* Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., reported Infergen achieved a sustained response in 60 percent of hepatitis C patients who received a high-dose of the FDA-approved drug. The study involved 337 patients who either failed to respond or relapsed after receiving other interferon therapies. Results of the trial, conducted by the University of Miami's Center for Liver Diseases, were published in the April 1998 issue of Hepatology. Amgen received marketing clearance of Infergen ( interferon alfacon-1), a consensus alpha interferon that is different from the natural protein, in October 1997. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 8, 1997, p. 1.)
* Chemicus Inc., of Watertown, Mass., received a $250,000 Small Business Innovation Research supplemental grant to refine the capabilities of its ABACUS scale-up instrumentation and to further develop chemistries, both of which will accelerate the identification and evaluation of potential therapeutic agents. Chemicus has the exclusive license to the ABACUS system, which was developed by Genosys Biotechnologies Inc., of Houston, for the chemical synthesis of peptides and DNA.
* Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., said data from a Phase II/III trial of Preveon (adefovir dipovoxil) in combination with other anti-retroviral therapies for HIV demonstrated statistical significance in reducing viral load compared with placebo controls. The study, called GS 408, was conducted at 34 medical centers in the U.S. and enrolled 442 patients. Preveon is a reverse transcriptase inhibitor.
* Medco Research Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., signed an option agreement with the University of California for an exclusive license for the use of adenosine for the promotion of angiogenesis. As a result of the pact, Medco will consider the "pharmacological revascularization" program as another late-stage development opportunity for intravenous adenosine. Phase II findings by the University of California found that adenosine and heparin may stimulate coronary angiogenesis to relieve exercise-induced ischemia in patients with chronic stable angina.
* The National 4-H Council, of Chevy Chase, Md., has teamed up with Monsanto Co., of St. Louis, Mo., and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, of Des Moines, Iowa, to produce an instructor's manual to help students aged 5 to 18 understand biotechnology. Titled Fields of Genes, Making Sense of Biotechnology, the 96-page guide is available to teachers and youth group leaders by contacting the National 4-H Supply Service at (301) 961-2934 and asking for product number ES0046. Cost is $5 plus shipping and handling.
* Taejoon Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Taejoon, South Korea, a marketing partner with Advanced Magnetics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received marketing approval for Feridex I.V. from the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare. Advanced Magnetics will manufacture Feridex I.V., which is a contrast agent used with magnetic resonance imaging for the detection of liver lesions.