o Digene Corp., of Beltsville, Md., entered into a strategic development agreement with MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., to develop DNA and mRNA expression tests for human papillomavirus (HPV) based on Digene's Hybid Capture II technology. If successful, the new tests could be used by MedImmune for preclinical and clinical evaluations as part of its collaboration with SmithKline Beecham plc, of London. Digene will develop specific mRNA HPV tests using its ultrasensitive, quantitative Expression Analysis System (EAS) based on Hybrid Capture II technology. The new mRNA EAS test is expected to monitor disease progression and viral activity of specific HPV types.
o Genta Inc., of San Diego, started a Phase I/IIa metastatic prostate cancer study of G3139 in combination with the chemotherapeutic agent mitoxantrone. In preclinical studies, G3139 silenced bcl-2 gene expression, which is an important mediator of hormone refractory disease. G3139 is a synthetic DNA-like molecule that binds specifically to a small segment of the messenger RNA that produces the harmful bcl-2 protein.
o Matrix Pharmaceutical Inc., of Fremont, Calif., presented data from an open-label Phase III trial of IntraDose Injectable Gel at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XVI, in New York. A gel formulation of cisplatin, IntraDose achieved a 47 percent response rate in breast cancer patients' most troublesome tumors, and a 44 percent response rate in melanoma patients most troublesome. The results were from 55 patients, 30 with advanced breast cancer and 25 with malignant melanoma.
o Novopharm Biotech of Toronto, completed patient enrollment for a Phase I study of NOVOMAb-G2 scFv, a recombinant human antibody. The study involves intravenous administration of a radiolabeled version of the antibody to patients with recurrent B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Five patients were enrolled.
o RPR Gencell, of Collegeville, Pa., entered into a collaborative research and development agreement with Supratek Pharma Inc., of Montreal, for the study of Supratek's customized gene delivery system for certain RPR cardiovascular projects. RPR has the option to negotiate for an exclusive license to the results of the project. RPR Gencell is the gene therapy division of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, of Cedex, France.