* Alza Corp., of San Diego, said its drug-filled titanium implant, Duros, suppressed testosterone to therapeutically desirable levels for up to 10 months in men with advanced prostate cancer, evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical trial.
* Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, said Xenometrix Inc., of Boulder, Colo., granted its first major license to its gene expression profiling patents, giving Aurora access to an issued European patent and a pending U.S. patent, along with certain rights of sublicense. The license is non-exclusive and covers gene expression profiling using methods other than high-density oligonucleotide microarrays.
* Digene Corp., of Beltsville, Md., received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract for $750,000 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a new generation of tests for the diagnosis of herpes simplex virus. Digene will apply its Hybrid Capture II technology for high-throughput DNA diagnostic testing to improve detection, screening and monitoring of patients with herpes types I and II.
* Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Baltimore, said a $20 million research and development facility will be built adjacent to its headquarters. The company will receive about $3 million in support from Maryland in the form of certain debt guarantees for the 73,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to be completed in May 1999.
* Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., successfully completed a Phase I trial of myeloid progenitor inhibitory factor-1 (MPIF-1), an interleukin/chemokine protein aimed at shielding hematopoietic tissues from the toxic effects of cancer drugs. In the placebo-controlled study, no subjects withdrew or required dose modification because of adverse effects. Multiple infusions produced no measurable levels of antibodies to the drug, a modified human protein. MPIF-1 is Human Genome Sciences' first product to enter clinical trials.
* Immunex Corp., of Seattle, began clinical trials to evaluate the safety of its CD40 ligand in patients with cancer. The Phase I study is being conducted at three sites, involving 35 to 55 patients with non-Hodgkin's (B-cell) lymphoma or solid tumors against which standard therapies have failed. Normally expressed on the surface of T cells, CD40 ligand binds to CD40, which is expressed on the surface of B cells, dendritic cells and macrophages.
* Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, completed a $6 million private placement. The company sold 7 million units at $0.855 per unit, with each unit consisting of one common share and one fifth of a warrant for one common share. A warrant may be used to purchase a common share for $1.14 for a period of 42 months.
* Medco Research Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Fujisawa USA Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., ended their collaboration on adenosine for use in the treatment of acute ischemic conditions of the heart, including acute myocardial infarction and open-heart surgery. Fujisawa USA transferred to Medco its rights under a 1996 agreement to an adenosine-containing cardioprotectant product, in exchange for royalties and other potential payments if a marketed product results from the program.
* Meditech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., said researchers at the University of London's School of Pharmacy have created a soluble form of the drug Viraplex, an anti-cancer drug in development for more than a decade. Viraplex produced positive in vitro results against several forms of cancer, including breast, prostate and lung tumors, but in vivo tests proved inconclusive due to solubility problems. Meditech plans to provide the National Cancer Institute, which has conducted research with the drug, with enough of the soluble form to resume testing, possibly leading to further animal studies.
* Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, reported the successful use of a semiconductor bioelectronic chip to isolate and purify microorganism DNA/RNA from a whole blood sample for diagnostic analysis in a second bioelectronic chip. The research is published in the June issue of Nature Biotechnology. Nanogen is aiming to develop the bioelectronic chip as a technology that could process and analyze a drop of patient's blood in a physician's office in a matter of minutes.
* NewBiotics Inc., of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., completed an $800,000 round of seed financing. Founded in 1997, the company aims to develop drug leads for cancer and infection based on known chemotherapeutic resistance mechanisms.
* Pathogenesis Corp., of Seattle, said it acquired all rights of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to tobramycin solution for inhalation (TOBI), which is PathoGenesis' product for managing cystic fibrosis patients with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Undisclosed payments will be made to the foundation over the next two years.
* Phyton Inc., of Ithaca, N.Y., and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, signed an agreement to commercialize Phyton's plant cell fermentation technology. The deal is part of Bristol-Myers' planned improvement of production processes for Taxol (paclitaxel). Phyton licensed the technology to Squibb exclusively in 1995.
* Procept Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its vaginal microbicide, PRO 2000 Gel, provided complete protection against vaginal herpes simplex virus type 2 in mice. None of the 15 mice treated vaginally with the gel acquired HSV-2 after subsequent vaginal exposure, while 13 of the 15 mice that received a placebo died from the same viral exposure. Moreover, the product provided significant protection even when applied up to 60 minutes before exposure, the company reported.
* ProScript Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Hoechst Marion Roussel, of Frankfurt, Germany, have extended by a year the research phase of their collaboration for the development and commercialization of small molecule therapeutics to treat inflammatory disease. The collaboration, which began in November 1995, utilizes ProScript's technology for manipulating signaling events and the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway to suppress activation of NF-kB, a gene transcription factor associated with cancer and inflammatory disease.
* Reprogenesis Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., launched a Phase III trial of Natrolin-VR, a minimally invasive tissue augmentation product for the treatment of vesicoureteral reflux, a pediatric urological disorder characterized by a back-flow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys. The condition currently requires major surgery. Natrolin-VR is based on technology that combines autologous cells with a hydrogel matrix that can be injected locally at the augmentation site.
* Terrapin Technologies Inc., of South San Francisco, changed its named to Telik Inc. Telik is a variation of the Greek word telic, which means moving forward purposefully toward a goal.