* Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., began a Phase I/II clinical trial of ABX-IL8 in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. The multicenter, multidose trial will involve about 40 patients, and follows a single-dose, dose-escalating safety trial involving 30 moderate to severe psoriasis patients. The drug is a fully human antibody generated using the company's XenoMouse technology.
* Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., completed the dosing of subjects in the first stage of a Phase I clinical trial of its anti-inflammatory C5 complement inhibitor drug candidate, 5G1.1-SC. Based on these results, the company has selected a dosing regimen for the third arm of its planned Phase IIb cardio-pulmonary bypass clinical trial. The trial allowed the evaluation of administration of the drug at doses more than three times as high as had been previously administered, and preliminary results indicate the higher doses are well tolerated.
* AlphaVax Human Vaccines Inc., of Durham, N.C., entered into a $4.6 million research partnership with International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in London. The AlphaVax research team is one of two groups chosen by IAVI to accelerate AIDS vaccine development. The other team is based in Oxford, U.K.
* Aronex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, began a Phase II study of Atragen in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Atragen is an injectable form of all-trans retinoic acid being developed for treatment of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. It also is being evaluated in a Phase II study in acute promyelocytic leukemia and in a Phase II clinical trial with progressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
* Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., acquired ViroTex Corp., of The Woodlands, Texas, to expand Atrix's drug-delivery technology base. Atrix paid $7.5 million in cash and $500,000 in Atrix common stock. Also, ViroTex shareholders may earn up to $3 million in Atrix stock based on the success of ViroTex's products. Atrix's site-selective antibiotic for periodontal disease, Atridox, was approved by the FDA in September. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 9, 1998, p. 1.)
* Cepheid Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Innogenetics NV, of Ghent, Belgium, entered into a joint research and development collaboration and supply agreement focused on the development of gene-based diagnostic systems. Separately, Innogenetics acquired 5 percent of Cepheid's shares. Cepheid uses its technology to create miniaturized instrument systems for life-science research and gene-based diagnostics.
* La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, adopted a stockholder rights plan. The company said the action was not taken in response to any specific takeover threat.