* AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., started an open-label Phase II trial of OvaRex, an immunotherapeutic antibody, to treat late-stage ovarian cancer. The OvaRex product is a modified murine monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to the cancer-associated antigen CA125, which is expressed by most epithelial ovarian carcinomas.
* Cell Pathways Inc., of Horsham, Pa., reported the FDA designated FGN-1 (exisulind) a fast-track product. FGN-1 reduces new polyps in patients with adenomatous polyposis coli. FGN-1 is an orally active drug designed to induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancerous cells without harming normal ones. The company is conducting a pivotal Phase III trial for APC.
* Chrysalis International Corp., of Raritan, N.J., adopted a share purchase rights plan that will be issued to stockholders of record on July 20, 1998. The action protects the company and its stockholders from unwanted takeover bids. The plan was not in response to any pending acquisition attempt.
* Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, donated $1 million in an unrestricted grant to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), of Philadelphia. The two-year grant will be used to support the development and expansion of the NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database, with the emphasis on breast cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
* PPL Therapeutics plc, of Edinburgh, Scotland, reported its Phase II study of alpha-I-antitrypsin (AAT) showed the product was safe and well tolerated over the four-week treatment period. There were indications the drug reduced inflammation and possibly lung damage. The drug is being used to treat cystic fibrosis patients.