o Telik Inc. and COR Therapeutics Inc., both of South San Francisco, entered into a collaboration to identify compounds that could lead to therapeutic breakthroughs for up to five disease targets selected by COR. COR has rights to all markets except Asia, in return for undisclosed license, milestone and royalty payments to Telik.
o Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., started dosing patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass during coronary artery bypass graft surgery in a Phase IIb trial of its lead anti-inflammatory complement inhibitor drug candidate, 5G1.1-SC. The multi-center, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study should enroll more than 50 patients. Endpoints will be the enhancement of survival and the reduction of cardiac complications and brain damage following surgery. 5G1.1-SC is a bacterially produced, humanized single-chain antibody.
o Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, filed an investigational new drug application for AC2993 (synthetic exendin-4). The company is planning a number of studies in people with Type 2 diabetes. The first will start this quarter. AC2993 is a 30-amino-acid peptide that exhibits several of the anti-diabetic actions of the mammalian hormone glucagon-like peptide-1.
o Caliper Technologies Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., and Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, entered into a collaborative research agreement to jointly discover drugs that treat diseases of the central nervous and immune systems. The companies intend to develop at least 35 novel enzyme, receptor and functional cellular-based assays derived from Neurocrine's neurogenomics program and screen them against Neurocrine's clinical library and Caliper's compound collection. Neurocrine will pay Caliper undisclosed amounts upon delivery of screening data, as well as product-development milestones and royalties.
o Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., and NV Organon, of Oss, the Netherlands, entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement that will enable Organon to develop and commercialize Cortex's Ampakine technology for the treatment of schizophrenia and explore it in the area of depression. The agreement includes an undisclosed up-front payment, research and development payments for two years, and milestone payments, plus royalties on worldwide sales.
o Cytoclonal Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Dallas, acquired exclusive rights to a novel platform methodology that enables the design of unique drugs for a wide range of diseases. The first area of emphasis will be a new class of protease inhibitors that has the potential of fighting cancer, viral infections such as HIV, and other disease groups. The technology was developed at Tel Aviv University in Israel.
o Emisphere Technologies Inc., or Hawthorne, N.Y., and Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, reported preliminary results of a Phase II oral heparin study that indicated that the oral heparin formulations were comparable to injectable heparin in the prevention of deep venous thrombosis. The study was conducted with 127 patients who had undergone hip replacement surgery.
o Medarex Inc., of Annandale, N.J., and Centeon LLC, of King of Prussia, Pa., started a Phase II study of MDX-33 to evaluate it as a potential treatment for the autoimmune disease idopathic thrombocytopenia purpura. MDX-33 has been shown to diminish the activity of monocytes, macrophages or other white blood cells that can destroy healthy platelets.
o Microcide Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., expanded its antibiotic research collaboration with Pfizer Inc., of New York, to include discovering and developing new classes of antibiotics specifically designed for animal health applications. Since March 1996, the companies have conducted antibiotic discovery research based on Microcide's Targeted Genomics technology platform in order to identify antibiotics from entirely new classes of compounds that will address the growing problem of bacterial drug resistance in human infections. In the expanded research, Microcide will apply a similar bacterial gene-based screening approach to identify compounds that could be developed to serve animal health markets.
o Paracelsian Inc., of Ithaca, N.Y. completed testing of four potential anti-cancer drug agents in cell culture systems at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. All four samples demonstrated anti-cancer activity against a human breast cancer cell line. Of the four samples, Andrographolide and two other samples were more active than the anti-cancer drug Paclitaxel in the same assay.
o Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, enrolled the first patients in an open-label study of SP-303/Provir for the treatment of diarrhea in people with AIDS. The intent of the open-label study is to provide access of the drug to patients from previous trials of SP-303 who are most in need. The company will meet this month with the FDA for a pre-new drug application meeting and plans to submit an NDA early this year.
o Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, and Sangamo BioSciences Inc., of Point Richmond, Calif., entered into a licensing agreement whereby Targeted Genetics will license its gene delivery vectors to Sangamo in return for royalties on sales of an enhanced version of Sangamo's Universal GeneTools technology platform.
o Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge Mass., and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Point Richmond, Calif., entered into an agreement to commercialize TKT's alpha-galactosidase-A enzyme replacement therapy for Fabry's disease in Japan and other Asian countries. Sumitomo paid TKT an up-front fee of $2 million, with additional payments scheduled as the product moves through development and commercialization. Last month, TKT started a U.S-based Phase II trial of alpha-gal-A in patients with Fabry's disease.