* Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., said its protease inhibitor Viracept (nelfinavir mesylate) showed favorable results when combined with other protease inhibitors and HIV drugs. Viracept was evaluated with the protease inhibitors Fortovase, Norvir and Crixivan; with abacavir, a retroviral drug under development by Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London; and with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Results were presented at the 5th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, in Chicago. Fortovase is made by Roche Holding Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland; Norvir, by Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill.; and Crixivan, by Merck & Co., of Whitehouse Station, N.J.
* AVI BioPharma Inc., formerly AntiVirals Inc., of Portland, Ore., signed a definitive acquisition agreement with ImmunoTherapy Corp. (ITC), of Seattle. AVI will acquire ITC for 2.1 million AVI shares and 2.1 million AVI warrants, subject to approval by shareholders of both companies. ITC's lead drug is CTP-37, a synthetic peptide conjugate vaccine designed to fight cancer by turning the immune system against cells that carry a hormone common to many tumor types. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 7, 1997, p. 1.)
* Bio-Technology General Corp., of Iselin, N.J., received an approvable letter from the FDA for BioLon. Classified as a medical device, BioLon is a 1 percent solution of sodium hyaluronate for use in ophthalmic surgical procedures such as cataract removal. It is a viscoelastic lubricant that allows for surgical manipulation of ocular tissues.
* Genta Inc., of San Diego, reported the publication of animal research on its G3139 antisense compound in the February 1998 issue of Nature Medicine. In a melanoma study conducted at the University of Vienna, the drug significantly increased the effectiveness of the chemotherapeutic drug dacarbazine.
* Life Medical Sciences Inc., of Edison, N.J., reported a successful preclinical study of Resolve, a bioresorbable viscous solution for reducing postoperative adhesions. On average, about 45 percent of the tissue surfaces in Resolve-treated groups were free of adhesions, compared with less than 10 percent in the control group, and less than 20 percent in a group treated with Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme Corp.'s Seprafilm. The company is seeking to launch U.S. pilot clinical trials of Resolve by year end.
* Molecular Dynamics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Amersham International plc, of London, have signed a collaboration deal with Lifecodes Corp., of Stamford, Conn. Under the agreement, Lifecodes will provide funding and technical expertise in exchange for early access to integrated microarray systems jointly developed by Molecular Dynamics and Amersham. Lifecodes aims to use the technology to improve human identity testing and the molecular typing of human leukocyte antigens, a process used to predict immune response to transplanted organs and tissues.
* Oncor Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., began shipping to U.S. customers the INFORM HER-2/neu breast cancer test, approved last month by the FDA. In the coming weeks, the company expects to make about 35,000 units available. The genetic test can be performed on existing tissue samples without requiring additional examination or surgery for the patient.
* Pharmacyclics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., grossed $43.8 million in a public offering of 2, 012,500 shares priced at $21.75 each. Included is the 262,500-share overallotment option granted to underwriters Hambrecht & Quist LLC and Cowen & Co., both of New York, and Pacific Growth Equities Inc., of San Francisco. Pharmacyclics plans to use the proceeds for a range of corporate purposes, including research activities related to the development of energy-potentiating anticancer drugs.
* Quintiles Transnational Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., is seeking to extend its reach to the Far East by the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire an undisclosed amount of More Biomedical Contract Research Organization Ltd., of Taiwan. A provider of clinical research services to both Taiwanese and international pharmaceutical companies, More Biomedical has conducted some 40 clinical trials and has nine trials ongoing. Quintiles also reported it has completed a separate acquisition of Pharma Networks NV, a Belgian contract research organization.
* SunPharm Corp., of Jacksonville, Fla., received FDA approval to begin a Phase I trial of diethylhomospermine (DEHOP) as a treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma associated with HIV infection.