* Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla Calif., reported potent in vitro antiviral activity against both wild-type and resistant HIV strains for two investigational compounds being developed. The two compounds are AG1549, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor in Phase I/II trials; and AG1776, a potent inhibitor of HIV-1 protease. The results will be presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Chicago.
* Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, was notified by NASDAQ that its common stock listing will be moved to the SmallCap Market.
* Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., started a pulmonary controlled-release research program based on its dry-powder technology platform. The goal is to enable controlled delivery of drugs for several hours or up to a few days for both small and macromolecules used for treating pulmonary and systemic diseases. Pfizer Inc., of New York, is funding the research.
* Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, purchased the assets of Marathon Biopharmaceutics LLC, of Hopkinton, Mass., for $5 million in Ligand common stock. The agreement provides for another $3 million to be paid by Ligand for the assets six months after final marketing approval of Ontak by the FDA. Ontak is an interleukin-2 fusion protein for the treatment of patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) whose malignant cells express the CD25 component of the IL-2 receptor and whose CTCL is persistent or recurrent. Ontak is under development by Seragen Inc., of Hopkinton, Mass.
* Nexell Therapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., completed its acquisition of essentially all of CellPro Inc.'s research intellectual property, patents, antibodies and related cell banks and licensed rights, for $3 million in Vimrx securities. Nexell is a subsidiary of Vimrx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wilmington, Del. CellPro was headquartered in Bothell, Wash. With the diagnostic assets and products acquired from CellPro, Nexell will launch a new diagnostic division to develop technologies to help oncologists and pathologists more accurately detect and measure low numbers of residual tumor cells. CellPro went bankrupt after losing a patent dispute with Nexell. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 30, 1998, p. 1.)
* North American Vaccine, of Columbia, Md., reported that German regulatory authorities have approved its DtaP-IPV vaccine, a combined diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis and inactivated injectable polio vaccine.
* Rigel Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., entered into research collaboration with New York-based Pfizer Inc., to identify new drug targets that control the body's allergic response using Rigel's advanced functional genomics technology. The collaboration will focus on targets that can be regulated by small-molecule drugs. Pfizer will provide research funding for a minimum of two years, as well as cash and equity up-front payments and research milestones. Rigel will also receive royalty payments relating to the development and commercialization of any human or animal therapeutics. Pfizer will have worldwide rights to develop and market human and veterinary drugs against the targets, which prevent B cells from producing immunoglobulin E, a key mediator in allergic reactions and asthma.