¿ Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., said it plans to appeal a UK court ruling declaring that the 1999 purchase by Affymetrix of Fullerton, Calif.-based Beckman Coulter Inc.'s (BCI) array business was not sufficient to transfer BCI's license to certain patents now held by Oxford Gene Technology Ltd. (OGT), of Oxford, England. Affymetrix said the decision will have no immediate impact on its business operations. OGT brought claims of patent infringement against Affymetrix questioning whether the U.S. company was licensed under OGT intellectual property, including its DNA microarray patents in Europe and the U.S., No.'s EP 373 203 and US 5,700,637. The court held that Affymetrix is not licensed because BCI's microarray research program did not amount to a business and was not capable of transferring the license. OGT is taking parallel infringement proceedings against Affymetrix in the federal court in Delaware, which is due to be heard this October.
¿ Boston Life Sciences Inc., of Boston, initiated its Phase II trial using Altropane to diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The multicenter trial is scheduled to enroll 20 adult subjects and 20 adult normal volunteers and will be performed in four academic medical centers in the U.S. The company hopes to complete the trial during the third quarter.
¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., intends to exchange existing 1.9 percent convertible subordinated notes due Nov. 17, 2000, for new notes, which will come due in May 2000. The company has filed a registration statement for $243.8 million of new convertible notes. At least 75 percent of current note holders must exchange their notes in order for the offer to be valid. The conversion premium and the coupon rate associated with the new notes will be set when the exchange offer commences. Goldman, Sachs & Co., of New York, will act as the dealer manager, Boston-based State Street Bank and Trust Co. of California NA will act as exchange agent, and Georgeson Shareholder Communications Inc., of New York, will act as the information agent. Chiron will not receive proceeds from the exchange, as the offer is intended to preserve existing debt/equity rations, extend the maturity of a comparable amount of indebtedness and increase the conversion price, thereby decreasing the amount of equity issuable upon conversion. In addition to the new notes, current note holders will receive a cash payment equal to the difference between the value of existing notes and the exchanged notes.
¿ Ivax Corp., of Miami, said a federal judge presiding over the pending Taxol (paclitaxel) related patent litigation between Ivax and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, found in favor of Ivax, invalidating key claims of the Taxol related patents being asserted by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Bristol-Myers Squibb later said the court granted the company's request for an immediate appellate review. In order to pursue an immediate appeal, the company said it will relinquish its rights in the remaining claims of the patents at issue in the lawsuit, which are limited to the treatment of ovarian tumors.
¿ SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., said Zadaxin increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy for metastatic malignant melanoma. An open-label Phase II study of 20 Stage III and IV metastatic melanoma patients, there was a response rate of 50 percent to the combination therapy of Zadaxin, dacarbazine and interferon. Results are published in the April issue of Melanoma Research.
Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, of Sunnyvale, Calif., signed with research institutes and a pharmaceutical company to offer the use of its microarray technology to further research into disease states and development of new medicines. The technology will be provided to Novo Nordisk AS, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, the Medical Research Council and the University of Amsterdam.
¿ Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Keystone, Colo., said two treatment strategies designed to prevent HIV from infecting healthy cells and to eliminate cells already infected showed promising results. PRO 367, an agent designed to selectively target and destroy HIV-infected cells while preserving healthy cells, binds to the HIV envelope glycoprotein gp120 that is expressed on the surface of infected cells, then delivers a lethal dose of alpha particle radiation, researchers said. And by monitoring the key steps of HIV fusion and their sensitivities to inhibitory compounds that act at various stages of the process, researchers can support the advancement of several novel classes of HIV entry inhibitors, such as PRO 542 and PRO 140.
¿ Triangle Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., said the FDA has issued a clinical hold on study FTC-302 being conducted under a U.S. investigational new drug application in South Africa. The FDA is awaiting the outcome of discussions between Triangle and the South African Medicines Control Council concerning the appropriate management of patients in the trial. The FDA told the company study FTC-302 may not provide adequate support as part of a new drug application submission, delaying the submission until at least the second half of 2001. Triangle has not said specifically what the council is concerned about, but it did confirm that five people involved in the trial have died, including two of liver toxicity. (See BioWorld Today, April 7, 2000, p. 1.)