* Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its signal transduction inhibitor program has developed a lead compound, AP22408, the second milestone in its osteoporosis partnership with Hoechst Marion Roussel Ltd., of Ankleshwar, India. Ariad received a $2 million milestone payment, and is now preparing the compound for human testing. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 7, 1995, p. 1.)* Aviron, of Mountain View, Calif., and Becton Dickinson and Co., of Franklin Lakes, N.J., signed a worldwide, multiyear supply agreement, in which Becton Dickinson will supply its AccuSpray non-invasive nasal spray delivery system for the delivery of Aviron's FluMist intranasal influenza vaccine. FluMist is a live attenuated influenza virus delivered to the mucus membrane of the nose. (See BioWorld Today, July 2, 1998, p. 1.)
* BioChem Pharma Inc., of Laval, Quebec, said its licensee, Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London, received the first regulatory approval to market Zeffix (lamivudine), an oral antiviral treatment for chronic hepatitis B. The Bureau of Food and Drugs has approved Zeffix for marketing in the Philippines. Zeffix is taken once daily as a tablet, as opposed to three times a week over six months, which is the timetable for injection with interferon therapy, the current established treatment for hepatitis B.
* BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., of Novato, Calif., established a new division, BioMarin Genetics, to focus on developing enzyme replacement therapies for underserved genetic disorders.
* Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J. - which received approval for thalidomide for complications of Hansen's disease, or leprosy - has developed the System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety (STEPS) program to ensure appropriate use of the drug and minimize the risk of severe birth defects, and physicians in that program are not barred from rescribing the drug for off-label uses.
* COR Therapeutics Inc., of San Francisco, entered an agreement for a combinatorial chemistry consortium with Systems Integration Drug Discovery Co. (SIDDCO), of Tucson, Ariz. COR is the fifth company to sign with the consortium since its inception in June 1997. SIDD-CO will integrate its combinatorial and medicinal chemistry technology into COR's drug discovery projects by providing a dedicated team of chemists to design and synthesize libraries of compounds, and optimize leads into clinical candidates.
* Genetix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute to support preclinical development of anti-angiogenic gene therapy treatments for cancer.
* Hyseq Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., said it has been sued for patent infringement by Affymterix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where Hyseq has sued Affymetrix twice for infringement on Hyseq's patents related to sequencing by hybridization. Hyseq said it expects a consolidated trial of its lawsuits to go forward in the summer of next year. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 16, 1997, p. 1.)
* LeukoSite Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and MorphoSys AG, of Munich, entered a two-year collaboration to discover and develop therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. The collaboration combines MorphoSys' technology for rapidly generating human therapeutic antibodies with LeukoSite's technology and targets for selectively inhibiting the recruitment and activation of disease-promoting white blood cells. The companies will collaborate on research and development of human therapeutic antibodies to target chemokine receptors and integrins.
* Novavax Inc., of Columbia, Md., started the second phase of a multiday, dose-ranging pharmacokinetic study of Androsorb for testosterone-deficient men. The trial will measures hormone levels in 20 men who, for 14 days, will receive daily doses of the cosmetic-like cream formulation, which contains testosterone. The first Androsorb study was recently finished and results are still being reviewed.
* Pangea Systems Inc., of Oakland, Calif., said the Hoechst-Ariad Genomics Center LLC has licensed from Pangea computational tools that allow more rapid and accurate clustering and alignment of expressed sequence tags within large databases. The center is a joint venture between Hoechst Marion Roussel AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, and Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.