* Argonaut Technologies Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., along with a consortium ofinternational scientists from nine leading pharmaceutical companies, will work together todevelop an automated organic compound library synthesizer — the Trident LibrarySynthesizer System. Participating companies are: Merck & Co. Inc., of WhitehouseStation, N.J.; Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill.; Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., ofCambridge, Mass.; Genetics Institute Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.; Rhone-Poulenc RorerInc., of Collegeville, Pa.; E. I. DuPont Co., of Wilmington, Del.; Merck KGaA, ofDarmstadt, Germany; Astra AB, of Sodertalje, Sweden; and Sumitomo PharmaceuticalsCo. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan. Each has made an undisclosed financial commitment to share inthe development of the Trident.
* CombiChem Inc., of San Diego, entered a collaboration with NovartisAG, of Basel, Switzerland, to discover herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.CombiChem will receive a project initiation fee, research support and milestone payments,while Novartis has exclusive global rights to develop and market — or sublicense— products resulting from the collaboration.
* Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., withdrew its lawsuit against DuPontMerck Pharmaceutical Co., of Wilmington, Del. The suit centered on the contract fordistribution of Cytogen's cancer pain relief product, Quadramet. DuPont Merck willcontinue to manufacture, distribute and service Quadramet, but the companies agreed athird party should be engaged to continue market development so Quadramet can achieveits full market potential. The two companies together will select the third party. DuPontMerck is a joint venture between E.I. DuPont & Co., of Wilmington, Del., and Merck& Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. Earlier this month, DuPont agreed to pay$2.6 billion to buy out Merck's half. (See BioWorld Today, May 26, 1998, p. 3.)
* Cytokine Networks Inc., of Seattle, started a Phase I study of CNI-1493 as aninhibitor of the toxic side effects of interleukin-2 therapy in patients with melanoma andrenal cell carcinoma. The study is expected to enroll 45 patients at six U.S. sites. CNI-1493 is a macrophage-specific, chemically synthesized small molecule inhibitor of severalpro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin 1.
* OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Uniondale, N.Y., and Aurora BiosciencesCorp., of San Diego, entered a license agreement covering OSI's gene transcriptionpatent estate. Under terms of the agreement, OSI will receive Aurora stock and cash for anon-exclusive license and certain sub-licensing rights to OSI's issue reporter gene patentalong with options to OSI's "methods of modulation" patent. OSI also will get revenuesfrom sublicenses granted by Aurora to its pharmaceutical partners. Further included areannual fees, milestone payments and royalty payments to OSI from options taken byAurora or its partners to develop small-molecule gene transcription modulators.
* Procept Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said shareholders approved a 1-for-10reverse stock split of the company's common stock. After the reverse split, Procept willhave about 3 million shares outstanding. This action is the final step needed to ensureProcept's ongoing eligibility for listing on the NASDAQ SmallCap Market.