¿ Ilex Oncology Services Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, and British Biotech plc, of Oxford, England, signed an agreement under which Ilex acquired the operations of British Biotech¿s Annapolis, Md., office. Ilex will provide contracted drug development services to complete the clinical development of marimastat for British Biotech in North America. The compound is being investigated in seven Phase III studies to slow the progression of solid tumors and improve patient survival.
¿ Immunomedics Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said researchers presented the use of a novel method to genetically engineer cancer patients¿ T lymphocytes as cancer-killing immune cells, at the International Conference on Advances in Cancer Immunotherapy. The work, a collaboration between Harvard Medical School faculty and Immunomedics, involved the insertion of a gene controlling the antigen-binding region of Immunomedics¿ humanized antibody against carcinoembryonic antigen into T lymphocytes of colorectal cancer patients. The company is now conducting a Phase I trial in cancer patients.
¿ Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it will acquire the outstanding shares of its Millennium Predictive Medicine Inc. (MPMx) subsidiary, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. The transaction will be a stock-for-stock exchange based on a fixed ratio. This move will more closely align Millennium¿s therapeutic and predictive medicine discovery and development efforts. MPMx shareholders will receive one share of newly issued Millennium common stock in exchange for five MPMx shares subject to adjustment for the company¿s recent 2-for-1 stock split. Additional terms were not disclosed.
¿ PathoGenesis Corp., of Seattle, and privately held AeroGen Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., agreed to collaborate on the development and registration of a product combining PathoGenesis¿ drug TOBI (tobramycin solution for inhalation) and AeroGen¿s hand-held, portable AeroDose Inhaler. The companies want to reduce TOBI¿s delivery time to five to 10 minutes or less. PathoGenesis will reimburse AeroGen for costs incurred in developing the AeroDose Inhaler and will obtain worldwide exclusive distribution rights to the product. AeroGen will receive royalties on product sales. Under a separate agreement, PathoGenesis will invest $2.5 million in convertible preferred stock of AeroGen.
¿ Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Taos, N.M., discovered the structure and function of CCR5, a human receptor protein that plays a critical role in HIV fusion and infection. The company¿s scientists and collaborators identified specific naturally occurring chemical modifications to CCR5 that govern its binding to HIV. Using synthetic CCR5 peptides incorporating these modifications, the researchers were able to potently block the binding of HIV to CCR5 on the cell surface.
¿ SuperGen Inc., of San Ramon, Calif., said data from a Phase I study using the company¿s anticancer compound decitabine showed the median probability of survival for patients who received two or more treatments of the drug was greater than 15 months, longer than what would be expected in patients treated with the current chemotherapeutic treatment.
¿ Vion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., completed a Phase I single-dose study of Triapine, a potent ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor that blocks a critical step in the synthesis of DNA, thereby preventing the replication of tumor cells. At the highest dose level administered, there were no clinically significant toxicities, the company said, and peak serum levels of Triapine exceeded the concentrations required to show activity against tumor cells.