* Emisphere Technologies Inc., of Hawthorne, N.Y., started a Phase II study of its oral heparin product for prevention of deep vein thrombosis. The three-pronged study will have about 40 patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery. The test will take place in 23 sites. The objective will be to demonstrate that orally administered heparin utilizing Emisphere's technology is comparable to subcutaneously delivered heparin in preventing deep venous thrombosis.
* GeneMedicine Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, entered into a collaboration with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas, to develop technology for targeting and manipulating dendritic cells for improving genetic vaccines to prevent or treat infectious diseases and cancer. Dendritic cells capture and process antigens associated with pathogens and present the antigens to the immune system cells to fight the disease.
* ImClone Systems Inc., of New York, extended its agreement with American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., to develop a vaccine against gonorrhea. The original collaboration was started in 1993. ImClone will continue receiving research support, milestone payments and royalties upon commercialization of a vaccine.
* Imutec Pharma Inc., of Toronto, entered into a collaborative research agreement with the Harvard Medical School, in Boston, to develop clotrimazole and its derivatives for the therapy of human cancers. This program is designed to generate new drug candidates through identification and characterization of the receptor associated with the anticancer activity of clotrimazole.
* Matritech Inc., of Newton, Mass., said its NMP22 Test Kit for diagnosing and monitoring bladder cancer was approved in Japan. Matritech has a collaboration with Konica Corp., of Tokyo, for distribution of the kit. The NMP22 Test Kit is based on Matritech's proprietary nuclear matrix protein (NMP) technology, which correlates levels of NMPs in body fluids to the presence of cancer.
* Megabios Corp., of Burlinghame, Calif., and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, in Denver, will start a Phase I/II trial in April of a gene-based cancer immunotherapeutic as a treatment for melanoma. The dose-ranging U.S. study will examine the safety of a two-gene combination, which will be directly injected into tumors. The combination will consist of an interleukin-2 gene and a superantigen gene. Based on preclinical trials in dogs, Megabios said the treatment also may be applicable to breast, prostate, and head and neck cancers.