¿ Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, of Uppsala, Sweden, said subsidiary Molecular Dynamics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., and the Zoological Society of San Diego are joining forces to sequence the mitochondrial DNA of endangered species. Researchers hope to use the information to help zoologists and conservation biologists understand the genetic basis of species behavior, biology and evolution. Resources for the study will come from the society's Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species' "Frozen Zoo," which holds viable cell lines from more than 3,200 individual mammals, representing 355 species and subspecies.
¿ Array BioPharma Inc., of Boulder, Colo., and Tularik Inc., of South San Francisco, entered into an agreement for the design and synthesis of a small-molecule library targeting orphan nuclear receptors. Array will couple its expertise in the design and synthesis of small-molecule libraries with Tularik's knowledge of nuclear receptors to produce a library focused on creating information and leads for therapeutic targets.
¿ Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, said it entered into an agreement with the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute and Janssen Research Foundation - both Johnson & Johnson companies - in the area of ion channel drug discovery. Aurora will collaborate with the two parties to develop ion channel assays, and it will provide access to its voltage ion probe reader (VIPR) and its voltage sensor probes, as well as licenses to the VIPR technology.
¿ Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., said results of a Phase I/II study of TP10 in infants undergoing cardiac surgery suggest the drug was well tolerated with no adverse events attributed to study treatment. The inhibitor was studied in 15 infants. Avant plans to refine the TP10 dosing regimen in a Phase IIb study this year prior to starting the pivotal Phase III study early next year.
¿ Bio-Technology General Corp., of Iselin, N.J., said a federal appeals court has denied South San Francisco-based Genentech Inc.'s motion for an injunction. Genentech asked for an injunction pending the outcome of its appeal of a decision in which its patent relating to a method for producing recombinant human growth hormone was found to be invalid. The decision paved the way for the U.S. commercialization of Bio-Technology's recombinant human growth hormone, Bio-Tropin. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 20, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Dynavax Technologies Corp., of Berkeley, Calif., said a study using its Amb a 1 Immunostimulatory DNA Conjugate in a mouse model of ragweed allergy showed the conjugate significantly reduced asthma symptoms. It also increased allergen-specific IgG antibody responses and interferon gamma responses compared to untreated animals or animals treated with native allergen, the company said.
¿ Endovasc Ltd. Inc., of Montgomery, Texas, said it signed agreements with a group of investors in connection with a private placement of $4.5 million of its convertible preferred stock in three installments of $1.5 million each, the first of which has been successfully funded. The placement was facilitated by the investment banking firm J.P. Turner & Co., of Atlanta. The company develops liposomal formulations of prostaglandin and other drugs.
¿ Epoch Biosciences, of Redmond, Wash., and Specialty Laboratories, of Santa Monica, Calif., said they will jointly develop highly sensitive assays to determine whether abnormal cells remain in an individual's bloodstream following therapy to eradicate human leukemias. The companies expect the first assay to detect residual chronic myelogenous leukemia will be available in early June. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
¿ Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, said it began long-term Phase II trials on its oral insulin formulation. The purpose is to test the safety and efficacy of the formulation on Type I and Type II diabetics for a minimum of six months. The trials will involve the use of the formulation to replace mealtime insulin injections and to replace failing tablet therapy in Type II diabetics.
¿ ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said its licensing partner, Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., began sales in Spain of Rebetol (ribavirin) capsules. Rebetol is approved for use in combination with Schering-Plough's interferon alfa-2b injection to treat chronically infected hepatitis C patients.
¿ Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, began legal action in Europe against Beaufour Ipsen, of Paris, for alleged patent infringement with respect to polyadenur as a treatment for hepatitis. Polyadenur already has completed Phase II/III studies in more than 100 patients worldwide with hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Hemispherx said its actions were necessary due to the recent aggressive pan-European patent filing efforts of Beaufour with respect to polyadenur as an effective treatment for chronic hepatitis, especially in combination with interferon. Six Hemispherx patents were cited more than 19 times as examples of prior art against the initial therapeutic claims of Beaufour, the company said.
