* Cephalon UK Ltd., of Guildford, U.K., a subsidiary of Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., received authorization from the Irish Medicines Board to market Provigil (modafinil) tablets in Ireland for treatment of narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a chronic, neurological sleep disorder that begins in young adulthood and is characertized by excessive daytime sleepiness with uncontrollable sleep attacks.
* CombiChem Inc., of San Diego, achieved a research milestone in a second project with Roche Bioscience, of Palo Alto, Calif. The milestone relates to optimization of compounds for treatment for chronic inflammatory diseases. The collaboration provides for lead generation, lead evolution and lead optimization projects involving multiple drug discovery targets. Roche Bioscience is a division of Hoffmann-LaRoche AG, of Basel, Switzerland.
* ID Biomedical Corp. (IDB), of Vancouver, British Columbia, shipped the Velogene Rapid MRSA Test to a clinical site in Japan for an independent evaluation that will be carried out at Gifu University in Gifu City, Japan, by a potential distributor for the test in Japan. The Velogene Rapid MRSA Test is a gene-based disease identification system based on IDB's technology known as Cycling Probe Technology. IDB also was given the go-ahead for the manufacture of Velogene Rapid MRSA Test kits that will be used in clinical trials in hospital laboratories in the U.S. and Canada.
* Kimeragen Inc., of Newtown, Pa., said its gene alteration, repair and correction technology, chimeraplasty, was used by researchers at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, to introduce a mutation in the hemophilia B gene in rodents. The company said this was the first time alteration of genes within live animals was accomplished by intravenous injection of a synthetic drug that targets and changes a pre-selected section of DNA. The DNA repair technique, chimeraplasty, should be applicable to other inherited or acquired diseases.
* Matrix Pharmaceutical Inc., of Fremont, Calif. will start full enrollment for two ongoing Phase II trials of IntraDose (cisplatin/epinephrine) Injectable Gel following successful outcomes in the first phase of the two trials. The studies are conducted in patients with inoperable liver cancer. Complete enrollment should be finished by the end of the year, with results presented in 1999.
* Monsanto Co., of St. Louis, and Cargill Inc., of Minneapolis, have created a joint venture to use biotechnology to improve feed for pigs, cattle, poultry and fish. The arrangement will cover the development and marketing of new feed additives grown from bioengineered crops. Cargill is a grain processing firm.
* Neurogen Inc., of Branford, Conn., said the funded research portion of its collaboration with Pfizer Inc., of New York, has been extended for an additional year, beginning Nov. 1, 1998. The partnership was established in November 1995 to develop drugs for obesity by blocking the effect on appetite of the neuropeptide Y neurotransmitter. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 7, 1995, p. 1.)
* Oncogene Science Diagnostics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Fujirebio Inc., of Tokyo, have entered into a four-year collaborative agreement for development, manufacture and sale of several proprietary cancer assays in Japan. Oncogene Science is a wholly owned subsidiary of OSI Pharmaceuticals, of Uniondale, N.Y. Fujirebio has a non-exclusive license to develop and sell the cancer diagnostic products while Oncogene receives royalties on product sales, licensing fees, and research and development funding. Fujirebio also supplies some raw materials to Oncogene.
* Oncormed Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., signed an agreement with Merck & Co., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., to provide ras gene testing services for Phase I trials of an anti-cancer compound under development by Merck. The ras, or rat sarcoma, gene is believed to play a role in up to 30 percent of human cancers.
* Phytera Inc., of Worcester, Mass., entered a research, development and marketing deal with NeuroSearch A/S, of Glostrup, Denmark, to discover agents that interact with potassium ion channels. A variety of diseases, including memory and attention deficit disorders, depression, asthma and diabetes, may be treatable or preventable by these agents. The two companies will share equally the cost of research and development, along with the commercial rights to any resulting products.