* Cypros Pharmaceutical Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., has received funding from a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the development of adenosine metabolism inhibitors, which selectively raise the levels of adenosine in ischemic tissues. Adenosine reduces ischemia-induced tissue damage by cutting cellular energy requirements. The grant is the company's sixth from the NIH.
* Genetronics Biomedical Ltd., of Toronto, received clearance to initiate multi-center Phase II trials in Canada using electroporation therapy to treat patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck who have failed conventional therapies. In a Phase I/II study, tumors completely disappeared in five of 10 patients treated and tumor shrinkage exceeded 50 percent in three of the remaining five patients.
* LXR Biotechnology Inc., of Richmond, Calif., contracted with Chesapeake Biological Laboratories Inc., of Baltimore, to manufacture LXR's investigational heart protectant products, HK-Cardiosol and CP-Cardiosol.
* Origen Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, obtained an exclusive license from North Carolina State University for applications of avian embryonic stem cell technologies that allow the precise genetic modification of all avian species, including commercial poultry. Initially, Origen will employ the technology in its research-stage program to produce recombinant human protein pharmaceuticals in chicken eggs.
* Repligen Corp., of Needham, Mass., gained a one-year extension of a drug discovery collaboration with Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London. The companies are evaluating the potential of Glyceptors, a class of inflammatory cytokine blockers that work by interfering with the cytokines' binding to carbohydrates on cell surfaces.
* T Cell Sciences Inc., of Needham, Mass., received government support from two programs this week, snagging both a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and a five-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). The $96,000 SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health go toward development of a peptide vaccine to prevent or treat atherosclerosis. The CRADA is with the division of biochemistry of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, of Washington, to assess the combination of T Cell's complement inhibition technology with the liposome drug delivery systems developed at Walter Reed. Under terms of the new agreement, T Cell will have exclusive rights to license all discoveries resulting from the research.
* Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., received European Commission approval to market Viracept (nelfinavir mesylate). The treatment is used for adults and children, in combination with anti-retroviral nucleoside analogs, and is the first HIV protease inhibitor to receive European approval of the simultaneous adult and pediatric formulations. The approval was based on the recommendation of the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products, which examined data showing that Viracept was well tolerated and safe in more than 800 patients in controlled clinical trials and more than 4,000 patients in compassionate use programs.
* Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of Princeton, N.J., has filed a complaint against Immunex Corp., of Seattle, alleging infringement by Immunex of two U.S. patents pertaining to its product Taxol, a breast cancer therapy. Immunex filed an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) last year seeking FDA approval for its competitive product paclitaxel injection. Immunex said it believes its ANDA is the first filed for a competitive paclitaxel product, and it anticipated the legal action from Bristol-Myers.
* Interferon Sciences, Inc., of New Brunswick, N. J., has begun an investigator-sponsored Phase II clinical trial using Alveron N Gel to treat women with intravaginal warts, a condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). A topical treatment, the product provides an alternative to tissue destructive ablative procedures. Currently the company's injectable formulation of natural-source alpha interferon, Alferon Injection, is being marketed for treatment of certain types of external genital warts. HPV is a sexually-transmitted infection affecting an estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of sexually active Americans, with new cases growing at an estimated rate of 750,000 per year.