¿ Karo Bio, of Stockholm, Sweden, said it completed its acquisition of Novalon Pharmaceutical Corp., of Durham, N.C. The company announced the acquisition in March. (See BioWorld Today, March 28, 2000, p. 5.)
¿ Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, said its scientists used proprietary technology to disrupt, or "knock out," the Ku80 gene in mice, which resulted in mice that aged more than twice as fast as normal mice. This reduced the life span of the knockout mice to about nine months as compared to about two years for normal mice. The Ku80 gene was found to function as part of a cellular senescence pathway controlled by the p53 tumor suppressor gene, one of the most commonly mutated genes in human cancers. The research was published Wednesday in Molecular and Cellular Biology.
¿ Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said early stage cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) patients in a Phase I/II study of Targretin gel showed a 63 percent overall response rate, with 21 percent achieving clinical complete clearing. The trial enrolled 67 patients. In a Phase III study of the gel designed to assess efficacy and safety in a heavily pretreated population of patients, data showed that the gel appeared safe and effective for patients with treatment-resistant early stage CTCL. Also, there was a rapid clinical response from the initiation of treatment, with the earliest time to onset of response of 28 days and the latest time of 128 days. The Phase III trial enrolled 50 patients. The capsule formulation of Targretin was approved by the FDA in December, and a new drug application for the gel was filed the same month. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 30, 1999, p. 1; and Dec. 13, 1999, p. 1.)
¿ Medinox Inc., of San Diego, and Fuso Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, said they entered into a collaborative agreement to develop a new sepsis drug. Under terms of the agreement, Fuso will have exclusive rights to develop and market NOX-100, a novel nitric oxide-neutralizing compound, for sepsis and one additional indication in Japan. Fuso also made an equity purchase of Medinox stock. Medinox may receive pre-commercialization payments from Fuso, including an up-front payment and milestones. It will retain manufacturing rights to NOX-100 and will receive a royalty on net sales.
¿ Oxxon Pharmaccines, of Oxford, England, said it received initial financing from MVM Ltd. and Neomed Management to launch itself as a company focused on commercializing therapeutic vaccines for chronic infectious diseases and cancer. The company was founded in mid-1999 by a group of immunologists and virologists from the University of Oxford.
¿ Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., of Des Moines, Iowa, said it obtained a commercial license from Japan Tobacco Inc., of Tokyo, for a proprietary Agrobacterium-monocot transformation system and related technologies for use in corn and sorghum. Terms were not disclosed.
¿ Protherics plc, of Cheshire, UK, said its angiotensin vaccine under development to treat high blood pressure has completed Phase I trials and demonstrated its ability to raise an antibody response in humans. Results also demonstrated the antibodies are capable of blocking the blood pressure raising effects of angiotensin.
.¿ Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., said it completed single-dose safety trials of the antihepatitis C ribozyme, LY 466700. The study, conducted by development partner Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co., found that the drug appeared to be well tolerated in the first cohort of normal volunteers. Ribozyme now has initiated a trial designed to study safety and to assess the effect of the compound on HCV viral RNA levels following a 28-day dose-response regimen.
¿ Senomyx Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., said it relocated its headquarters to another location in La Jolla. The company also said it acquired rights to novel sodium channel-related technology developed at Johns Hopkins University. The patented discovery identifies new forms of an amiloride-sensitive sodium channel and new possible methods of identifying substances that stimulate or block salty taste perception.
¿ The Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute (JGI), of Walnut Creek, Calif., sequenced the genome for Enterococcus faecium, known as the superbug because of its resistance to antibiotic treatments. The project was a collaboration between the JGI, the University of Texas Health Science Center and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The researchers sequenced the 2.8 million base pairs of DNA that make up the genome in one day. Researchers now can work on finding the organism's vulnerabilities and picking which protein targets to direct vaccines against