* Avax Technologies Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., started its 15th U.S. site for the pivotal registration trial of M-VAX, an experimental autologous vaccine for treating Stage 3 melanoma. The study aims to enroll 400 patients at up to 25 sites.
* Beaufour Ipsen, of Paris, and Octagen Corp., of Penn Valley, Pa., will commercialize a new generation of treatments for hemophilia using Octagen's second-generation, genetically engineered Factor VIII. Most hemophiliacs are well-controlled on replacement Factor VIII, but a significant minority develops antibodies to the foreign protein matter and can no longer be treated with current versions of Factor VIII. The collaboration, which includes an undisclosed equity investment in and an up-front licensing fee to Octagen, will try to overcome this inhibitor problem.
* Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., said that results from a Phase I trial of its first-generation GVAX vaccine for melanoma will be published in the Oct. 27 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings showed that the vaccine demonstrated potent antitumor immunity as evidenced by the dense infiltration of immune cells into metastatic tumors in 11 of 16 patients in whom biopsies were possible, as well as the detection of antitumor T cells and antibodies specific for melanoma and the destruction of tumor blood vessels. Twenty-one patients with advanced metastatic melan-oma were involved.
* GlycoDesign, of Toronto, and the National Research Council of Canada, of Ottawa, signed a research agreement to discover new antibiotics for infectious diseases. The two-year pact will support cloning and expression of bacterial enzymes at the NRC's Institute for Biological Sciences.
* ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New York, authorized a long-term stock repurchase program that allows for the repurchase of up to 3 million shares of common stock. There are about 73.8 million shares outstanding.
* ImClone Systems Inc., of New York, reported that its lead cancer therapeutic, C225, when combined with radiotherapy, resulted in 100 percent tumor regression in 14 of 16 patients enrolled in a Phase Ib/IIa trial for the treatment of squamous cell head and neck cancer. Another patient experienced greater than 50 percent tumor regression; the 16th has not had post-treatment follow-up. The data were shared at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology conference in Phoenix.
* The Liposome Company Inc., of Princeton, N.J., reported that the FDA has cleared its investigational new drug application for TLC ELL-12, an anticancer agent. TLC ELL-12 is a formulation of an ether lipid, L-ET-18-0CH3, which is a signal transduction modulator. The company expects to start a Phase I trial by year-end.
* Refac Biochemics Corp., of New York, and the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens reported that patient enrollment will start in a pilot program to investigate the safety and efficacy of Pyloricide, a non-antibiotic compound for eradicating the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori is widely recognized as the cause of most ulcers and has been linked to gastric cancer. Refac Biochemics is a subsidiary of Refac Technology Development Corp., also New York.
* Sangamo BioSciences Inc., of Point Richmond, Calif., signed a drug discovery collaborative research agreement with Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Under the agreement, Millennium will evaluate the use of Sangamo's Universal GeneTools in the validation of gene targets for drug discovery. The Universal GeneTools technology platform enables the rational design and rapid generation of highly specific zinc finger DNA recognition proteins (ZFPs) that can selectively recognize and regulate any target gene or DNA sequence. Financial terms were not disclosed.
* Vion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., adopted a shareholder rights plan under which all shareholders as of Oct. 26 will have the right to purchase new shares of common stock. If a person acquires 20 percent or more of its common stock, all rights shareholders, except the buyer, will be entitled to acquire Vion common stock at a discount, thus discouraging the purchase of more than 20 percent of stock without negotiating with the board of directors.
* Vysis Inc., of Downers Grove, Ill., unveiled its commercial genomic-array system for detecting abnormal gene-copy numbers, which will provide clinical researchers a tool for understanding the genetics of cancer and other diseases. The GenoSensor System, aimed initially at large cancer research and drug discovery markets, was unveiled at the 48th annual conference of the American Society of Human Genetics in Denver. The GenoSensor System consists of DNA probes on a miniaturized, ready-to-use genomic array, instrumentation and reagents.
* Xenometrix Inc., of Boulder, Colo., received a four-month extension on $1.5 million in bridge notes that were due Oct. 25. The new due date is Feb. 25, 1999.