¿ Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it will begin a Phase II trial of the Ariad Regulated Gene Expression Technology (ARGENT) product to treat graft-vs.-host disease in patients undergoing allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) at the Hospital San Raffaele in Milan, Italy. Patients with chronic leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma who have undergone allogeneic BMT, but have relapsed, will be the first patients entered into the trial. Ariad also said liver cells, or hepatocytes, can be grown in culture under the control of the ARGENT system, which may make possible transplantation of engineered hepatocytes to treat chronic liver disease.
¿ Biotech Holdings Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it filed with the Canadian Venture Exchange for acceptance of a private placement of 3 million common shares at 68 cents per share and 3 million common share purchase warrants at 85 cents per share, exercisable for a period of 18 months. The placement will raise the company C$2.04 million (US$1.38 million). The private placement replaces another one to raise C$1.76 million announced in April. The company also applied for 2.63 million convertible preferred share purchase warrants at 85 cents per share to be granted to four companies that have advanced loans to the company totaling C$2.24 million. The warrants would be granted for extensions in the time allowed for repayment of the loans and would be exercisable for 18 months.
¿ EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., issued a statement on the inventorship lawsuit filed by Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., against Children's Hospital in Boston. While EntreMed was named as a defendant in the case, it said it has not been served with any legal documents, and the lawsuit is not related to its rhuAngiostatin molecule consisting of kringles 1-3, which is in clinical testing in humans, the company said. Abbott's lawsuit relates to determination of the inventorship of the antiangiogenic activity of the kringle 5 region of the plasminogen molecule. EntreMed said it will vigorously defend any action that contests its rights to any fragment of the Angiostatin molecule.
¿ Enzo Biochem, of Farmingdale, N.Y., said preliminary results of a Phase I trial of its anti HIV-1 antisense gene therapy product, HGTV-43, show an unprecedented eight-month survival of the engineered cells in an HIV-infected individual among the group studied and the development of CD4+ cells expressing the HIV-1 antisense RNA within the cell. The results indicate that the engineered stem cells have replicated and differentiated within participants in the trial. The company's (NYSE:ENZ) stock gained 17 percent Friday to close at $43.937.
¿ Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said Mark Gessler will succeed Michael Brennan as its CEO effective June 8. Brennan will continue to serve as chairman of the board. Gessler has served as president and chief operating officer since January 1999 and was appointed to the board in March. He also served as chief financial officer and as senior vice president of corporate development at the company.
¿ Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, said it has retained a top accounting firm to help it assess damages in its legal action against abusive short-sellers. Damages are expected to reach into the tens of millions of dollars, the company said. The trial is scheduled for the court's September 2000 trial pool. The company has filed charges against Asensio & Co. Inc., of New York, in the Eastern District Federal Court of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for alleged defamation, disparagement and interference with contractual relations.
¿ Hemosol Inc., of Toronto, said it was selected to become a member of the TSE 300 Composite Index. The index was created in 1977 by the Toronto Stock Exchange and is comprised of 300 of Canada's larger public companies that trade on the exchange.
¿ HIV-VAC Inc., of Toronto, said it is working toward initiating human trials of its vaccine in one or more African countries where HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic proportions. The trials would complement trials under way in Russia.
¿ ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said it has acquired Cesamet (nabilone) from Eli Lilly & Co., of Indianapolis, for the Canadian market. Cesamet is indicated in Canada for the management of severe nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. It will be marketed and distributed by ICN. Terms of the acquisition were not released.
¿ Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, presented results of a Phase III trial of Maxamine in Stage IV malignant melanoma at the Perspectives in Melanoma IV conference in Pittsburgh. New data showed that 24-month survival occurred in a total of 25 percent of patients treated with Maxamine and lower-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2), compared with 17 percent in those treated with lower-dose IL-2 alone. Published reports indicate that the 24-month survival for patients treated with the approved, high-dose regimen of IL-2 is 12 percent. Overall response was achieved in 38 percent of patients treated with Maxamine and the lower dose of IL-2, compared with 28 percent in those treated with the same dose of IL-2 alone. The company said last month that Maxamine hit its survival duration endpoints in the study. (See BioWorld Today, May 3, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ MediChem Research Inc., of Lemont, Ill., said it acquired Emerald BioStructures Inc., of Bainbridge Island, Wash., through the issuance of common stock. The acquisition enables MediChem to further deepen its portfolio in the structural biology and proteomics arenas. Emerald also provides X-ray crystallographic products and services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, as well as high-throughput protein crystallization.
¿ Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., said its plasmid-based Factor IX gene medicine demonstrated correction of bleeding in a large animal model of hemophilia following a single administration of the therapy. Researchers presented the data at the American Society for Gene Therapy's Third Annual Meeting in Denver.