* American Pharmed Labs Inc. (APL), of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., reported that its subsidiary, Pharmed GmbH, of Munich, Germany, started enrolling patients in a back pain clinical trial. The study will use APL's local analgesics as "neural firewalls" to block the transmission of pain information from peripheral nerves to the pain-processing center in the brain.
* Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., started its first human clinical trial of osteoprotegerin (OPG), a recombinant version of a naturally occurring protein. Preclinical studies show that osteoprotegerin may be a critical regulator of bone mass. The first trial will evaluate the safety of OPG in healthy post-menopausal women. If it is successful, additional studies will be conducted in appropriate disease indications, such as osteoporosis and cancer-related bone metastasis.
* Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., reported CDC801, its multiple oral dose compound, was well-tolerated in a Phase I trial. CDC801 is the lead compound from Celgene's group of Selective Cytokine Inhibitory Drugs, known as SelCID, which are potent inhibitors of the overproduction of tumor necrosis factor. The company plans on submitting an investigational new drug application during the fourth quarter of this year and later start a clinical trial for Crohn's disease.
* Chronimed Inc., of Minneapolis, reported its board of directors authorized a stock repurchase program under which up to 1 million shares of common stock may be repurchased in the open market and at prices determined by management. Currently the company has 12.1 million shares of common stock outstanding.
* CoCensys Inc., of Irvine, Calif., completed a Phase II trial with more than 300 migraine patients using a tablet formulation of ganaxolone. Results will be announced in the fourth quarter of this year. Ganaxolone belongs to a new class of therapeutics, called epalons, used for treating migraine via neuronal mechanisms. The primary endpoint was the efficacy of ganaxolone in relieving pain in patients with moderate to severe migraine headaches
* CV Therapeutics Inc. (CVT), of Palo Alto, Calif., and Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., also of Palo Alto, will jointly develop a prototype gene expression database in the area of cardiovascular biology, including diseases such as atherosclerosis and restenosis. Incyte will contribute its genomics capabilities and CVT will provide molecular cardiology expertise. No terms were released.
* Derma Sciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., completed the acquisition of Genetic Laboratories Wound Care Inc., of St. Paul, Minn. Shareholders of Genetic Laboratories will receive 0.7 shares of Derma Sciences common stock in exchange for each share of Genetic Laboratories common stock owned.
* Gliatech Inc., of Cleveland, moved its headquarters and research facility to a $13.6 million plant at Chagrin Highlands, a 630-acre research park suburban to Cleveland. The company considered sites in eight states before deciding to stay in Cleveland at the headquarters, which Gliatech will lease. The facility under development will be a two-story, 80,000-square-foot building, expected to be completed in early 2000.
* Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., entered an agreement with Biogen Inc., also of Cambridge, under which Genzyme will commercialize and exclusively distribute Avonex (interferon beta-1a) in Japan, following regulatory approval. Avonex is Biogen's treatment for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), which the company began marketing in the U.S. in May 1996 and in Europe in 1997. Genzyme estimates there are at least 5,000 MS patients in Japan.
* LJL Biosystems Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., entered a collaboration with SmithKline Beecham plc, of London, for early access to LJL's advanced technologies for high-throughput screening. SmithKline will obtain early access to LJL's FLARe platform, which employs patented or patent-applied-for instrumentation, methods and proprietary chemistries for drug discovery assays, based on the measurement of fluorescence lifetime. Terms were not disclosed.