* Antigenics LLC, of New York, entered into a strategic collaboration with Sigma-Tau, of Rome, to launch clinical trials in Milan of Antigenics' proprietary heat shock protein vaccines. The companies will conduct a Phase II melanoma and colorectal trial in the fourth quarter of 1998.
* The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., received a $5 million quarterly payment ($3 million for research and development fees and $2 million for the purchase of 126,758 shares of unregistered stock) from Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., as part of the development and commercialization of Remune, an immune-based therapy for the treatment of HIV infection. Immune Response will manufacture Remune and Agouron will have the exclusive rights to market it in North America, Europe and certain other countries following regulatory approval.
* Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., reported that Phase I results for INS365, its second respiratory product, showed that it was safe, well-tolerated and facilitated the mobilization and clearance of lung secretions. The trial was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 75 male volunteers, including 35 smokers, that took place in the U.K. INS365 acts on airway cells within the respiratory system, where it activates P2Y2 receptors that regulate the process of mucociliary clearance, the body's natural mechanism for clearing particulate matter and infectious agents from the airways.
* LifeCell Corp., of The Woodlands, Texas, reported that it completed an in vitro study of ThromboSol that indicates the product has great potential for storing multiple units of autologous platelets for subsequent re-infusion in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The study was conducted with 23 patients at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. ThromboSol is designed to stabilize platelets to allow refrigerated or long-term frozen storage, thereby overcoming storage limitation and infection risk problems. The findings were reported at the Fifth International Conference, Clinical Applications of Cytokines and Growth Factors in Hematology and Oncology in Atlanta.
* North American Vaccine Inc., of Columbia, Md., reported that its partner, Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., is launching Certiva, a combined diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis vaccine. The drug, developed by North American Vaccine, will be marketed to private physicians and managed care markets.