¿ BioChem Pharma Inc., of Laval, Quebec, said new Zeffix (lamivudine) data presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver congress in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, indicate that 86 percent of patients who lost hepatitis B virus e antigen while taking the drug showed no evidence of disease recurrence almost two years after completing their treatment. The international study tracked 43 patients who had previously lost the antigen after an average of one year of Zeffix treatment and then had stopped therapy. Zeffix is marketed in more than 25 countries, including the U.S. under the name Epivir-HBV. It is approved in almost 50 countries worldwide.
¿ BZL Biologics Inc., of New York, said scientists from Cornell University Medical Center reported at the annual American Urological Association Meeting that a new monoclonal antibody to prostate-specific membrane antigen produced substantial anticancer activity in animal models of human prostate cancer. In a parallel clinical trial in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer, the antibody was able to target disseminated tumor sites throughout the body while avoiding targeting of normal tissues. BZL holds the exclusive worldwide license to the technology.
¿ Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., said it offered the South African government a free license to test and use the company's AIDS vaccine in South Africa. In exchange, Cel-Sci requested that the South African government agree to a jointly developed time schedule for the development of the vaccine and that it make the results of the studies available to Cel-Sci for any eventual marketing of the vaccine by the company in other countries.
¿ Cell Pathways Inc., of Horsham, Pa., presented detailed findings at the 95th annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Atlanta from the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II/III study of Aptosyn (exisulind) in post-prostatectomy men at risk of prostate cancer recurrence. The company said in November that the study showed the rise in average prostate-specific antigen levels for patients taking Aptosyn was significantly lower than for those receiving placebo. Results from the 92 evaluable patients showed that the median 12-month change in PSA levels from baseline was significantly lower for the 45 men receiving exisulind than for the 47 men who received placebo. Results also were statistically significant in exisulind-treated men prospectively classified as "high risk" for metastatic disease. The company also presented results from preclinical studies that demonstrate the potential of selective apoptotic antineoplastic drugs (SAANDs) for preventing and treating a variety of cancers. In one study Cell Pathways researchers demonstrated the ability of Aptosyn to inhibit carcinogen-induced bladder cancer in a rat model of urinary bladder tumorigenesis. In the second study, the company demonstrated the ability of CP461 to significantly inhibit the rate of tumor growth in nude mice implanted with PC3 prostate cancer cells. The company's stock (NASDAQ:CLPA) closed Monday at $30.50, up $4.562, or 17.6 percent. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 17, 1999, p. 1.)
¿ Coley Pharmaceutical Group, of Wellesley, Mass., said early clinical results suggest a new method for improving immune responses to vaccines for a wide variety of diseases, including hepatitis B. The interim data from a Phase I/II study show that CpG 7909, a novel DNA-based immune stimulant, significantly increases antigen-specific immune activation when administered in combination with Engerix-B, a marketed preventive hepatitis B vaccine.
¿ Epoch Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Redmond, Wash., has changed its name to Epoch Biosciences. The company said the new name more accurately describes its focus and range of products and services as it prepares to move to the Nasdaq National Market. Epoch chemistry technology has commercial applications in the fields of genomics and molecular diagnostics.
¿ Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, said the underwriters of its initial public offering exercised in full their option to purchase an additional 1.365 million shares at $13 per share to cover overallotments. Net proceeds of the IPO, including the exercise of the overallotment, totaled $126 million. Goldman, Sachs & Co., of New York, was lead underwriter for the offering. Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. and SG Cowen Securities Corp., both of New York, co-managed the offering. (See BioWorld Today, April 12, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., decided to exercise an option in their GeneChip agreement to include access to custom GeneChip probe arrays. Gene Logic will provide sequence information from its internal sequence database, and Affymetrix will design and manufacture a series of custom arrays. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Proligo LLC, of Boulder, Colo., agreed to form a business dedicated to the manufacture and supply of compounds for the genetic medicine sector. Proligo will contribute manufacturing, management and marketing services and Inex will contribute intellectual property and patents. The compounds to be manufactured are phosphorothioate-containing nucleic acids capable of inhibiting the production of disease-causing proteins.
¿ Molecular Simulations Inc., of San Diego, and hte GmbH, of Heidelberg, Germany, entered into a collaborative agreement focused on informatics tools to support high-throughput experimentation throughout the chemicals and materials industries. The companies plan to develop and validate software required to manage and exploit the data generated by high-throughput experimentation.
¿ NeoPharm Inc., of Bannockburn, Ill., filed an investigational new drug application for SS1-PE38 to treat solid tumors. SS1-PE38 is a single-chain monoclonal antibody that targets the toxin to mesothelin on cancer cells. It was developed by NeoPharm in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute.
The SNP Consortium Ltd., of Chicago, said it released into the public domain about 60,000 newly identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The total number of SNPs the consortium has contributed is now 102,719 - more than twice what had been projected for the first year of the two-year program.
¿ Neose Technologies Inc., of Horsham, Pa., said it agreed to provide additional proprietary process development services under its collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York. Neose received new purchase orders from Bristol-Myers in the amount of $3.7 million to cover the additional services. The two companies are collaborating to develop a commercial GMP manufacturing process for the ganglioside components in two therapeutic cancer vaccines: GMK, in Phase III trials for malignant melanoma; and MGV, which is being developed to treat a variety of cancer indications. The vaccines are licensed to Bristol-Myers from Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Keystone, Colo.