* Diatide Inc., of Londonderry, N.H., sold $6 million of preferred stock to two unnamed investors in a private transaction. The preferred stock is convertible at $7.27 per share into 825,795 shares of Diatide common stock. Investors also received warrants to purchase 123,795 shares at $8.72 per share, expiring Jan. 19, 2001.
* Endovasc Ltd. Inc., of Montgomery, Texas, secured $500,000 in financing, which it expects will enable the company to present its documentation and submission to the FDA for Lipostin clinical trials for critical limb ischemia. The product is a liposomal formulation of prostaglandin E-1.
* Ergo Science Corp., of Boston, further reduced its work force by 50 percent. The company decided to cut funding of all preclinical development programs. In addition, Ronald Abrahams, chairman, president and CEO, will leave those positions effective March 31. The company already cut about half its staff last month following a non-approvable letter sent by the FDA on Ergoset tablets for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 17, 1998, p. 1.)
* Genta Inc., of San Diego, will start a Phase II study of its lead development compound, G3139, at the Royal Marsden Hospital in collaboration with the Institute of Cancer Research, both in London. The objective is to examine the safety and efficacy of G3139 in combination with conventional chemotherapy in the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients who are resistant to initial chemotherapy programs. G3139, an antisense oligonucleotide, targets the bcl-2 gene, which is overexpressed in a significant percentage of B-cell lymphomas.
* Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass., will collaborate with a research group at the Toronto Hospital to develop and commercialize cell-based therapies to treat cardiovascular disease. The group will focus on developing a treatment in which a patient's own cardiac muscle cells - cardiomyocytes - are used to replace damaged heart tissue. The treatment will involve the transplantation of cultured autologous cardiomyocytes into the scar tissue that replaces heart muscle following a heart attack.
* The Hughes Institute, of Roseville, Minn., licensed from Rutgers State University, of New Brunswick, N.J., exclusive worldwide rights to mutants of pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP). Under the agreement, new antiviral drugs made by Rutgers scientists will be further developed at the Hughes Institute. Both will collaborate in the continued development and clinical evaluation of new PAP mutants for anticancer and antiviral therapies.
* The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., received a $5 million payment from Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., related to their development of Remune therapy for HIV. The payment, the second of six quarterly payments due, consists of $3 million for research and development and $2 million to purchase 150,000 shares of stock. Agouron's total investment in the program has now reached $22 million.
* Integra LifeSciences Corp., of Plainsboro, N.J., extended its supply and development agreement with Genetics Institute Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Integra supplies GI with absorbable collagen sponges for use in developing bone regeneration implants. Under the agreement, Integra will supply for the next five years the sponges for GI's recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 for bone repair and augmentation.
* IntraBiotics Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., began a Phase I trial of Protegrin IB-367 Aerosol, an antibiotic treatment for respiratory infections. The goal is to determine whether the liquid formulation can be delivered safely via a nebulizer to the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.
* NeoRx Corp., of Keystone, Colo., reported a new drug development program involving small molecule compounds that inhibit chemokine function by binding to their receptors. Animal studies have demonstrated a near-complete inhibition of the normal dermal inflammatory response to a pro-inflammatory compound with a single dose of the drug.
* Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., signed a multi-year, multi-target research collaboration with Pharmacia and Upjohn Inc., of Bridgewater, N.J. Pharmacopeia will get guaranteed annual funding, as well as other payments based of the success of the program, which involves Pharmacopeia screening its compound libraries for targets chosen by the partner. Terms were not disclosed.
* Tropix, of Bedford, Mass., and Ontogeny Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., started a drug-screening partnership expected to further Ontogeny's ability to identify the pathways critical to osteoarthritis, diabetes and cancer.
* Unigene Laboratories Inc., of Fairfield, N.J., received approval to market its injectable calcitonin product, Forcalcitonin, in all 15 member-states of the European Union. The product is approved in Europe for Paget's disease and hypercalcemia. Unigene plans a supplementary submission later this quarter, seeking approval for treating osteoporosis.
* Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., started Phase II trials of VX-497, an investigational IMPDH (inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase) inhibitor, in patients with severe, chronic plaque-type psoriasis. Up to 60 patients will participate at up to eight centers in the U.S.
* Warner-Lambert Co., of Morris Plains, N.J., reported the FDA will review Rezulin (troglitazone), its oral therapy for Type 2 diabetes, at the March 26 meeting of the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee will review Rezulin's post-marketing safety and efficacy data and well as the company's supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for combination therapy with both metformin and metformin with sulfonylureas. The sNDA was submitted Nov. 18.