* Allergy Therapeutics Ltd., of Worthing, U.K., acquired the rights to an MPL immunomodulator for use in its allergy desensitization products from Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc., of Hamilton, Mont. Initial targets for this collaboration will be products for relieving allergic symptoms caused by pollens from grasses, certain trees and house dust mites. The immunomodulator is in Phase II trials. Terms were not disclosed.* Aquila Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Framingham, Mass., released preliminary results from Phase II trials of Quilimmune-P, its product for the prevention of pneumococcal infections. Initial results showed that Quilimmune-P was generally well-tolerated, but there were no consistent, statistically significant differences between Quilimmune-P formulations and the control vaccine. The company also released preliminary results of a Phase I trial of Quilimmune-M vaccine, for the prevention of malaria. The formulations tested were generally well-tolerated and significantly increased the immune response compared to malaria vaccines formulated with alum.
* Hemosol Inc., of Toronto, successfully completed its second Phase II trial of Hemolink, the first to be completed in the U.K. Eighteen patients who underwent either hip or knee replacement surgery were involved and no clinically limiting side effects were observed. Hemolink, a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier, is being tested in coronary artery bypass grafting surgery trials in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S., and in an anemia trial in Canada and the U.S. enrolling patients with chronic renal failure. Hemosol expects to file an investigative new drug application in the first quarter of 1999.
* La Jolla Diagnostics Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., reported that its DiagnosTech Inc. subsidiary, also of La Jolla, signed an agreement with a major undisclosed medical products supplier in South Africa. The distributor will complete final assembly of the company's product in South Africa, and will have exclusive rights for the sale of DiagnosTech's rapid diagnostic test kits in South Africa as well as nonexclusive rights for contiguous African countries. Terms were not disclosed.
* La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, identified a protein region for a life-threatening blood-clotting disorder, antiphospholipd syndrome (APS). The company presented data at the 8th International Symposium on Antiphospholipid Antibodies, in Sapporo, Japan, that showed that more than 85 percent of patients who suffer from antibody-mediated thrombosis have antibodies that bind to a specific protein region. The finding, said La Jolla, is a major step in defining the process of the disease.