Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., and Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., signed an agreement to market and further develop Gabitril (tiagabine hydrochloride), one of Abbott's anti-epileptic drugs, in the U.S. The companies will promote Gabitril primarily to neurologists, as well as conduct clinical research with the drug in epilepsy and other potential therapeutic areas. Terms were not disclosed.

Aviron, of Mountain View, Calif., completed a bridging study on FluMist, its intranasal influenza vaccine. The preliminary analysis indicates the results appear to meet the company's objective, which was to show that the lot of FluMist blended and filled at its PCI facility in Philadelphia had similar immunogenicity for all three 1997-98 influenza strains to the lot of vaccine blended and filled at its facility near Liverpool, U.K. The data will be included in its licensing application, which should be filed later this year.

Biosense Webster, of Diamond Bar, Calif., signed an agreement with Vascular Genetics Inc., of Durham, N.C., for use of a Biosense Webster guided delivery catheter with a VGI gene therapy product to treat cardiovascular disease by angiogenesis. Biosense will work with VGI to start trials using vascular endothelial growth factor-2 with a proprietary Biosense intracardiac injection catheter and NOGA Cardiac Navigation System. Biosense is a Johnson & Johnson company.

Diatide Inc., of Londonderry, N.H., reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entered a judgment in the company's favor in a dispute with Palatin Technologies Inc., of Princeton, N.J., acknowledging Diatide's ownership of the disputed invention, a peptide containing a specific chelator for linking the peptide to technetium-99m. Palatin said the ruling would not have any adverse effect on its ability to commercialize its announced products or technologies.

Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, signed functional genomics research agreements with several academic institutions for the engineering of custom knockout mice. The institutions will specify their genes of interest and Lexicon will generate knockout mice. Financial terms were not released.

LXR Biotechnology Inc., of Richmond, Calif., formed a small development organization that will focus on the preclinical and clinical development of its late-stage projects and eliminate other projects. As part of its strategy to decrease overhead, LXR will auction its research laboratory equipment and relocate to smaller office space. Staff reductions already have taken place. (See BioWorld Today, April 26, 1999, p. 1.)

NeoRx Corp.'s Pretarget technology permitted the safe administration of higher radiation doses to lymphoma patients that conventional radioimmunotherapy, and patients receiving these doses experienced substantial tumor regressions including complete responses in some cases, according to a presentation at the Society of Nuclear Medicine in Los Angeles. The maximum tolerated dose had not yet been reached. The Seattle company's Pretarget technology involves first injecting a tumor-directed antibody carrying a receptor to the tumor, followed by a clearing step to remove the receptor from circulation.

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, reported Phase I/II data of IL-4 Fusion Toxin (NBI-3001) in patients with glioblastoma (malignant brain tumors) at the 50th annual meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery in Munich. Although the study was designed to measure drug safety, the patient MRI scans demonstrated dramatic changes, suggestive of tumor necrosis in major portions of the tumors, the company said.

Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, obtained exclusive rights to a seminal patent for the manufacture of adeno-associated viral vectors from Alkermes Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Targeted Genetics will issue 500,000 shares of common stock as payment for an up-front license fee to Alkermes for the exclusive rights to the issued patent and related pending patent applications. Targeted Genetics also will issue Alkermes warrants to purchase up to 2 million shares of common stock at substantial premiums to the current market price for up to 10 years, and make milestone payments and royalties on products.