¿ Alpha Therapeutic Corp., of Los Angeles, said it granted an exclusive license to National Genetics Institute to use a method of efficiently and rapidly testing large numbers of plasma donations for viruses using the highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction testing technology. Alpha was granted U.S. Patent No. 6,063,563 in May covering the efficient algorithm method. NGI has rights in the U.S. and an option for additional rights in other countries, while Alpha retains all rights in Asia.
¿ Aviron, of Mountain View, Calif., said it sold 339,955 shares of its common stock to Acqua Wellington Asset Management LLC for an aggregate price of $8 million, or $23.53 per share. Acqua Wellington also increased its equity financing commitment to Aviron from $48 million to $84 million. The funds are available to Aviron through February 2001 at a small discount to the market. Following the most recent sale, an aggregate total of $64 million remains available to Aviron. The company intends to use net proceeds to fund operating costs, capital expenditures and working capital needs associated with FluMist.
¿ Deltagen Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., said it denies the allegations made by Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware. The company also said it seeks a grant of declaratory judgment in favor of Deltagen. The complaint centers on U.S. Patent No. 5,789,215, covering methods of engineering the animal genome using isogenic DNA technology.
¿ Echelon Research Laboratories Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it was awarded a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the National Institutes of Health. The two-year grant provides Echelon with more than $500,000 to develop specific tools for the study of cancer. Echelon is a private research company located adjacent to the University of Utah.
¿ Emisphere Technologies Inc., of Hawthorne, N.Y., and Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, said they have executed a follow-on development agreement to develop oral formulations of Forteo, a treatment for osteoporosis, and Humatrope, a product indicated for certain growth disorders. The two companies will collaborate to bring oral forms of the drugs into clinical testing. The agreement also provides for supplemental research and development funding, and Emisphere will receive a $2 million milestone payment under terms of an agreement made in 1997 with Eli Lilly. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 28, 1997, p. 1.)
¿ Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, of Seattle, said immunologist Edus Warren is one of five recipients of the Cancer Research Fund grant. The grant was established to provide resources and training to bring more physicians into the clinical research discipline. Its major sponsor is Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., which has pledged $15 million over five years. Warren's research focuses on understanding the immune response that mediates graft-vs.-host disease and the graft-vs.-leukemia effect that occurs following allogeneic bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.
¿ Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and Life Technologies Inc., of Rockville, Md., entered into a collaboration to fully sequence and patent the large number of human disease and predictive toxicology genes identified using Gene Logic's GeneExpress 2000 suite of databases. The companies expect to complete soon the sequencings and patent filings on about 5 percent of the genes in the human genome.
¿ Invitrogen Corp., of San Diego, said it entered into an agreement with Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., to develop and market new software for microarray analysis. Through the agreement, Invitrogen will adapt its Pathways microarray analysis software for use in analyzing images of "spotted arrays" generated with the Affymetrix 417 Arrayer and scanned with the 418 Array Scanner.
¿ Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., said data demonstrate that antisense inhibition of the gene PTEN, a gene target for diabetes, produced statistically significant therapeutic benefit by reversing hyperglycemia in diabetic mice. In the study, four weeks of treatment with an antisense inhibitor of PTEN reduced glucose levels in diabetic mice dramatically (p<.0001). Serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels also were reduced.
¿ Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said its board adopted a shareholder rights plan designed to protect shareholders in the event of an unsolicited bid for the company. The plan imposes a significant penalty upon any person or group that acquires 15 percent or more of the company's outstanding common stock without the approval of the Maxim board. The board also declared a dividend of one preferred share purchase right for each outstanding share of common stock, to be issued to shareholders of record on June 22.
¿ Maxygen Inc., of Redwood, City, Calif., and DSM N.V., of Delft, the Netherlands, achieved a milestone under a 1999 agreement to develop a novel bioprocess for the manufacture of penicillin antibiotic intermediates. DSM accepted for commercial development certain catalysts developed using Mayxgen's MolecularBreeding technologies for directed molecular evolution. The companies intend to commercialize the technology in 2001. Maxygen also reported Novo Nordisk AS, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, has selected an enzyme that evolved from Maxygen's MolecularBreeding technologies for continued development. The industrial enzyme was developed under a 1997 research collaboration between the two companies.
¿ MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and Alkermes Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said they signed an agreement to develop an inhalable formulation of a monoclonal antibody targeting the respiratory syncytial virus using Alkermes' AIR pulmonary drug delivery technology. MedImmune will receive exclusive, worldwide rights to products produced by the collaboration. Alkermes will receive certain initial fees, development funding, milestone payments, manufacturing fees and royalties on product sales.
¿ Pharmos Corp., of Iselin, N.J., said Quintiles Ltd., a subsidiary of Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Quintiles Transnational Corp., has been appointed to monitor and manage the data for the European Phase III trial of dexanabinol in patients with severe traumatic brain injury. The multicenter, pivotal trial is scheduled to begin during the third quarter of this year. It will enroll several hundred patients in about 30 centers in seven European countries and Israel. In a Phase II study with 101 patients, dexanabinol was able to prevent elevation of intracranial pressure and showed good safety data.
¿ Qiagen NV, of Venlo, the Netherlands, said it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Operon Technologies Inc., of Alameda, Calif., a privately held company focused on synthetic DNA. Qiagen expects to issue about 715,000 shares of its common stock, valued at about $110 million, in exchange for all outstanding capital stock of Operon. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter.
¿ Triangle Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., reported initial results of a Phase I/II dose-escalation combination study of DMP-450, a protease inhibitor for the treatment of HIV infection. The study was designed to evaluate the antiviral activity and safety of DMP-450 in antiretroviral-naove, HIV-infected patients. Preliminary data indicate that DMP-450 generally is well tolerated and no significant laboratory toxicities have been observed. Week 32 data show that patients receiving DMP-450 had less increase in total serum cholesterol than those receiving indinavir. After the study is complete and a full analysis of the data done, the company plans to hold discussions with the FDA concerning DMP-450's future development in the U.S. The product has been placed on partial clinical hold.