* Amarillo Biosciences Inc., of Amarillo, Texas, began a Phase II trial to test low-dose oral interferon alpha in treating fibromyalgia syndrome. The disease is characterized by aches, pain and stiffness in the soft tissues. Subjects will be given a four-month course of treatment with the pain reliever amitriptyline before starting the trial, to ensure a uniform test population.
* ID Biomedical Corp. (IDB), of Vancouver, British Columbia, signed a memorandum of intent with Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., of Tokyo, for exclusive distribution in Japan of IDB's gene-based tests in development for detecting methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin resistant enterococcus from culture. The tests are based on the Velogene platform using IDB's Cycling Probe technology.
* Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, Calif., reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission declared effective a registration statement covering the issuance of Ligand shares for its takeover of Seragen Inc., of Hopkinton, Mass. The merger agreement, valued at $67 million was reported in May. The deal still must be approved by Seragen's stockholders at their meeting in August. (See BioWorld Today, May 12, 1998, p. 1.)