* Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Mississauga, Canada, received approval in the U.K. to begin the first clinical trial of its investigational anti-migraine drug, ALX-0646. The drug is the first of a new generation of selective serotonin agonists. It is designed to work with less potential for serious side effects, especially in cardiac arteries.
* Alza Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., entered into agreements with Procter & Gamble Co., of Cincinnati, and Hoechst Marion Roussel AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, to acquire rights to Ditropan (oxybutynin chloride) in Canada. Alza also has acquired from Hoechst the right to use the Ditropan trademark in Canada with other Alza products. The drug is currently marketed in Canada by Procter & Gamble, which has promoted the product there since 1985, under an agreement with Hoechst.
* Corixa Corp., of Seattle, entered into a license agreement with Imugen Inc., of Norwood, Mass., providing the latter access to some of Corixa's recombinant antigens for diagnosis of the tick-borne diseases Babesia microti and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. The agreement provides Imugen with an exclusive license, including the right to sub-license the antigens for reference laboratory testing in the U.S. and Canada. In exchange, Imugen gets a share of revenues from any diagnostics kits or blood screening tests developed as a result of the collaboration.
* Cytokine Networks Inc., of Seattle, said the FDA has approved its investigational new drug application for a cancer treatment vaccine. A clinical trial will focus on fibrocytes, which are antigen-presenting cells, as therapy for a variety of cancers, including sarcoma and melanoma. Fibrocytes will be harvested from a patient's blood, cultured ex vivo, exposed to tumor material from the same patient, and then reinjected into the patient.
* Medical Science Systems Inc. (MSSI), of Newport Beach, Calif., began a joint research and development program for asthma with The Division of Molecular and Genetic Medicine at the University of Sheffield, in the U.K. Under the terms of the agreement, Sheffield is conducting research in chronic and obstructive lung diseases, including clinical studies of specific candidate genes associated with severe asthma. MSSI is responsible for developing and commercializing discoveries, and was granted the worldwide license for all genetic susceptibility, diagnostic and therapeutic applications resulting from the collaboration.