* Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, was awarded a contract by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego and a grant from the National Institute of Justice in amounts that could total $8 million over five years, to create an advanced miniature lab for biological warfare defense applications, and to continue a second year's development of a portable microchip array-based genetic detector for rapid forensic DNA testing at crime scenes.
* Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said an application for marketing approval for its new HIV protease inhibitor Agenerase (amprenavir) has been submitted in Canada by Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London, which is Vertex's partner in developing the drug. Agenerase is dosed twice daily rather than three times daily, like most currently available protease inhibitors.
* Aastrom Biosciences Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., said it has obtained initial approval to affix the CE Mark to the AastromReplicell Cell Production System and has received its ISO 9001/EN 46001 certification. Approval to affix the CE Mark was granted to the system's instrumentation platform, designed to operate therapy-specific kits, including the company's lead therapy kits for production of either bone marrow (the SC-I Therapy Kit) or umbilical cord blood cells (the CB-I Therapy Kit), for use in stem cell therapy. Approval to affix the CE Mark to other components of the company's two lead therapy kits is pending. Aastrom now plans its initial launch of the product in four major European markets.
* Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, attained two separate milestones in a gene identification and gene function research collaboration in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division of Warner-Lambert Co., of Morris Plains, N.J. Axys attained a research milestone by making significant progress in psychiatric genomics research and attained a technology transfer milestone by transferring to Parke-Davis a bioinformatics platform. Financial details were not disclosed.
* Calypte Biomedical Inc., of Berkeley, Calif., said the Chinese National AIDS Center for Prevention and Control began evaluation of the company's HIV-1 urine antibody test system. The confirmatory test was approved by the FDA in June. (See BioWorld Today, June 2, 1998, p. 1.)