¿ Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. entered into an agreement to develop a number of orphan G protein-coupled receptors as drug screening targets, using Arena's constituitively activated receptor technology (CART). The collaboration initially will focus on central nervous system endocrinology and cardiovascular targets. There is an option to increase the number of targets and expand into other therapeutic classes. The CART technology allows for ligand-independent discovery of drug candidates at human GPCRs.
¿ Artemis Pharmaceuticals GmbH, of Cologne, Germany, started a program to carry out the largest vertebrate genetic screening project in the world using the zebrafish as a model for human biology to discover and evaluate gene function in vivo. The year-long program, called the Tuebingen 2000 Screen, is a collaboration involving Artemis and the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, of Tuebingen, Germany, as well as scientists from several other leading institutes and universities around the world.
¿ Biovector Therapeutics SA, of Toulouse, France, and BioQuest Inc., of Houston, signed an agreement calling for them to cooperate in the evaluation and development of an HIV vaccine candidate. In addition, there is a subsequent goal of examining its use as a protective vaccine. Biovector will make royalty payments to BioQuest on eventual product sales, as well as milestone payments.
¿ Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, withdrew its follow-on offering due to market conditions. The company wanted to raise about $88 million by selling 3 million shares of stock. At the time of the registration statement's filing, the company's stock was at $29.75. Cell Therapeutics' stock (NASDAQ:CTIC) closed Monday at $14.562, down 25 cents. (See BioWorld Today, March 28, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ Cellegy Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, entered into an agreement with Quay Pharmaceuticals, an Australian company, to acquire all of Quay's assets for a combination of Cellegy stock and cash. Quay has one marketed product in Australia, Retogesic (nitroglycerin ointment), for the treatment of anal fissures. Cellegy has Anogesic for anal fissures in Phase III trials, and expects to file a new drug application next year. Further financial details were not released.
¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., granted a non-exclusive license under its hepatitis C virus patent portfolio to London-based Glaxo Welcome plc. The license allows for the research, development and commercialization of small-molecule therapeutics against the disease. It also allows Glaxo to practice under Chiron's patents with respect to screening hepatitis C drug candidates, including inhibitors of HCV protease and other polypeptide and polynucleotide targets contained in the HCV genomes.
¿ Coley Pharmaceutical Group Inc., of Wellesley, Mass., started the first of three Phase I/II trials of CpG DNA-based immune stimulants for the treatment of cancer. The study will evaluate the safety and immune activation of cytosine-quanine dinucleotide DNA-based products in patients with relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Two additional Phase I/II trials in cancer will start this quarter in Europe. CpG DNA is a broadly enabling family of molecules for naturally activating the human immune system to fight disease.
¿ Corixa Corp., of Seattle, received a $1 million milestone payment under its agreement with Organon, of Oss, the Netherlands, to develop and market Corixa's AnergiX.RA complex for the treatment of arthritis. Corixa received the milestone following the completion of a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation Phase I/II trial. Final results of the trial are expected by the end of the second quarter. AnergiX.RA complexes consist of solubilized class II major histocompatibility complex molecules loaded with disease-specific auto-antigenic peptides.
¿ Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., postponed its follow-on offering and instead will file with the SEC to convert the registration statement into a shelf registration in order to help the company's ability to move forward more quickly once market conditions improve. Cytogen had intended to sell 6 million shares which, based on the assumed price of $9.109, would have netted the company about $50.9 million. Cytogen's stock (NASDAQ:CYTO) closed Monday at $4.906, down 34.3 cents. (See BioWorld Today, March 30, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ CytRx Corp., of Atlanta, presented data from four studies of Flocor (purified poloxamer 188) in sickle cell disease conditions. The presentations were made at the 24th annual meeting of the National Sickle Cell Disease program in Philadelphia. The company said Flocor suppressed development of acute chest syndrome (ACS), a life-threatening complication of the disease, and significantly reduced mortality. Survival in mice treated with Flocor was 80 percent compared to less than 20 percent for control animals. The company also presented data on its Phase III study, which failed to show a statistically significant decrease in the length of crisis for the population as a whole, the primary objective. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 22, 1999, p. 1.)
¿ Diacrin Inc., of Charlestown, Mass., put on hold its Phase I trial using porcine fetal neural cells in stroke patients until it investigates the cause of two adverse events. Diacrin, which did not disclose the nature of those adverse events, is working with the FDA to evaluate the events. Diacrin will not restart the Phase I study without the FDA's agreement.
¿ Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, will evaluate the Nanocrystal technology of Quantum Dot Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., for use in its biological research assays. Genentech will receive a variety of types and colors of nanocrystals and nanocrystal conjugates for multiplexed detection. Genentech will explore the use of these products as a tool in an array of cellular and molecular assays. Financial terms were not revealed.
¿ Idec Pharmaceuticals Corp., of San Diego, signed patent and technology license agreements with the National Cancer Institute and the University of Iowa Research Foundation, strengthening the company's oncology pipeline by developing new investigational immunotherapies for prostate cancer. Idec has been granted an exclusive worldwide license for the use of PAGE-4 plasmid DNA and PAGE-4 protein for the development and commercialization of a therapeutic vaccine to treat prostate cancer.
¿ Idun Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., received exclusive rights from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas to the Apaf-1 gene, which is known to be essential to the start of cell death. Terms were not disclosed.
Progen Industries Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, said that PI-88, its carbohydrate-based angiogenesis inhibitor, was shown to retard cancer growth in very aggressive rat tumor models that mimic the clinical condition. It also was reported that the antitumor activity could be made more effective by combination with standard chemotherapy treatment.
¿ QLT PhotoTherapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and CIBA Vision Corp., of Atlanta, have broadened their partnership to actively develop other compounds used either alone or in combination with photodynamic therapy agents to treat diseases characterized by neovascularization, a growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye. Research and development activities will be conducted and jointly managed, with both companies splitting the costs. In addition, both will share in sales revenues from resulting products, but CIBA Vision will retain the main responsibility for the sales and marketing of any commercialized compounds. Last week, the FDA approved Visudyne, the companies' light-activated therapy for wet age-related macular degeneration. (See BioWorld Today, April 14, 2000, p. 1.)