* Anika Therapeutics Inc., of Woburn, Mass., reported that Incert, a chemically cross-linked form of hyaluronic acid, reduced post-operative adhesion formation in mice. Incert, a thin bioabsorbable, implantable "sponge," is designed to be a barrier to prevent the high incidence of scarring and internal adhesions after pelvic or abdominal surgery, which can lead to female infertility, intestinal blockage, recurrent back pain and potentially costly second surgery. The results were reported in the July issue of Fertility and Sterility.
* Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, completed delivery and installation of its automated storage and retrieval module of the Ultra-High Throughput Screening System (UHTSS) to Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis. The automated storage and retrieval system will hold more than 1 million discrete compounds in solution for computer-controlled access, and select and deliver specified compounds at a rate of at least 100,000 per day for primary screening. Lilly has committed to spending more than $20 million over a three-year period for research funding, license fees and the successful delivery of Aurora's UHTSS.
* BioModa Inc., of Albuquerque, N.M., will work with Lung Check Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., of to perform process optimization work on the TCPP test, which involves attaching a radioactive atom to commonly occurring molecules called porphyrins, which then find and attach themselves to lung cancer cells. TCPP detects lung cancer five to seven months earlier than using current diagnosis tools. Phase III trials will start this month.
* DiagnoCure, of Quebec City, Quebec, received a $350,000 two-year research funding grant from the National Research Council of Canada to support an ongoing research program to develop more effective cancer vaccines and gene therapies. The grant will cover part of the costs to develop the nanoerythrosome technology for targeted DNA delivery for use in DNA vaccines and gene therapies for cancer. Nanoerythrosomes are minuscule spheres derived from red blood cells that can be used as carriers of therapeutic molecules or genes, delivering them to the targeted cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
* Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., formed a strategic initiative to build a network of clinical research alliances to enhance its drug discovery, development and predictive medicine efforts. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Austin, Texas, and the University of Pittsburgh will provide clinical expertise and access to clinical samples and tissue collections, thus broadening Millennium's capability in the large scale identification and characterization of gene targets and markers need for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of major diseases.
* Pacific Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Md., to further the clinical development of 06 Benzyl Guanine, Pacific's chemosensitizing agent. The study's objective is to establish the safety and efficacy of the agent in patients with different tumor types. Pacific believes that administration of the agent will result in increased survival and heighten the antitumor activity of chemotherapeutic agents by inactivating the DNA repair protein AGT (O6 alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferasel), which is present in tumor cells.
* Pangaea Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., completed a $4.7 million round of financing from existing and new investors to support the expansion of its development programs in antigen discovery, DNA drug delivery, and immunotherapies in the areas of cancer, viral infection and autoimmune disease. Lombard Odier CIE, of Geneva, led the investment round and seed investors Walden Group, of San Francisco, and European Medical Ventures, of Paris, also participated.