* CombiChem Inc., of San Diego, achieved the second of two discovery milestones in a research project with Roche Bioscience, of Palo Alto, Calif., triggering an undisclosed milestone payment. The milestone relates to optimization of novel inhibitors for a potential new treatment for chronic inflammatory diseases. CombiChem entered the three-project collaboration in 1996 with Roche, a subsidiary of F. Hoffman La-Roche AG, of Basel, Switzerland.
* Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, said a pre-market approval application for expanded labeling of Prosorba column will go before the FDA's Gastroenterology and Urology Device Advisory Panel on Oct. 29. The company is seeking to extend the label for Prosorba to rheumatoid arthritis. Prosorba is a disposable filter that uses protein A to remove circulating immune complexes, such as antibodies and antigens, that are believed responsible for autoimmune diseases. It has been FDA-approved since 1987 for treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. (See BioWorld Today, May 28, 1998, p. 1.)
* Human Genome Sciences Inc. (HGS), of Rockville, Md., said two patent applications, covering 256 human genes, have been published under the auspices of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The publication numbers are WO 98/39448 and WO 98/39446. The current patent publications describe the potential medical uses of the 256 genes, as did previous applications covering 220 genes. The company said more such applications are to come.
* InKine Pharmaceutical Co. Inc., of Blue Bell, Pa., reported success in a 97-patient multicenter Phase IIb dose-response study comparing the safety and efficacy of three different doses of INKP-100 (sodium phosphate tablets) as a purgative agent for patients undergoing colonscopic evaluation. One hundred percent of patients receiving the high dose, 88 percent of patients receiving the medium dose, and 70 percent of patients receiving the low dose were observed to have an "excellent" or "good" rating in their colon cleansing.