¿ Atrix Laboratories, of Fort Collins, Colo., said its potential new treatment under development for prostate cancer uses the company's Atrigel drug delivery system to administer a sustained release of leuprolide acetate subcutaneously, rather than intramuscularly, for periods from 30 to 120 days. The company presented details of the treatment during the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Atlanta.
¿ Catalytica Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., said Gabriel Cipau has elected to retire as president and CEO after 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He will act as a consultant following his retirement on June 2. Michael Thomas will assume his position. Thomas served most recently as president and CEO of R.P. Scherer Corp.'s Americas and Global Hardcapsule division.
¿ Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., said patients treated with Remicade for Crohn's disease showed benefits, including closing of fistulas and reduction of inflammatory signs and symptoms, in clinical studies. Study results showed that steroid withdrawal was observed in more than 70 percent of Crohn's disease patients who were treated with Remicade and that clinical response of Remicade was associated with significant increases in disease-specific quality of life in refractory Crohn's disease and fistulizing disease. In another study, 40 percent of patients treated with Remicade were able to discontinue steroid therapy. The data were presented at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in San Diego.
¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., said it received approval to market its adjuvant influenza vaccine Fluad in 12 Western European countries. The company expects to market the product in Germany and Austria by the start of the 2000-01 flu season, and in the remaining countries the following season. Chiron currently markets Fluad in Italy, where it was granted approval in 1997.
¿ CytoTherapeutics, of Sunnyvale, Calif., said its shareholders voted to change the company's name to StemCells Inc. The company said its stock now trades on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol STEM. The name of the company's wholly owned subsidiary, StemCells Inc., was changed to StemCells California Inc.
¿ Hyseq Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., said George B. Rathmann has been named president and CEO of the company. He earlier had been named chairman. Rathmann co-founded Amgen Inc. in 1980 and served as director until 1993. He also served as chairman, CEO and president of the company. In 1990, he co-founded Icos Corp. and served as chairman until January, and CEO and president from 1991 until 1999.
¿ Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said trial results of LDP-02 to treat ulcerative colitis showed the drug is well tolerated and the blockade of alpha4 beta7 receptors on circulating lymphocytes was accomplished for several weeks after a single dose. The trial included 29 patients. The company presented the Phase I/II clinical results at the Annual Digestive Disease Week Conference in San Diego.
¿ Nabi, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Collaborative BioAlliance Inc. (CBA), of Smithfield, R.I., said they have signed agreements for the contract production and supply of Nabi StaphVAX at CBA's cGMP bio-manufacturing facility in Smithfield, R.I. Nabi StaphVAX, a polysaccharide conjugate vaccine being developed to prevent Staphylococcus aureus infections, is in a pivotal Phase III trial in 1,800 hemodialysis patients.
¿ Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it received a $10 million payment from Aventis, the pharmaceutical company of Aventis SA, as part of an ongoing collaboration to develop and market HMR 3480/VX-740 and other compounds for inflammatory diseases. In September, Vertex signed a deal with Hoechst Marion Roussel, now Aventis, of Frankfurt, Germany, potentially worth $206 million, expanding a collaboration to develop orally active drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other inflammatory diseases. The deal called for HMR to pay $62 million in milestones per indication for the successful development of HMR 3480/VX-740, an orally active inhibitor of interleukin-1 beta converting enzyme. The compound is in Phase II development to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The start of clinical development in additional indications, such as osteoarthritis, heart failure and stroke, is possible in 2001. The $10 million payment is the second milestone payment to Vertex. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 2, 1999, p. 1.)