* Connetics Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., licensed U.S. marketing rights to Actimmune (interferon gamma-1b) from Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, for the management of chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), along with U.S. development and commercialization rights for other indications of the product. Actimmune currently is marketed for managing CGD in the U.S., generating net sales for Genentech of $3.5 million in 1997. Connetics takes over the revenue stream and will conduct additional development in licensed fields.
* CombiChem Inc., of San Diego, achieved a research goal in its collaboration with Teijin Ltd., of Tokyo, by optimizing a series of receptor antagonists with potential applications in inflammatory diseases. In connection with the work, CombiChem earned a milestone payment in an undisclosed amount.
* CytoMed Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., initiated Phase I clinical trials for CMI-977, an orally active asthma therapy. The drug inhibits the 5-lipoxygenase cellular inflammation pathway to block the generation of leukotrienes, which play a key role in triggering bronchial asthma.
* IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., entered a licensing agreement with Biosearch Italia SpA, of Milan, Italy, for Ramoplanin, a novel antibacterial agent shown active against multidrug-resistant bacteria. Ramoplanin is a candidate in the fight against vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Phase II trials are expected to begin in the second half of this year.
* Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, demonstrated tumor-suppressor activity of the MMAC1 gene. This was the second milestone in Myriad's collaboration with Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J. Myriad has received $2.5 million so far in its deal with Schering-Plough to discover genes and develop therapies for prostate and other cancers. (See BioWorld Today, April 24, 1997, p. 1.)
* NeoTherapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., began a Phase II trial of its lead compound, AIT-082 (Neotrofin), in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. More than 60 volunteers will be enrolled in the study. Orally absorbed, AIT-082 stimulates production of neurotrophins, natural proteins that promote the growth, survival and regeneration of nerve cells.
* Phytera Inc., of Worcester, Mass., and Galileo Laboratories Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., entered into a research, development and marketing collaboration for drugs to treat and prevent ischemic diseases such as stroke and myocardial infarction. The companies will share costs equally, as well as commercial rights to any products developed. Phytera is providing ExPAND plant cell culture extracts and uMARINE marine microorganism extracts for screening in Galileo's Metabolic Target Array Query proprietary assay systems for detecting anti-ischemic agents.
* Palatin Technologies Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said it will meet with the FDA's Center for Biologic Evaluation and Research, in Rockville, Md., to review Phase I and II clinical trial data for LeuTech, the company's radiolabeled antibody kit for infection imaging. Palatin expects to finalize the protocol for Phase III pivotal trials, scheduled to begin during the second half of 1998.
* QLT PhotoTherapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, reported preliminary data from two pivotal Phase III trials of verteporfin as a treatment for age-related macular degeneration. An independent Data and Safety Monitoring Committee found no safety concerns based on the experience of 335 patients at three months and 122 patients at six months.
* SciCone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., reported that Schering-Plough K.K. launched a pivotal Phase III hepatitis B study in Japan of SciClone's Zadaxin thymosin alpha 1. The 300-patient trial will be the largest randomized, double-blind clinical study using thymosin alpha 1 to date. Schering-Plough K.K. is the Japanese subsidiary of Madison, N.J.-based Schering-Plough Corp.
* Scriptgen Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Waltham Mass., and scientists at Boston University have synthesized two new antibacterial compounds, myxopyronin A and B. The compounds have demonstrated effectiveness against drug-resistant bacteria in in vitro tests. Myxopyronins are natural molecules derived from bacteria and have been shown to inhibit growth of many Gram-positive and certain Gram-negative bacteria.
* Trega Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, reported that partner Procter & Gamble Co., of Cincinnati, has identified a series of lead compounds using Trega's combinatorial chemistry libraries, and has exercised an option to an exclusive world-wide license to further develop these compounds. The milestone triggered an undisclosed cash payment to Trega.
* Xenova Group plc, of Slough U.K., launched Phase I clinical trials of XR9576, an inhibitor of the P-gp pump. The pump causes of multi-drug resistance in cancer by expelling drugs from cancer cells.