¿ Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., said the National Cancer Institute began a pilot trial of Thalomid in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. The drug will be used with platinum-based chemotherapeutics in 10 patients. If successful, the program will move directly into Phase III trials.

¿ CuraGen Corp., of New Haven, Conn., and F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, entered a two-year agreement aimed at target discovery and pharmacogenomics. They will evaluate existing drug candidates, discover new targets and facilitate development of drugs and diagnostics for human and animal health. CuraGen will get undisclosed up-front funding and, potentially, milestones and royalties.

¿ Aclara BioSciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif., said Burrill Agbio Capital Fund invested $3 million in the company, bringing its recent private placement proceeds to $18 million. (See BioWorld Today, March 8, 1999, p. 1.)

¿ Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., reported that further analysis of data from an Israeli study of Multikine in head and neck cancer patients revealed an even higher success rate than initially announced. The new results revealed that all 10 patients using only the Multikine regimen had reductions in tumor size; previously it was reported that only seven patients had responded. In addition, one patient had a complete tumor disappearance and three had tumor reductions greater than 50 percent. Multikine is a natural mixture of human immune system regulators called cytokines.

¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., and Gen-Probe Inc., of San Diego, entered into an agreement with America¿s Blood Centers to evaluate a new blood screening system that may enhance the safety of the blood supply. The new system uses Transcription Mediated Amplification, a state-of-the-art technology for nucleic acid testing which was developed by Gen-Probe and marketed by Chiron. America¿s Blood Centers is a national network of nonprofit, independent community blood centers that provides 47 percent of the U.S. blood supply.

¿ CombiChem Inc., of San Diego, reported on a new technique for 3-dimensional shape prediction, known as Conan (Conformational Analysis). The new technique permits rapid, accurate determination of the low-energy shapes of molecules so that researchers can rapidly create a comprehensive set of 3-D models representing potential shapes of a molecule, based only on its connection table, which contains no 3-D information. CombiChem reported the information at the 217th American Chemical Society meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

¿ Connetics Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., launched Luxiq (betamethasone valerate) Foam at the 57th annual American Academy of Dermatology conference in New Orleans. Luxiq is a stabilized foam formulation of betamethasone valerate, a mid-potency corticosteroid that treats corticosteroid-responsive scalp dermatoses.

¿ DuPont Pharmaceuticals, of Wilmington, Del., reported that its once-daily non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, Sustiva (efavirenz), reduced viral load to below quantifiable levels in all patients observed when taken in combination with stavudine (Zerit, d4T) and lamivudine (Epivir, 3TC). A second study showed that Sustiva, as part of combination drug therapy, suppressed HIV to below quantifiable levels in the female genital trace and cerebrospinal fluid. The data were presented at the 9th European Conference of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

¿ InKine Pharmaceutical Co., of Blue Bell, Pa., completed enrollment of about 400 patients in the second of two multicenter Phase II trials of Diacol, which is being developed as a purgative agent in tablet form for adult patients undergoing colonoscopic evaluation. The trials compare Diacol tablets to a leading ethical liquid purgative product.

¿ Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, received approval from Danish health authorities for Norditropin SimpleXx (somatropin [rDNA origin] for injection), the company¿s liquid growth-hormone preparation. It was the first approval for Norditropin SimpleXx.

¿ Orchid Biocomputer Inc., of Princeton, N.J., entered into a collaboration with Beckman Coulter Inc., of Fullerton, Calif., to develop high-throughput technology for conducting massive single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping. The new automated assay platform will become the core of Orchid¿s SNP stream system, which is expected to be launched in the third quarter and be able to genotype up to 30,000 SNPs per day.

¿ Partners HealthCare System Inc., of Boston, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., formed a five-year research partnership to improve patient care through the development of new products and techniques. The alliance combines Partners¿ medical and research expertise with Millennium¿s genomics-based drug and diagnostics discovery and development expertise and integrated science and technology platform. Partners, an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School, is a private, not-for-profit biomedical research enterprise.

¿ Pharmacyclics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., reported interim results of its Phase I dose-escalation study with Antrin photoangioplasty (Antrin PA) for patients with atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease. In the 16 patients treated, 12 of 14 patients receiving follow-up Ivus (intravascular ultrasound) responded to treatment, which was defined as an increase of greater than 10 percent in the blood vessel opening or minimal luminal diameter.

¿ Pharming Group N.V., of Leiden, the Netherlands, reported that the FDA granted orphan status to its product, recombinant human C1 Esterase inhibitor, in both prophylaxis and acute treatment of hereditary and acquired angioedema. The company expects to start human testing later this year.

¿ Viragen Inc., of Plantation, Fla., said it completed an agreement that will provide up to $9 million financing to the company. Viragen already received $1.5 million and is expected to get another $500,000 within 30 days. Viragen will issue a series of 8 percent redeemable notes related to the first part of the financing.