* Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., received clearance from the FDA to market and sell Thalomid (thalidomide) for treatment of erythema nodosum leprosum, a severe and debilitating condition associated with leprosy. Celgene submitted a new drug application in December 1996.
* Enzon Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., completed a $19 million private placement announced in June. The company sold 3.9 million shares of common stock to a small group of investors, resulting in gross proceeds of $18.9 million. The funds will further develop Enzon's second and third generation PEG (polyethylene glycol) products and its single-chain antigen-binding protein compounds. PEG is a drug delivery technology that reduces immunogenic reactions to therapeutic proteins and enables the proteins to remain in the bloodstream longer. (See BioWorld Today, June 29, 1998, p. 1.)
* Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, pledged $16.5 million over five years to establish the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation to encourage the development of new technologies and areas of interest in the field of transplantation.
* Trega Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, Calif., identified several lead compounds in the first phase of its research and development deal with Ono Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, and received an undisclosed milestone payment. Trega will now optimize lead compounds and conduct preclinical testing of the orally active small molecules for treatment of inflammatory diseases mediated by the melanocortin-1 (MC-1) receptor pathway.
* Medarex Inc., of Annandale, N.J., started a Phase I/II study of MDX-220 for the treatment of cancers that express the tumor-associated protein TAG-72. In this dose-escalation trial, patients will receive MDX-220 with or without Neupogen pretreatment. Neupogen is Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen Inc.'s white blood cell booster. MDX-220 is a bispecific antibody that targets TAG-72, a tumor-associated protein expressed on cancers, such as colon, prostate, lung, ovarian, endometrial, pancreatic and gastric.