¿ Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill, and its Ross Products Division, and Battelle Pulmonary Therapeutics Inc. (BPT), of Columbus, Ohio, entered into an agreement under which BPT will license to Abbott new products and drug delivery technology to develop therapies for a variety of respiratory diseases. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
¿ AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., signed an agreement to establish a 50/50 joint venture with Genesis Pharma SA, of Athens, Greece, to commercialize OvaRex to treat ovarian cancer and other anti-idiotype induction therapy (AIT) cancer therapeutics in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and the Balkans. AltaRex estimates the regions represent a $10 million market potential for OvaRex. AltaRex will supply the antibody for clinical study and Genesis will use its sales force and infrastructure. Genesis will cover all remaining costs associated with regulatory approval and clinical trials. The resulting profits will be distributed equally between the companies.
¿ Aquila Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Framingham, Mass., acquired rights to antibodies that expand and activate a specific, disease-fighting T-cell population of white blood cells, called NK T-cells, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The antibodies have the potential to be developed to treat cancer, autoimmune disorders and chronic viral infections. The company plans to begin clinical trials with an initial product for cancer in 2001.
¿ Biomatrix Inc., of Ridgefield, N.J., said preliminary results from its trial evaluating Synvisc to treat osteoarthritis of the hip showed it is safe and effective in providing significant and sustained pain relief in most patients. The company now expects to initiate a large, multicenter pivotal clinical trial. Synvisc already is approved to treat osteoarthritic knee pain.
¿ Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, exercised its option to acquire Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron Corp.'s remaining rights to the Theratope vaccine. Last year, Biomira entered into an option agreement to acquire Chiron's portion of the rights to the product. Under the terms, Biormira will pay $2.25 million to Chiron to help offset its investment in the development of the vaccine. Upon FDA approval, Biomira will make a final payment of $3.25 million. No further royalty or other payment will be made. Theratope is in Phase III trials for breast cancer.
¿ Celera Genomics, of Rockville, Md., signed an agreement with the government of Australia, acting through the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, to provide a multiyear subscription to five Celera databases. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Eli Lilly & Co., of Indianapolis, stopped enrollment in a Phase III trial investigating recombinant human activated protein C to treat severe sepsis. An interim analysis found the placebo-controlled trial results met the criteria for reduced mortality among recombinant human activated protein C-treated sepsis patients. The product will be marketed as Zovant if it receives regulatory approval. The decision to stop enrollment follows a favorable recommendation by an independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board that met June 28. The board found positive results based on 1,520 patients in the trial with a primary endpoint of 28-day all-cause mortality.
¿ Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said its board extended the first milestone date for the NeuroCell program. The timeline to initiate a Phase III trial of NeuroCell-PD to treat Parkinson's disease was extended to Dec. 31 from June 30 to allow time to complete and review the blinded Phase II trial.
¿ Genzyme Molecular Oncology, of Framingham, Mass., has exclusively licensed certain high-density DNA array diagnostic and research rights related to the p53 gene to Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., for use on its GeneChip arrays. Currently, Affymetrix sells p53 arrays that analyze the coding region of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. In exchange for the exclusive rights, Affymetrix will make an up-front payment, milestones and minimum royalties on the sale of future GeneChip products that utilize the p53 gene. The p53 gene functions as an important tumor suppressor.
¿ Immusol Inc., of San Diego, in collaboration with Flossie Wong-Staal of the University of California at San Diego, said its inverse genomics discovery process led to the successful identification of the anticancer gene ppan, which is believe to be lethal to cancerous cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. The work is described in the June 15 issue of Genomics. Immusol plans to identify drug candidates that increase the activity of the ppan gene.
¿ Mycogen Plant Science Inc., of San Diego, an affiliate of Mycogen Corp., said a California Court of Appeals reversed a 1998 jury verdict that ruled in favor of the company, granting it $174.9 million in damages for patent infringement paid by Monsanto Co., of St. Louis. The jury ruled invalid Monsanto's patent for modifying Bacillus thuringiensis to make plants resistant to insects. The California court said Mycogen pursued two separate suits against Monsanto and should have included its claim for damages in the original suit that sought only to enforce a license agreement and obtain licenses to Monsanto's products.
¿ PathoGenesis Corp., of Seattle, began to enroll patients in a Phase II open-label pilot study of TOBI (tobramycin solution for inhalation) in patients with severe bronchiectasis. The company plans to enroll up to 40 patients at up to 15 clinical sties. The primary objective is to assess whether TOBI improves symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath, production of sputum, fatigue and wheezing.
¿ Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, will sell its MassARRAY system to Specialty Laboratories for the purpose of performing genetic analysis to detect variations, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, that are associated with specific diseases. Sequenom will provide a license to MassARRAY technology, access its validated assay portfolio and receive royalties for all commercial applications. The two companies formed a collaborative effort that will jointly develop and commercialize assays using Sequenom's automated assay development process. The companies will share rights to those assays.
¿ Third Wave Technologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., entered into an agreement with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., to develop the first high-density panel of 10,000 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) assays spaced across the human genome. The assay panel will use Third Wave's proprietary Invader technology to detect SNPs released by The SNP Consortium in May. The agreement provides for Third Wave to commercialize the panel to third parties.
¿ Transgene, of Strasbourg, France, and IntroGene BV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a collaboration in the field of complementation cell lines for commercial production of adenoviral vectors. The agreement provides for the non-exclusive cross-licensing of certain intellectual property rights and for the joint development and marketing of a new generation of complementation cell lines.
¿ Visible Genetics Inc., of Toronto, said it has successfully completed and analyzed the results of the performance and analytic trials of its Trugene HIV-1 Genotyping Kit. The company believes results of the tests confirm that the kit functions as intended and at the level of performance necessary to gain FDA clearance. The company will perform one final study involving laboratory-constructed molecular infectious clones, rather than samples drawn from HIV-infected patients.
¿ Vivus Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., said it was added to the list of companies to be included in the Russell 2000 Index. The index is used as a benchmark for passive and active investment strategies.