* Advanced Viral Research Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., said its lead immunomodulator drug, Reticulose, was approved for human trials in Mexico. The double-blind placebo-controlled study will test the effectiveness of Reticulose in combination with three antiviral AIDS drugs for treatment of adults infected with HIV. Reticulose, a non-toxic peptide-nucleic acid, is designed to stimulate the immune system and internal cellular production of cytokines.
* ArQule Inc., of Medford, Mass., achieved its first milestone in its collaboration with the Monsanto Corp., of St. Louis, triggering an undisclosed milestone payment. The two companies in 1996 entered into a five-year deal to develop crop protection products, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. ArQule delivered agronomically promising compounds to Monsanto, which is evaluating them.
* Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, completed its submission of a premarket approval application to the FDA for the Prosorba column to include rheumatoid arthritis. Prosorba is a disposable filter that uses protein A to remove circulating immune complexes, such as antibodies and antigens, that are believed responsible for autoimmune diseases. It already is approved for treatment of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, an immune-mediated bleeding disorder. (See BioWorld Today, May 28, 1998, p. 1.)
* Ergo Science Corp., of Boston, completed enrollment of a 300-patient Phase II study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Ergoset (bromocriptine mesylate) oral tablets to treat clinical obesity. Results should be released the first half of 1999. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will test the effectiveness of two different doses of Ergoset in combination with a moderate, calorie-restricted diet.
* ImmuLogic Pharmaceutical Corp., of Waltham, Mass., reported Chesapeake Biological Laboratories, of Baltimore, will manufacture ImmuLogic's cocaine and nicotine vaccine products. Financial Terms were not disclosed.
* Intercardia Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., licensed OP2000 from Opocrin S.p.A., of Medena, Italy, to investigate the drug for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. The worldwide license excludes Japan and South Korea. Intercardia will conduct clinical trials, contribute $1 million to Opocrin and make milestone payments. OP2000, derived from heparin, is an oligosaccharide product that has antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties.
* The Liposome Co. Inc., of Princeton, N.J, reported Wyeth-Ayerst International Inc., of Radnor, Pa., a division of Madison, N.J.-based American Home Products Corp., will market Abelcet (Amphotericin B Lipid Complex Injection) in Greece. Wyeth-Ayerst already markets the antifungal product in France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Austria.
* LJL Biosystems Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., has introduced on the market its first reagent kit, called the TKX tyrosine kinase exploration kit, which can be used with the company's Analyst high-throughput screening system. The kit is described by the company as a "mix-and-ready assay for tyrosine kinase competitor activity."
* MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, started Phase II testing of MGI 114 for treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients. The study will evaluate approximately 14 patients and may be expanded to an additional 16 patients if positive results are found in the first group. The endpoint is efficacy. MGI 114 is a lead analogue from the company's acylfulvene family of anti-cancer compounds.
* PathoGenesis Corp., of Seattle, completed enrollment of a randomized multiple-dose open-label Phase II trial of rifalazil (PA-1648), an oral drug candidate, for patients with tuberculosis. A derivative of the standard therapy, rifampin, PA-1648 is designed to shorten treatment periods or reduce administrations. Results are expected in the fourth quarter of 1998.