¿ Antex Biologics Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., received a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer Research contract from the U.S. Army to continue development of Activax, an oral multivalent vaccine for Traveler¿s Diseases.
¿ Astex Technology Ltd., of Cambridge, England, said it appointed Timothy Haines as chief executive. Haines last worked for Datascope Corp. Astex specializes in high-throughput X-ray crystallography.
¿ AVI BioPharma Inc., of Portland, Ore., said it initiated Phase II trials of Resten-NG, the first compound from the company¿s third-generation Neugene antisense technology platform to reach this stage. It targets the genetic sequence c-myc, a gene responsible for initiating cell replication, and will be evaluated in cardiovascular restenosis.
¿ Bayer Corp., of Pittsburgh, said the FDA approved Kogenate FS Antihemophilic Factor (recombinant), formulated with sucrose. Kogenate FS is a new formulation of recombinant factor VIII to treat hemophilia A that has a higher concentration and smaller fluid volume than Kogenate, which reduces intravenous infusion time.
¿ Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it dedicated its first European manufacturing site in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. The facility will be used to package Avonex, the company¿s flagship product to treat multiple sclerosis, to distribute to all markets outside the U.S. and Canada.
¿ Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., said Canadian health authorities granted permission to start a Phase II trial in head and neck cancer patients with the company¿s immunotherapy adjuvant drug, Multikine. The study will enroll up to 20 patients in two dose groups. The patients must have previously untreated primary squamous cell carcinoma.
¿ Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., and Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., said they received marketing approval in Europe for Remicade with methotrexate to reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in patients with active disease when the response to disease-modifying drugs has been inadequate. Remicade was approved in the U.S. in November.
¿ Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, and Alkermes Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said Nutropin Depot was shipped Wednesday to the pediatric endocrine community in the U.S. It was approved by the FDA in December as a long-acting dosage form of recombinant human growth hormone.
¿ Gliatech Inc., of Cleveland, said researchers found that Adcon-T/N tested in 59 patients with 70 injured fingers improved finger movement at six months and did not lead to an increased tendon rupture rate. In another study, Adcon-T/N did not show any sign of toxicity and was easy to use in 110 patients. It relieved patients from complications due to fibrosis after neurolysis and tenolysis. In a third study of 20 patients with Dupuytren¿s contracture, Adcon-T/N gel was safe, did not interfere with wound healing and seemed to improve the early results of fasciectomy, researchers said.
¿ InterMune Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., said it acquired from Connetics Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., the remaining rights to Actimmune revenue. InterMune paid Connetics $5.2 million for the rights. Prior to the transaction, Connetics had the right to recognize Actimmune revenue and related expenses associated with about the first $6.5 million in Actimmune sales in the U.S. in each of the years 2000 and 2001. The agreement allows InterMune to recognize about $11 million in additional revenue over the next 15 months.
¿ Kosan Biosciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif., received a $500,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop versions of the immune suppressant FK506 with greater stability toward degradation. FK506 is a widely used immunosuppressant for organ transplantation, and is in clinical trials for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
¿ Micrologix Biotech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it successfully completed a Phase I trial of MBI 594AN to treat acne. The study showed the drug is safe, well tolerated and has antimicrobial activity against the acne-causing bacterium, Propionibacterium acnes. The company expects to initiate the next phase of trials in the second half of this year.
¿ NaPro BioTherapeutics Inc., of Boulder, Colo., said it received its first milestone payment under the strategic licensing, development and marketing agreement with Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill. NaPro received $4 million in the form of cash for 711,111 shares of common stock at $5.625 per share. The company did not disclose the events that triggered the payment.
¿ NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Salt Lake City, said NPS 1776, an epilepsy drug, was well tolerated in two Phase I UK trials. The company and marketing partner Abbott Laboratories also reported preclinical results suggesting a low potential for interactions with other drugs. The studies were presented at the Fifth Eilat Conference on New Antiepileptic Drugs in Eilat, Israel.
¿ Oncolytics Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, said researchers found that Reolysin demonstrated better efficacy with fewer adverse outcomes in transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder in animal models as compared to standard treatment. They found that 70 percent of the animals had no evidence of tumors after treatment with Reolysin.
¿ SignalGene Inc., of Montreal, and the Sainte-Justine Hospital initiated a pharmacogenomics alliance under which SignalGene will invest C$100,000 (US$68,000) per year over the next three years in a newly formed company called Ecogenix Inc., which will seek to identify human gene variants that determine drug metabolism and response to drug therapy. SignalGene has first right of refusal to acquire the results of the research program. T2C2/Bio Limited Partnership also will invest C$400,000 per year in the private company. SignalGene also acquired, for C$450,000 in cash and stock, intellectual property related to the method for analysis of gene variants of drug metabolism enzymes developed by Ecogenix¿s scientific founders.
¿ Symyx Technologies Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., said it received a grant of $850,000 as part of a renewal grant awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency through the Office of Naval Research. The grant will fund the discovery and optimization of improved thermoelectric materials.
¿ Synsorb Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, said it received a milestone payment from MDS Sciex, of Toronto. The payment was triggered by the issuance of the first of several patents that consolidate the intellectual property position of Synsorb¿s former subsidiary, INH Technologies Inc., in the field of high-throughput screening. Synsorb sold INH to MDS in March.
¿ The Parker Hughes Institute of St. Paul, Minn., has developed a new class of anticancer drugs that are effective against breast cancer and brain tumor cells. The compounds are designed to target a previously unrecognized binding cavity on the surface of cancer cells. Once attached to the cells, they destroy the cell structures and cause cell death. The research is published in the June issue of Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters.
¿ Theratechnologies, of Montreal, will accelerate development of its photodynamic treatment for cancers affecting bone marrow and immune system disorders. The company will soon start clinical trials in non-Hodgkin¿s lymphoma and graft-vs.-host disease.
¿ Tripos Inc., of St. Louis, and Lipha SA, of Lyon, France, said they signed a one-year, multimillion dollar discovery research agreement to use a range of Tripos¿ technologies, including its LeadQuest general screening library and ChemSpace library design technology, for the discovery of novel drug candidates to treat metabolic and other associated diseases. Tripos will receive a technology license fee and payments for its research and discovery services.