* ClinTrials Research Inc., of Nashville, Tenn., consolidated its North Carolina and Kentucky operations into a new 178,000-square-foot facility in Research Triangle Park, N.C. This clinical research center will provide customers with one-campus access to key personnel serving their developmental trials.
* CompuCyte Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., received an exclusive license from Stanford University for the first rapid assay of bacterial blood infections in newborns. The company's version of the test can be easily obtained with results back in minutes. The test identifies a protein called CD11b, which appears on the surface of white blood cells within five minutes of exposure to bacteria.
* Corvas International Inc., of San Diego, and Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., extended for another year an agreement to develop bioavailable inhibitors of a protease that may be responsible for the hepatitis C virus. Schering-Plough's funding for this extension is $1.6 million. The company has the option to continue the research and development program until May 2000.
* Ligand Pharmaceutical Inc., of San Diego, has received regulatory approval of a collaboration with SmithKline Beecham plc (SB), of London, originally announced March 18, to develop small molecule drugs that modulate the signaling pathway controlled by leptin as a means of discovering orally available drugs for treatment or prevention of obesity. The new collaboration follows last year's expansion of the existing hematopoietic growth factor alliance with SmithKline's U.S. affiliate, SmithKline Beecham Corp., of Philadelphia. As part of the leptin-obesity collaboration, SB has purchased 274,423 shares of Ligand common stock for $5 million ($18.25 per share) and also has purchased for $1 million a warrant to acquire 150,000 shares of Ligand common stock at $20 per share. The warrant expires in five years, and Ligand may require SB to exercise the warrant under certain circumstances after three years. SB will purchase additional stock and pay royalties upon the achievement of certain milestones. The agreement gives SB exclusive worldwide rights to products resulting from the collaboration.
* Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, reported positive results from an open label pilot study of Spheramine in a primate model of Parkinson's disease. The product, which consists of therapeutic dopamine-producing human cells attached to gelatin-based micro-carriers, was used to treat a rhesus monkey model of Parkinson's disease and demonstrated a lessening of disease severity in the range of 50 percent to 70 percent. The drug "was able to restore a large degree of function in animals that had shown significant impairment in the ability to use their extremities in feeding and climbing," according to the lead investigator.
* Sparta Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Horsham, Pa., signed a licensing agreement with Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., for the use of Sparta's Spartaject technology. The Spartaject will be applied to Schering-Plough's oral anticancer agent, Temodal, which is in development for the treatment of recurrent malignant gliomas, such as glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astrocytoma. Spartaject allows poorly water soluble and water insoluble compounds to be given by injection and without potentially toxic solubilizing agents. Temodal is an oral cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agent that has shown antitumor activity.