o Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., will commercialize branded GeneChip probe arrays based on human genome sequences from Human Genome Sciences Inc. (HGSI), of Rockville, Md. Under the agreement, Affymetrix will have the right to sell expression monitoring DNA probe arrays based on the HGSI database to HGSI and its database consortium members. If certain commercialization goals are fulfilled, the agreement can be extended by Affymetrix to provide all future HGSI database subscribers with GeneChip probe arrays for expression analysis after 2001. Financial terms were not disclosed.
o Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., completed a $5 million private placement of 5,000 shares of Series C convertible preferred stock to a group of institutional investors. Proceeds will be used to fund the company's drug development activities, including preclinical studies, as well as for working capital.
o American Biogenetic Sciences Inc., of Copiague, N.Y., reported that its drug candidate may offer help in the treatment of learning and memory deficits associated with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. In preclinical tests, ABS-205 demonstrated an effective pharmacological approach to treating these cognitive deficits, as well as promoting the survival of brain cell connections normally lost with advancing age. ABS-205 is a small organic molecule with neurotrophic-like properties similar to those of nerve growth factor, which is known to play a key role in prompting new nerve growth.
o Maxim Pharmaceuticals, of San Diego, will present data relating to the protective and enhancing effect of its lead drug, Maxamine on T-cells at the Chemotherapy Foundation's annual symposium. Maxamine has been shown to clearly and effectively prevent the production and release of phagocyte-derived free radicals, thereby protecting and enhancing the immune-stimulating capabilities of certain immunotherapies. Maxamine therapy is in three Phase III studies in advanced malignant melanoma and acute myelogenous leukemia.
o Idun Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., said its IDN-1965 compound reduced apoptosis by 63 percent in experiments designed to evaluate its effectiveness in liver transplants. Data were presented at a meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, in Chicago.
o Imutec Pharma Inc., of Toronto, reported additional preclinical data on Virulizin, its lead anticancer product. In studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Virulizin inhibited tumor growth as did Gemzar, the standard for first-line treatment of pancreatic cancer. In addition, Virulizin showed a statistically significant additive anti-tumor activity when combined with Gemzar. No adverse effects were observed.
o IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., started a Phase II trial of Protegrin IB-367, a potential new treatment for oral mucositis, a debilitating ulcerative condition resulting from tissue damage caused by cancer therapies and invasion of that tissue by microorganisms. The study's goal is to determine whether Protegrin IB-367 can reduce the incidence, severity and duration of oral mucositis in patients treated with ablative doses of chemotherapy.
o NeoTherapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., reported that AIT-082 (Neotrofin, leteprinim potassium) might open a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of brain injury and stroke. At the 28th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Los Angeles, scientists described the ability of AIT-082 to reduce or prevent brain damage due to neuroexcitotoxins. This type of damage contributes to the long-lasting disabling effects of stroke as well as spinal cord and brain injuries.
o Oxigene, of Boston, has started treating the first patients in a U.S. Phase I trial of Combretastatin A-4 Prodrug for the treatment of solid tumors. It also will start a second Phase I study later this year in the U.S., and another in the U.K. The trials will evaluate three different dosing regimes, as well as the safety, pharmacokinetics, reduction of tumor blood flow and maximum tolerated dose of Combretastatin in humans. Combretastatin may be the first in a new class of drugs known as a tumor vascular targeting agents, which selectively target and destroy cancer-specific blood vessels.
o SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., reported animal data showing high doses of its lead product, the immune system enhancer Zadaxin thymosin alpha 1, decreased melanoma tumor growth rates and improved median survival time when administered in combination with cyclophosphamide chemotherapy and low dose interferon. The study was published in the October 1998 issue of Anticancer Research.
o Sepracor Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., reported that oxybutynin significantly reduced urinary frequency and urinary incontinence in a dose-dependent manner in Phase II trials involving 189 patients with urge urinary incontinence. The drug produced dose-dependent reductions in urinary frequency of 1.9 to 2.8 episodes per day.