(k) filing to the FDA for marketing clearance of its Quick Tack periosteal fixation system. Quick Tack is a small device designed to replace the use of sutures during the Carticel implant, currently an open-knee procedure.
¿ ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, is beginning a Phase I trial of its Velogen Rapid VRE Identification Assay, a gene-based test for the detection of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus.
¿ Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., said that the FDA approved Sarafem (fluoxetine hydrochloride, the ingredient in Prozac) for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is characterized by severe mood and physical symptoms around a woman's menstrual cycle. Interneuron will receive a milestone payment as a result of the approval, as well as royalties on future sales. Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, will market the product.
¿ MitoKor Inc., of San Diego, along with scientists at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California, San Diego, have identified a possible link between mitochondrial defects and osteoarthritis. The study suggests that impaired mitochondrial respiration could lead to pathogenic changes that culminate in osteoarthritis and worsen disease progression. The findings are in the July issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism.
¿ Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., granted a non-exclusive license to PE Biosystems, of Foster City, Calif., to use its SNP-IT single-base primer extension technology for single nucleotide polymorphism analysis. PE Biosystems will use the technology in its ABI Prism reagent kits, including SNaPshot ddNTP Primer Extension kits. Terms of the deal were not released.
¿ Rosetta Inpharmatics Inc., of Kirkland, Wash., reported findings showing how high-quality, comprehensive gene expression analysis data and computational methods coupled with genetically modified organisms can be used to decipher the function of previously uncharacterized genes. Rosetta identified a new drug target that had not been previously identified with this approach. The findings are in the July 7 issue of Cell.
¿ Synsorb Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, said a Phase II study of Synsorb Cd showed that 41.7 percent of patients on placebo experienced recurrence of Clostridium difficile-associated disease after their initial episode, as opposed to only 21.9 percent of those receiving 16g per day of Synsorb Cd experienced recurrence (p=0.116). The risk reduction for recurrence of the high dose relative to placebo was 61 percent. Preliminary results and the move into Phase III trials already had been reported. (See BioWorld Today, April 4, 2000, p. 1; and Sept. 14, 1999, p. 1.)
¿ The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of Bethesda, Md., created a strategic plan that set guidelines for developing an effective tuberculosis vaccine. The plan identifies the tuberculosis crisis as a global health priority and encourages an international collaborative effort to develop a vaccine.
¿ Vical Inc., of San Diego, granted Aventis Pharma, the pharmaceutical company of Frankfurt, Germany-based Aventis SA, the rights to use its naked DNA gene transfer technology to deliver a growth factor gene for which Aventis Pharma holds rights. Naked DNA is Vical's patented method for delivering genes into cells in the body without using a virus. Vical received $1.5 million up front from Aventis and could receive milestone payments and royalties.