* Cytel Corp., of San Diego, signed technology agreements with Japan Tobacco Inc., of Tokyo, and Marukin Shoyu Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, for exclusive rights to two enzymes for use in Cytel's carbohydrate synthesis technology. Terms were not revealed.
* Pangaea Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received a $129,055 grant from the National Cancer Institute, of Bethesda, Md., to enhance the efficiency of DNA encapsulation of the Ensphere microsphere drug delivery system. Ensphere is a polymer drug delivery system that can deliver DNA to targeted cells and enhance the immune response over "naked" DNA approaches with 100-fold less DNA.
* Pherin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., reported that the FDA has accepted for filing its investigational new drug application (IND), and that it will now proceed with Phase I trial on PH80 for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome.
* Quintiles Transnational Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., opened an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to serve pharmaceutical customers in Latin America.
* Scriptgen Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Waltham, Mass., filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., against 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Exton, Pa., over ATLAS (Any Target Ligand Affinity Screen) technology, a system for identifying compounds that are drug candidates. Scriptgen is seeking an injunction preventing 3-Dimensional from further infringing on the Scriptgen patents, as well as damages.
* Sepracor Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., started a Phase I trial on fluoxetine, a single isomer of racemic fluoxetine. Racemic fluoxetine, marketed as Prozac by Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, is the leading treatment for depression, with worldwide sales of $2.6 billion in 1997. Fluoxetine consists of two isomers, but Sepracor's single-isomer version may potentially treat depression while offering the flexibility of a shorter half-life, which may eliminate drug interaction problems.
* Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., and Millennium BioTherapeutics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., signed an exclusive agreement to use Abgenix's XenoMouse Technology to develop a second antibody drug candidate toward a biologically validated target discovered by Millennium. Millennium BioTherapeutics is a majority-owned subsidiary of Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.