o Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., received $9.5 million from the private sale of approximately 1.1 million shares of Abgenix Inc. common stock to Zesiger Capital Group LLC, of New York. Cell Genesys now owns approximately 30 percent of Fremont, Calif.-based Abgenix. Cell Genesys also reported the launch of a second Phase I/II prostate cancer trial of the GVAX vaccine. The 40-patient study will evaluate different dosing schedules.
o Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, began an efficacy trial of CT-2584, its drug for prostate cancer, in patients who have failed treatment with conventional chemotherapy. The drug kills cancer cells by a process associated with altering their phospholipid composition. Because of differences in lipid metabolism, tumor cells are more sensitive than normal cells to the effects of the drug.
o Diatide Inc., of Londonderry, N.H., said its marketing partner, Nycomed Amersham plc, of London, submitted a marketing approval application for Diatide's NeoTect to the European Medicines Evaluation Agency, which the agency has determined to be valid. NeoTect is an injectable medical imaging agent made up of a small-molecule, synthetic peptide and technetium-99m, a radioisotope.
o Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc., of Collegeville, Pa., have expanded their pharmacogenomics collaboration, under which Gene Logic is analyzing genes for gene therapy clinical trials sponsored by Rhone-Poulenc's RPR Gencell division. Last year, RPR entered into an agreement with Oncormed Inc., also of Gaithersburg, which was acquired by Gene Logic.
o Pentose Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to support the development of Inactine compounds for inactivation of viruses in plasma-derived intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). Inactine will be designed for use in the manufacture and purification of IVIG and other plasma derivatives.
o Structural Bioinformatics Inc., of San Diego, reported it has developed a number of small-molecule non-peptide lead molecules that are active against the erythropoietin receptor. The company plans to develop and refine the compounds while seeking corporate collaborators.
o Vical Inc., of San Diego, disclosed data from a Phase I/II clinical trial in 20 patients with Leuvectin, a potential cancer treatment, which show the drug was well-tolerated and may be effective in causing a targeted immune response against prostate cancer cells. The company also disclosed data demonstrating the first delivery in mice of a cytokine by naked DNA gene transfer to provide antitumor effects. Scientists used naked DNA technology to deliver circulating therapeutic levels of alpha interferon.