* Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, and Magellan Laboratories Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., signed a non-binding letter of intent to enter into a definitive agreement for the purchase by Magellan of Amylin's Cabrillo Laboratories division. Upon completion, Cabrillo Laboratories, as a division of Magellan, would continue to provide product-development services to Amylin and other companies. The agreement calls for a cash payment of $2 million to Amylin and a $500,000 credit for future services to be provided by Magellan to Amylin.
* Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., and Thomas Jefferson University, of Philadelphia, were cleared by the FDA to start a second prostate cancer study. The study, expected to start this quarter, will test Multikine, an immune-boosting product by Cel-Sci, in escalating doses as a pretreatment to prostatectomy in up to 20 previously untreated, advanced prostate cancer patients. Multikine is a natural mixture of human immune system regulators called cytokines.
* Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, filed another lawsuit against Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., alleging infringement of U.S. patent No. 5,869,314, which relates to variant forms of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). Last year, Genentech brought suit against Centocor in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging infringement of two related patents. The case is still pending.
* Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, submitted a marketing authorization application in Europe for Panretin gel (alitretinoin) for the treatment of cutaneous lesions of patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma. If approved, Panretin gel will be the first topical therapy in Europe for KS. The drug was approved in the U.S. last week.
* Palatin Technologies Inc., of Princeton, N.J., closed a $3.8 million private placement of common stock and warrants. The company will use the money to help finance the completion of Phase III trials and its FDA application for the equivocal appendicitis indication of LeuTech.
* Protein Sciences Corp., of Meriden, Conn., and The Texas A&M University System, of College Station, Texas, will combine their intellectual property positions regarding the baculovirus expression vector system (BEVS). Protein Sciences will be authorized to sublicense the combined BEVS technology. BEVS has advantages over other protein-production systems, including E. coli, yeast and mammalian cells, in versatility, speed, purity and yields, the company said.
* VaxGen Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., reported that Thailand's Ministry of Public Heath has approved the start of a large-scale clinical trial of AIDSVAX B/E preventive vaccine against the HIV strains that cause AIDS in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The Phase III trial in Bangkok will start this month with 2,500 HIV-negative volunteers who are at high-risk of contracting HIV infection because of drug use. Currently there is a similar trial in North America with 5,000 HIV-negative volunteers who are at risk for sexual transmission of HIV.
* Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., restructured its investment in its Cambridge, Mass.-based Altus Biologics Inc. subsidiary. Vertex will provide Altus $3 million in cash in exchange for preferred stock and warrants. The preferred stock will provide Vertex with a minority ownership in Altus. As a result of the transaction, Altus will operate independently from Vertex.