* Ergo Science Corp., of Boston, reported positive results from a clinical study designed to determine the anti-diabetic effects of Ergoset (bromocriptine mesylate) tablets in Type 2 diabetic patients on insulin. The study, conducted at the Diabetes and Glandular Disease Clinic in San Antonio, showed that Ergoset may be effective in improving glycemic control. Last November, the FDA's Division of Metabolic and Endocrine Drug Products failed to approve Ergo's new drug application for Ergoset to treat Type 2 diabetes. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 24, 1998, p. 1.)
* ExonHit Therapeutics SA, of Paris, signed an agreement with Sosei Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, as a partner and representative for its gene profiling products in Asia. Sosei will also act as an independent, nonexclusive advisor to ExonHit in negotiating commercial partnerships with Asian companies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
* IGT Pharma Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, reported that preliminary results from tests performed at the Royal Danish School of Pharmacy, of Copenhagen, showed that IGT's first series of compounds, known as IGT440101, are specifically active as blockers of the mGluR 1 receptor. This receptor has been identified as controlling the levels of excitability of brain cells, which is implicated in conditions such as stroke and epilepsy. IGT will now expand into animal testing.
* Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., expanded and extended its genomic partnership with Johnson & Johnson (J&J), of New Brunswick, N.J. In the deal, J&J will receive access to multiple Incyte databases, in exchange for annual access fees. Incyte could receive future milestone payments and royalties on sales of products developed with Incyte technology and database information. Financial terms were not disclosed. In addition, Incyte in its 1998 year-end financial statement reported its 1998 subscriptions totaled $105.6 million.
* Ixsys Inc., of San Diego, started a Phase II trial of its angiogenesis inhibitor, Vitaxin, in leiomyosarcoma patients at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The trial is expected to enroll 15 patients, all of whom have failed previous treatment regimens. Vitaxin, the CDR-grafted version of the murine monoclonal antibody LM609, specifically binds to the alpha v beta 3 integrin, and has been shown to cause apoptosis on endothelial cells at sites of neovascularization which arise in response to a growing tumor.
* Merck & Co., of West Point, Pa., reported that, in the longest study of a protease inhibitor-based combination HIV therapy yet, a regimen of Crixivan (indinavir sulfate), AZT(a) and 3TC(b) suppressed circulating HIV levels to below detection in 63 percent of the patients. The data were collected after three years.
* Zila Inc., of Phoenix, presented a report based on data from an ongoing, 12-site clinical study designed to support an oral-cancer screening claim for OraTest, the company's detection system, at the annual meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 450 patients, biopsies proved 22 lesions were cancerous or pre-cancerous. All were found with OraTest, while 12 were "negative on visual exam," using trained eyes and fingertips.