* Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, will develop an automated master compound storage (AMCS) system for the Parke-Davis Research Division of Morris Plains, N.J.-based Warner-Lambert Co. AMCS is designed for long-term housing of chemical and biological compounds. The agreement calls for Warner-Lambert to make payments in excess of $9 million for AMCS over the next 15 months. Aurora is also developing an Ultra-High Throughput Screening System for Warner-Lambert under an agreement signed in September 1997.
* Avax Technologies Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., completed a pilot Phase I/II immunological study of O-Vax, an experimental vaccine of haptenized autologous ovarian cancer cells. In the trial, eight of nine patients with Stage III ovarian cancer who received O-Vax post-surgically after standard chemotherapy developed an immune response against their own tumor cells.
* Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., released six-month follow-up data on a trial of ReoPro (abciximab) used with stents in patients undergoing coronary interventions. After six months, the ReoPro-stent combination reduced the risk of death or heart attack by 51 percent compared to stents alone. Patients receiving ReoPro and angioplasty experienced a 31 percent reduction, compared with stents alone. The six-month results from the EPISTENT (Evaluation of IIb/IIIa Platelet Inhibitor for Stenting) trial confirmed 30-day results, which were published in the July 11 issue of The Lancet. ReoPro is a monoclonal antibody platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor.
* Ergo Science Corp., of Boston, filed an amendment to its new drug application for Ergoset tablets to treat Type II diabetes, thereby extending the FDA's deadline for completing its review to Nov. 20. An agency advisory panel in May found that there was not sufficient evidence to recommend approval. Since then, Ergo Science has met with the FDA several times and submitted additional data and analyses. (See BioWorld Today, May 18, p. 1.)
* Gen-Probe Inc., of San Diego, received a favorable judgment in a suit challenging ownership of two patents covering technologies for detecting disease-causing organisms using genetic probes targeting ribosomal RNA. The La Jolla, Calif.-based Center for Neurologic Study (CNS) had alleged the inventor, David Kohne, made his discovery while employed by CNS. According to Gen-Probe, seven of eight CNS claims were dismissed before trial, and a jury found that CNS had waited too long to file one of its claims. In July, a Superior Court judge applied the jury's verdict to bar the only remaining claim against Gen-Probe. The judgment favoring Gen-Probe was entered Aug. 20.
* Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and partner Schwarz Pharma AG, of Monheim, Germany, reported results from a Phase II clinical trial of the antisense restenosis drug INX-3280 in combination with a local delivery catheter. The data indicated preliminary feasibility and no adverse safety issues. The drug blocks the function of the c-myc gene, which is associated with restenosis. Schwarz has licensed development and marketing rights to INX-3280 in North America and Europe, while Tanabe Seiyaku Co. Ltd., of Osaka, has a license in Japan.
* Quintiles Transnational Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., acquired The Royce Consultancy plc, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based, privately held pharmaceutical sales representative recruitment and contract sales organization. The acquisition, which augments Quintiles' Innovex product commercialization group, was effected through an exchange of Quintiles stock in a pooling of interests transaction. The Royce name will be retained.