¿ Ares-Serono International SA, of Geneva, Switzerland, said long-term data show continued benefit of Rebif 22 mcg and Rebif 44 mcg administered three times weekly for four years in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The data support the benefit of early treatment and treatment with the highest tolerated dose of Rebif, an interferon beta-1a product, in order to gain maximum benefit and slow disease progression.
¿ Avanir Pharmaceuticals, of San Diego, said its stock will start trading on the American Stock Exchange on April 6 under the symbol AVN.
¿ British Biotech plc, of Oxford, England, signed an agreement with DevCo Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Guilford, UK, to develop the PAF antagonist, lexipafant, for the prophylaxis of certain serious neurological and renal complications experienced by patients undergoing cardiac surgery. DevCo receives exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and sell lexipafant to treat human disease other than in the fields of oncology and ophthalmology. British Biotech will supply technical information on lexipafant and the manufactured compound for development. DevCo will undertake all development and pay British Biotech a royalty on sales if the product is brought to market.
¿ Celera Genomics, of Rockville, Md., said its scientists, in collaboration with researchers at the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project and Baylor University, published the assembled and annotated genome of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The company estimated the sequences have an accuracy of greater than 99.99 percent. The genome is available free to researchers via Celera and GenBank, the public database.
¿ Digene Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it received clearance from the FDA to market the High-Risk Hybrid Capture II HPV Test, a DNA-based technology designed to detect the 13 key types of human papillomavirus that cause cervical cancer.
¿ Dusa Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wilmington, Mass., said it closed its private placement of 1.5 million shares at a price of $28.50 per share. Invesco Funds Group Inc., of Denver, managed the funds. The offering raised the company $42.75 million. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 25, 2000, p. 7.)
¿ Exten Industries Inc., of San Diego, said its subsidiary, Xenogenics Corp., signed a research and development agreement and a supplier agreement with MultiCell Associates Inc., of Warwick, R.I. MultiCell will supply Exten a unique engineered porcine liver cell line and optimize the interface between this hepatocyte cell line and Exten¿s proprietary Sybiol liver failure treatment device. The cell line is expected to eliminate variability in patient treatment and limit the pathogen risks associated with sourcing variation of primary hepatocytes.
¿ Gemini Holdings plc, of Cambridge, England, said it changed its name to Gemini Genomics plc. The company¿s Swedish subsidiary, Eurona Medical AB, also was renamed, to Gemini Genomics AB.
¿ HeavenlyDoor.com Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and its biotech subsidiary Procept Inc. initiated a third National Cancer Institute Phase II clinical trial of 06-Benzylguanine chemosensitizing agent in combination with the chemotherapeutic drug carmustine for the treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcoma. The study is one of several trials sponsored by NCI in various cancers, including colon cancer, glioma, melanoma and multiple myeloma.
¿ Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it will change its name to Incyte Genomics Inc. to better reflect the company¿s activities. It also said it is offering its first e-commerce genomics program, LifeSeq Gene-By-Gene, which will give researchers affordable access to the company¿s collection of gene sequence data or physical copies of genes, one at a time.
¿ Lynx Therapeutics Inc., of Hayward, Calif., said Aventis CropScience, of Lyon, France, renewed its nonexclusive access to Lynx¿s genomics discovery services, limited to the agricultural field, for an additional year. The renewal includes a fee paid to Lynx.
¿ Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, said it expanded its technology portfolio through a nonexclusive license agreement with Saint Louis University. The license covers U.S. Patent No. 5,846,710 titled ¿Method for the Detection of Genetic Diseases and Gene Sequence Variations by Single Nucleotide Primer Extension.¿ Details were not disclosed.
¿ Palatin Technologies Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said results of a clinical study involving LeuTech, the company¿s monoclonal antibody for imaging infection sites, show LeuTech to be safe and effective in diagnosing equivocal appendicitis. Results are published in this month¿s issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. The company completed Phase III trials of LeuTech last year, and a biologics license application for the product is under review by the FDA.
¿ Talaria Therapeutics Inc., of Boston, filed suit against Inex Pharmaceutical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, alleging Inex, together with the University of British Columbia, engaged in misrepresentation before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in an effort to obtain patent rights to the use of large unilamellar liposomes to treat atherosclerosis and related conditions. Talaria also named in the suit Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Esperion Therapeutics Inc., which has an exclusive license to practice the Inex technology in the U.S. The suit seeks to enjoin Inex and the university to petition the patent office to stop the issuance of a patent covering this technology. The suit alleges that Inex sought the collaboration of the man who invented the technology, then secretly patented his inventions without his knowledge.
¿ The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said recent clinical data suggest that Remune may induce HIV immunity when used as a combination therapy with other antiviral drugs or when used alone as a monotherapy. Data from multiple trials suggest that patients treated with Remune in combination with antiviral drug therapy mount strong CD4 helper T-cell immune responses against HIV. Data from a study in Thailand, in which Remune was examined as a monotherapy, showed that the number of CD4 helper T cells was significantly higher in the Remune treatment group, as opposed to the placebo group.
¿ Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., and Eurogene Ltd., of London, initiated a clinical trial of a gene medicine incorporating Eurogene¿s local collar-reservoir delivery device, a Valentis proprietary cationic lipid gene delivery system, and a gene for vascular endothelial growth factor. The therapy is designed to prevent the post-surgical development of intimal hyperplasia (smooth muscle cell proliferation) in blood vessels.
¿ ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, said PhenoSense HIV is available through the national laboratory services network of Laboratory Corp. (LabCorp) of America Holdings in Burlington, N.C. ViroLogic will perform the PhenoSense HIV assay on specimens referred by LabCorp.