¿ Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., said a scientific study showed that animals deficient in the complement component C5 are not susceptible to the onset of active arthritis. Alexion is conducting a Phase II multicenter efficacy trial in rheumatoid arthritis patients with its humanized monoclonal antibody C5 inhibitor, 5G1.1. The study is published in the recent issue of the Journal of Immunology.
¿ Alza Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., and McNeil Consumer Healthcare, of Fort Washington, Pa., entered into an agreement to co-promote Concerta (methylphenidate HCI). Concerta, Alza's once-daily treatment for attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is under FDA review for marketing approval. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Astex Technology, of Cambridge, UK, signed its first research agreement with a major pharmaceutical company, Janssen Research Foundation, of Beerse, Belgium. The agreement will focus on Astex's high-throughput X-ray crystallography technology to optimize lead compounds in a Janssen drug discovery project. Janssen is a Johnson & Johnson company.
¿ Biovector Therapeutics SA, of Toulouse, France, enrolled its first patients in a Phase II trial of Lipomel, a therapeutic vaccine for treating melanoma using its proprietary drug delivery system. The study, involving 14 patients, is being conducted at the Gustave Roussy Institute in Paris.
¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., started its previously announced offer to exchange new subordinated convertible notes for its existing 1.9 percent convertible subordinated notes due Nov. 17. The new debentures will have a maturity date of May 15, 2007, a coupon rate of 4.5 percent and a conversion premium of 33 percent.
¿ Cytoclonal Pharmaceutics Inc., of Dallas, said its board of directors approved the repurchase of up to $2 million of its common stock on the open market. The company currently has $41 million in cash.
¿ Enzon Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., said Phase III results of its PEG-Intron injection treatment for hepatitis C showed that 25 percent of the patients treated once a week with 1 microgram per kilogram of PEG-Intron showed a sustained viral response as compared to 12 percent receiving Intron A three times a week. The trial also concluded that PEG-Intron was as safe as Intron A. The results were from a 48-week study, plus a 24-week follow-up period. Enzon and partner Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., filed a biologics license application earlier this year. The results will be presented at the May 1 meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 6, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Flamel Technologies SA, of Lyon, France, said its first clinical study of LABI, formerly known as Basulin, was finished on schedule. The study proved the principle of LABI as a long-acting human insulin delivery system, the company said.
¿ GenStar Therapeutics, of San Diego, began trading on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol GNT. In addition, it changed its name from UroGen to GenStar.
¿ Genzyme Molecular Oncology, of Framingham, Mass., will not proceed with its proposed sale of 3 million shares of stock due to market conditions. Genzyme Molecular had planned on raising about $73 million based on the stock's price of $24.25 at the time of the SEC registration. Genzyme Molecular's stock (NASDAQ:GZMO) closed Tuesday at $11.562, up $1.562. To meet its current financial needs, the company will swap 676,285 designated shares of its stock for $15 million from its $30 million equity line from Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass. (See BioWorld Today, March 24, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., started dosing for Phase I trials of inhaleable Avonex (interferon beta-1a), the leading drug used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Inhale and Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., the manufacturer of Avonex, are collaborating to develop the inhaleable version.
¿ Karo Bio, of Stockholm, Sweden, is starting Phase II trials in Sweden on patients suffering from skin atrophy. The company has an ointment containing a substance that activates the thyroid hormone receptor.
¿ North American Vaccine Inc., of Columbia, Md. agreed with Baxter International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., to modify the share exchange agreement for the merger of the companies. If agreed upon, North American Vaccine shareholders will receive $6.73 per share, rather than $7 per share, which will consist of $6.70 of Baxter common stock and 3 cents in cash. The merger's completion date has been extended to June 30.
¿ Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., achieved another milestone in connection with its $40 million collaboration with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany. The companies are working to search for novel screening targets that may lead to the development of new herbicides. Two milestones were achieved in February when Paradigm delivered the first assay under the agreement and delivered release 1.1 of a customized FunctionFinder bioinformatics system.
¿ Pharsight Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., filed to raise $75 million through an initial public offering. Pharsight develops and markets integrated products and services that help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies improve the drug development process. Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette; Chase H&Q; and Wit Soundview, all of New York, will manage the offering.
¿ The National Center for Genome Resources, of Santa Fe, N.M., and the Samuel Roberts Nobel Foundation, of Ardmore, Okla., released new expressed sequence tag (EST) data from a collaboration studying Medicago truncatula, a model legume used in genetic studies. The organizations released 14,624 expressed gene sequences, which is almost double the amount of publicly available M. truncatula EST data.