* Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., said the Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, in Assen, The Netherlands, began inoculating the first volunteers with Cel-Sci's HGP-30W AIDS vaccine in a European Phase II AIDS study. The institute is a division of Pharma BioResearch, of Zuidlaren, The Netherlands. A synthetic copy of a conserved part of the p17 core protein of HIV, the HGP-30W vaccine has been shown to protect animals against HIV, and it caused humans to produce antibodies that recognize the most prevalent subtypes of the virus. The vaccine focuses on a part of the rapidly mutating HIV that remains constant.
* Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., signed an agreement with Dompe S.p.A., of Milan, Italy, to market and distribute Provigil (modafinil) tablets and Myotrophin (an injectable recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-1) in Italy. Dompe will assume all commercial responsibilities for promoting and distributing the products in Italy. Financial terms were not disclosed. Provigil is a treatment for narcolepsy. Myotrophin, under development with Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., is targeted for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
* CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown, Pa., finalized an agreement with Applied Analytical Industries Inc., of Wilmington, N.C., to manufacture Periostat, the company's lead drug for periodontal disease. A new drug application for Periostat is under FDA review.
* Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., received approval in Canada to market Quadramet for relief of bone pain in cancer patients with multiple osteoblastic skeletal metastases. Quadramet combines the radioisotope samarium-153 with the phosphonate EDTMP to attack newly formed cancerous tissue on bone. In the past 15 months, it has been approved for marketing in the U.S., Europe and Australia.
* Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, and Neurex Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., said their merger received clearance from regulatory officials in the U.S. and Ireland. Elan's acquisition of Neurex still has to be approved by Neurex shareholders before the deal is complete. In April, Elan proposed a takeover of Neurex in a stock swap valued at $740 million. (See BioWorld Today, April 30, 1998, p. 1.)
* Genta Inc., of San Diego, and the National Cancer Institute, of Bethesda, Md., signed a letter of intent to enter into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement for Genta's G3139 antisense drug as an anticancer agent. Under the agreement, the two companies will collaborate on clinical trials of G3139, which has shown promising activity in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and prostate, melanoma and breast cancers.
* Immunex Corp., of Seattle, and its partner Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, of Radnor, Pa., reported Enbrel was well tolerated by rheumatoid arthritis patients receiving long-term therapy with dosing up to 18 months. The open-label study data are not included in the biologics license application under review by the FDA. In the study of 72 patients, 93 percent experienced a 20 percent reduction in tender joints and 88 percent had a 20 percent reduction in swollen joints. Enbrel is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor that regulates inflammation by blocking the interaction of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF with cells that respond to its signal. Wyeth-Ayerst is a division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J.
* Pacific Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, will appeal a decision by the American Stock Exchange (Amex) to delist the company's common stock. Amex said the company no longer fully satisfies all financial guidelines necessary for trading. If its appeal to the Amex board of governors fails, Pacific Pharmaceuticals will trade on the Electronic Bulletin Board.
* Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc., of Hamilton, Mont., said Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., acquired exclusive rights to market the former's Melacine melanoma vaccine in Canada. In March, Schering-Plough agreed to pay up to $30 million to market the vaccine worldwide, except in Canada. Melacine, which is under regulatory review in Canada and Europe, consists of lysed, purified cells from two human melanoma cell lines with a broad array of melanoma antigens, combined with Ribi's Detox adjuvant, which contains monophosphoryl lipid A and mycobacterial wall skeleton to stimulate the immune system. Terms of the expanded agreement with Schering-Plough were not disclosed. Ribi expects to file for approval in the U.S. later this year.