* Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said it prevailed in defending a patent covering its T cell receptor peptide technology in Europe in an opposition hearing with Astra Arcus AB, a subsidiary of Astra AB, of Sodertalje, Sweden; T Cell Sciences Inc., of Needham, Mass.; and Boehringer Mannheim GmbH, of Mannheim, Germany. The patent claims use of certain T cell receptor peptides to prepare vaccines for the prevention or treatment of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.
* Morphogenesis Inc., of Alachua, Fla., was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant of $100,000 for the development of an immuno-polymer device for the isolation of CD34+ cells. The company's technology allows the separation of CD34+ cells from hematopoietic tissue, with special emphasis on peripheral blood. Clinical studies have shown that peripheral blood stem cells can achieve effective long-term hematopoietic reconstitution similar to bone marrow-derived stem cells.
* Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., presented initial results of Phase I/II trials of its lead HIV product, PRO 542. The drug is an antibody-like molecule designed to selectively target HIV and prevent the virus from infecting healthy immune system cells. In preliminary findings from the first cohort of patients, peak and one-week serum concentrations of PRO 542 compared favorably with preclinical models.
* Tripos Inc., of St. Louis, has entered a collaborative drug research agreement with MDS Panlabs, of Toronto, and Cell Pathways Inc., of Philadelphia. Using the Tripos/Panlabs Optiverse chemical library, the research effort will focus on the development of drugs that suppress cancer cell growth by way of apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Tripos and MDS will receive research fees from Cell Pathways for use of the Optiverse library. Tripos and MDS will receive royalties from sales of any new drug brought to market.