* Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., has designed and tested in vivo AP1903, a component of the Argent GvHD System that is likely to become the company's first drug to enter clinical trials. AP1903 is a small-molecule treatment for graft-vs.-host disease (GvHD) that has been shown to control apoptosis in engineered human cells, both in culture and in mice. Clinical testing is slated to begin this year.
* Calydon Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., reported the launch of a Phase I clinical trial of CN706 in men with advanced prostate cancer. The therapeutic agent employs an adenovirus engineered to grow only in human cancer cells in which prostate-specific antigen is present. In experiments in mice with compromised immune systems, a single injection of CN706 reduced a 1-gram tumor by an average of 84 percent. In the Phase I safety trial in humans, antitumor activity and time to disease progression will be measured as secondary endpoints.
* Eos Biotechnology Inc., of San Francisco, and The Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, of Melbourne, Australia, launched a research collaboration in cancer. One aim of the research is to identify gene products associated with breast carcinogenesis and metastases. The approach is to use gene expression profiling to assay expression of thousands of genes in parallel in clinical tissue collections derived from human breast carcinomas of known clinical stage and patient outcome. Novel gene targets and disease markers will then be further validated using the institute's paraffin-embedded tumor microarrays, which allow high-throughput and highly parallel analysis of archival tissue collections. Correlation of gene expression changes in samples from patients with known outcomes and pathobiological attributes will yield candidate molecules with prognostic and/or therapeutic potential.
* Gensia Sicor Inc., of Irvine, Calif., reported that its wholly owned subsidiary Gensia Sicor Pharmaceuticals Inc., also of Irvine, received approval of an abbreviated new drug application from the FDA for dacarbazine for injection, a chemotherapeutic drug used in the treatment of metastatic malignant melanoma. It is also a second-line therapy in Hodgkin's disease in combination with other effective agents.
* Gryphon Sciences, of South San Francisco, entered into a research agreement with the University of California, in Berkeley, to develop methods for the synthesis of glycoproteins. Glycoproteins occur in nature as highly potent messenger molecules.
* Hyseq Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., and Incyte's wholly owned subsidiary Synteni Inc., of Fremont, Calif., are facing another patent infringement allegation. Hyseq and Incyte separately reported that Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., has amended lawsuits against them, to add a claim of infringement of an Affymetrix patent —No. 5,800,992 — that was issued Tuesday. Hyseq's director of intellectual property, Andrew Kumamota, called the amendment "an attempt by Affymetrix to confuse the marketplace and to delay our ongoing lawsuits against them." Hyseq filed suit for patent infringement against Affymetrix in March 1997.
* Immucor Inc., of Norcross, Ga., paid $1.7 million to acquire the Canadian distribution rights for its complete line of reagents and systems from its Canadian distributor, Immucor Canada Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta. The deal generates an immediate increase in Immucor's annualized Canadian revenues of about $1 million. Distribution of Immucor's products in Canada will now be done by Dominion Biologicals Ltd., of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Immucor's wholly owned Canadian subsidiary.
* Medarex Inc., of Annandale, N.J., completed payment for its acquisition of GenPharm International Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., by issuing approximately 3.8 million shares of common stock, valued at $19.3 million, with the effective price of $5.04 per share. (See BioWorld Today, June 12, 1998, p. 1.)
* Organogenesis Inc., of Canton, Mass., reported that its board of directors authorized the repurchase of 500,000 shares of common stock, with the timing and cost per share dependent upon market conditions.
* Quintiles Transnational Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., opened a new Tel Aviv office providing clinical trial management, clinical monitoring, regulatory affairs,strategic consulting, pharmacoeconomic analysis and other services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical de-vice companies. The office has a staff of 17.
* NovaDx International Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and its wholly owned subsidiary Proteomix Inc., of San Diego, inked a deal with Bayer Corp., of Pittsburgh. Bayer will provide up to $3 million in research-related milestones and will receive access to a series of osteoclast specific genes with potential utility as drug targets for metabolic bone disease. Bayer Corp. is the U.S. arm of Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany.