* Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., launched pivotal Phase III trials of chiral formulation of d-methylphenidate hydrochloride (better known under the trade name Ritalin) at more than 30 centers in the U.S. and Canada. The program consists of four separate studies, including two double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Celgene is aiming to enroll about 450 children between the ages of 6 and 17, and expects completion of the longest-duration arm in the fourth quarter of 1999.
* Clinical Micro Sensors Inc., of Pasadena, Calif., won a nearly $2 million grant from National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program for a project called "DNA Diagnostics for the Point of Care Using Electronic Nucleic Acid Detection." The company will use the funds to conduct advanced research and development on an electronic, disposable DNA chip and hand-held instrument.
* Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, and Schwarz Pharma Inc., of Mequon, Wis., said Elan will grant exclusive U.S. marketing and distribution rights for Verelan and Verelan PM to Schwarz, following Elan's announcement of the reacquisition of the Verelan franchise from Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a division of American Home Products, of Madison, N.J.
* Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., received FDA approval for a liquid suspension formulation of its immunosuppressive agent CellCept (mycophenolate motefil), to be used in kidney and heart transplant patients immediately after surgery. Patients who cannot or do not want to swallow capsules or tablets after transplantation comprise the targeted market.
* Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, demonstrated in a series of clinical studies that the antisense drug INXC-6295 reduces tumor growth and extends the lives of treated animals without noticeable toxicities. The drug is encapsulated in a delivery system less susceptible to degradation, allowing longer circulation time.
* Osiris Therapeutics Inc., of Baltimore, was awarded a $2 million Advanced Technology Program grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The company will develop cell therapy products for bone regeneration using human allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells. The $2 million is payable over three years, with matching funds provided by Osiris.
* Perkin-Elmer Corp., of Norwalk, Conn., and 3M, of St. Paul, Minn., are teaming up to develop an integrated set of micro-devices for genetic analysis via electrophoresis or other techniques. Several biotechnology companies will help evaluate the technology, the companies said. The project will be funded in part by a $21 million grant from the Advanced Technology Program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
* SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., said the FDA has awarded the company a $200,000 orphan drug grant for Phase II trials of CPX for cystic fibrosis. This is the second year in a row the FDA has granted the maximum amount available for developing CPX, which is orally administered and targets the underlying protein dysfunction in cystic fibrosis.
* Xenometrix Inc., of Boulder, Colo., said it has granted another license agreement for gene expression profiling, giving Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., access to several U.S. and foreign patents and applications. The license is nonexclusive and covers the collection of certain gene expression profiles utilizing all methods, including high-density DNA arrays.