* Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., began a Phase I clinical study of AP1903, a small-molecule drug for use in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease in patients undergoing allogeneic bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. AP1903 will be used as a component of the Argent GvHD product, which lets physicians control genetically modified cells used in gene and cell therapy.
* Digene Corp., of Beltsville, Md., obtained a worldwide license from McGill University, of Montreal, and the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, of Trieste, Italy, for commercialization of the p53arg gene, a new genetic marker for cervical cancer risk. Digene paid McGill an up-front fee and may make milestone payments as well as royalties on product sales.
* Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, said it is making a major investment in R.E.D. Laboratories, a private biotechnology firm in Belgium, investing alongside about five European-based institutions, including venture capitalists, in a private equity placement. R.E.D. is working on the diagnosis and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome and allied diseases. Hemispherx is developing drugs in the nucleic acid class for chronic viral diseases and disorders of the immune system, including chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.