* Alpha-Beta Technology Inc., of Worcester, Mass., was awarded two Phase ISmall Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Healthto support the company's antifungal drug discovery program. The grants coveridentification of new targets and further development of the plant-derived proteinzemeatin, the company's lead antifungal compound. Alpha-Beta has received a total of sixSBIR grants.
* Bio-Technology General Corp., of Iselin, N.J., said Draxis HealthInc., of Mississauga, Ontario, has received approval from the Canadian HealthProtection Branch to proceed with Phase II clinical trials for Fibrimage, a technetium-99mradiopharmaceutical for the imaging of active thrombus in deep-vein thrombosis.Fibrimage uses a genetically engineered fibrin binding domain peptide, which binds tofibrin, the primary culprit in deep-vein thrombosis.
* Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., said it received a $3.8 million payment fromDuPont Merck, of Wilmington, Del., in connection with the license agreementfor the marketing of Quadramet. The agreement, signed in December 1994, has beenterminated, and DuPont is seeking a new partner for Cytogen. Last month, Cytogen filedsuit against DuPont, but the lawsuit was withdrawn. Quadramet is a radiopharmaceuticaldrug for pain related to cancer that has spread to the bone. (See BioWorld Today,May 26, 1998, p. 3.)
* Immunex Corp., of Seattle, and IVX Bioscience Inc., of Miami, saidthey will collaborate on marketing paclitaxel products in the U.S., subject to FDAapproval. IVX agreed to acquire Immunex's abbreviated new drug application (ANDA)for paclitaxel, filed with the FDA, for an unspecified cash payment. Subject to a favorableoutcome of pending patent litigation, Immunex's ANDA likely will be entitled to sixmonths of exclusivity from other generic competitors. IVX also will acquire Immunex'sinventories of bulk paclitaxel, which is the generic name for the anticancer drug Taxol,marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York.
* Immunomedics Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., said its investigational imagingagent, LymphoScan, detected residual non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in six of six patientsincorrectly believed to be in remission. The agent is an antibody fragment that seeks outand occupies certain receptor sites on non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells. It is being studied inPhase III pivotal trials.
* InSite Vision Inc., of Alameda, Calif., said it would begin trading on theAmerican Stock exchange under the ticker symbol ISV, as of June 10.
* Molecular Biosystems Inc. (MBI), of San Diego, said the U.S. Patent andTrademark Office issued a final rejection of all claims in two patents by SonusPharmaceuticals Inc., of Bothell, Wash., related to the companies' dispute overultrasound contrast agents. Sonus had claimed its patents included MBI's flagship product,Optison. MBI had asked the patent office to re-examine both patents, contending theirclaims were not patentable because of "prior art" not cited by Sonus. Last August, afterthe FDA decided Optison FS069 (approved as a device) would be evaluated as a drug— which is how similar agents are treated — MBI filed suit against fivecompanies it called "potential competitors," including Sonus. (See BioWorldToday, Aug. 6, 1997, p. 1.)
* Sheffield Pharmaceuticals Inc., of St. Louis, signed a binding letter of intentwith Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, to create a wholly owned subsidiary ofSheffield responsible for a worldwide collaboration to develop systemic drug therapiesdelivered by a range of pulmonary delivery systems. Upon execution of the finalagreement, Elan will make an equity investment in Sheffield. The first technologies to bedeveloped in this new venture are Sheffield's Metered Solution Inhaler for non-respiratorydisease applications and Elan's unit-dose delivery system known as UPDAS.