* Alfacell Corp., of Bloomfield, N.J., met with the FDA prior to filing its new drug application for Onconase, an anticancer ribonuclease. The company explained the process by which the drug would be manufactured on a commercial scale. Alfacell was given the go-ahead to prepare the chemistry, manufacturing and controls section of its application.
* Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, relocated headquarters and operations to its newly leased 81,200 sq. ft. premises in the North Torrey Pines Science Park. The building has about 15,000 square feet of expansion space. It is designed to accommodate the development, assembly and installation of the company's high-throughput screening system and provide for growth over the next few years.
* Bio-Technology General Corp., of Iselin, N.J., said no cause for safety concern was found in results of an interim analysis of data from its Phase III trial of OxSODrol, recombinant human superoxide dismutase, for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a lung disease that strikes premature infants. The data, from the study's first 100 infants, showed no significant safety risk, according to an independent data safety and monitoring committee. Two hundred premature infants are enrolled in the trial, which will test 360 infants at 23 sites.
* Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., acquired exclusive worldwide rights from Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, to develop, manufacture and market Daptomycin. The drug, with which Cubist plans to begin clinical trials late next year, is a natural-product antibiotic that inhibits cell wall synthesis and disrupts membrane permeability. It is used against infectious diseases caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis.
* Palatin Technologies Inc., of Princeton, N.J., negotiated a license with Competitive Technologies Inc., of Fairfield, Conn., to develop, clinically test and market Erectide, a peptide hormone analogue for psychological erectile dysfunction. Administered by injection, Erectide could be used as a diagnostic tool and as a treatment. It acts as a stimulant to the brain to invariably induce an erection on demand, the company said.
* Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., began product development of a ribozyme-based therapeutic directed at the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, which is secreted by numerous human tumors of the lung, breast and colon. The chemically synthesized anti-receptor enzyme is known as RPI.4610. The company expects to submit an investigational new drug application to the FDA before the end of next year.
* Inhale Therapeutic Systems, of Palo Alto, Calif., moved a sixth product into clinical trials. The drug — an undisclosed compound delivered to the lungs in a dry powder aerosolized formulation — is the second drug from a collaboration with Baxter International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., to enter the clinic.
* LXR Biotechnology Inc., of Richmond, Calif., received a first anniversary license payment from Norwalk, Conn.-based Perkin-Elmer Corp. Perkin-Elmer is using LXR's scanning laser digital imaging technology to develop instruments capable of rapidly imaging fluorescent-tagged biomolecules over wide surface areas such as microscope slides with high resolution.
* Medco Research Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., presented results of a clinical study of a combination of adenosine and heparin to treat chronic stable angina. The open-label, placebo-controlled trial indicated that the combination may stimulate coronary angiogenesis or the recruitment of coronary collateral circulation to relieve exercise-induced ischemia in patients with chronic stable angina. According to Medco, this effect could help patients who are otherwise not candidates for pharmacological or mechanical revascularization.
* MetaMorphix Inc., of Baltimore, said collaborating scientists at Johns Hopkins University, also of Baltimore, discovered that the growth and differentiation factor-8, or Myostatin, appears to be a regulator of skeletal muscle growth in cattle. The research could lead to development of livestock breeds with greater muscle mass, and may also be used to create treatments for muscle-wasting conditions in humans.
* Thermogenesis Corp., of Rancho Cordova, Calif., has lined up a customer for its BioArchive System of collecting, processing and managing placental and umbilical cord blood as sources of stem and progenitor cells. The New York Blood Center will use two of the systems for clinical studies.