* Cellomics Inc., of Pittsburgh, Pa., signed an alliance with Merck &Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. to develop the former's ArrayScan 2.0 Systemand MultiView Database. Formerly named BioDx Inc., Cellomics' cell-based high contentscreening system and bioinformatics software are designed to provide extensive biologicalinformation about a drug candidate's physiological impact on specific cellular targets.
* Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., adopted a shareholder rights plan todiscourage unwanted takeovers. The company said the rights will not prevent anacquisition bid, but they should encourage a potential buyer to negotiate with Cytogen'sboard of directors prior to the attempt.
* FibroGen Inc., of South San Francisco, reported in preclinical trials that itsoral prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors, designed to prevent extracellular matrix deposition,blocked scarring in animal models of fibrosis and promoted tissue regeneration. Fibrosis ischaracterized by overproduction of collagen, the main component of extracellular matrix.The company said reducing scar formation may be useful in battling restenosis followingangioplasty and scarring after major surgery. The drug also may be targeted for treatingcentral nervous system injuries, which cause scarring that blocks neuronal regeneration.
* Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, joined a consortium formed inJune 1997 to develop high-speed capture media for the purification of biopharmaceuticals.BioSepra Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., initiated the consortium andwill retain commercialization rights to any consumable purification media developed. Alsoin the consortium are: BioSpera S.A., of Villeneuve-la-Garenne, France;British Biotech plc, of Oxford, U.K.; Oxford Asymmetry, of Abingdon,U.K.; and Upfront Chromatography, of Copenhagen, Denmark.
* SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., reported CPX, its leadcystic fibrosis drug, was safe and orally absorbed, and achieved anticipated blood levels inPhase I trials. A Phase II trial should start in the third quarter of 1998. Cystic fibrosis,caused by a mutant cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene,affects 70,000 people worldwide. CPX is designed to stimulate the export of chlorine ionsfrom epithelial cells that have defective CFTR genes.