* Caliper Technologies Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop high throughput "laboratory-on-a-chip" screening assays on the company's LabChip platform to discover potential anti-cancer agents. The grant is targeted at developing ultra-high-throughput screening assays against a class of biological targets called protein kinases, which are involved in the onset and progression of major cancers.
* CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., began a Phase I clinical trial for CVT-510, a selective adenosine A1 receptor agonist as a potential treatment for atrial arrhythmias. The drug may reduce emergent arrhythmias by reducing the heart rate without affecting blood pressure. It is the company's third in clinical trials.
* Magainin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., said the FDA accepted its new drug application (NDA) for pexiganan acetate for filing and review. The drug is a broad-spectrum, topical antimicrobial cream for treating infection in diabetic foot ulcers. Magainin filed the NDA in July. (See BioWorld Today, July 28, 1998, p. 1.)
* Matrix Pharmaceutical Inc., of Fremont, Calif., licensed a systemic cancer agent, FMdC, from Hoechst Marion Roussel AG, of Frankfurt, Germany. The compound showed broad activity in preclinical trials and has completed Phase I human safety studies. It will soon enter Phase II studies in non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
* Sparta Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Horsham, Pa., was awarded a Phase I/II Small Business Innovation Research grant by the National Cancer Institute. The grant will be received over two-and-a-half years. Sparta plans a Phase I trial in six months of IPdR, a nucleoside analog, which is converted by aldehyde oxidase in the liver into IUdR and released into the bloodstream as a potential sensitizing agent for cancer patients receiving radiation treatment.
* TheraTech Inc., of Salt Lake City, received a Small Buisness Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will support a study utilizing the company's peptide-based, cell-targeted system to deliver cytotoxic and/or immunosuppressant drugs directly to immune cells activated in rheumatoid arthritis.
* Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its investigational anti-HIV protease inhibitor, Agenerase (amprenavir), is available through an early-access program to patients failing current protease inhibitor-containing regimens. The program will provide patients and physicians with more protocol options than standard expanded access drug programs have offered, the company said.