* Amarillo Biosciences Inc., of Amarillo, Texas, presented mechanism-of-action data for its lead product, low-dose oral interferon alpha, at the annual meeting of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research, in San Diego. Researchers reported that 10 international units (IU) of orally administered interferon alpha was equivalent to 20,000 IU injected. This low dose reduced cytomegalovirus in the livers of mice. The product is nearing Phase III human clinical trials in Sjogren's syndrome.
* Avigen Inc., of Alameda, Calif., reported animal-model success with an adeno-associated virus vector to deliver gene therapy for Parkinson's disease. The research — centered on brain delivery of genes encoding two enzymes involved in dopamine production — was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in New Orleans. Abnormal rotational movement decreased significantly in Parkinsonian rats receiving one or both genes, with those receiving both showing greater improvement over rats receiving only one of the genes.
* ClinTrials Research Inc., of Nashville, signed a clinical research agreement with FPA Medical Management Inc., of San Diego, a physician practice management company. ClinTrials and FPA will establish a clinical research network of doctors and clinical research sites affiliated with FPA. The network will participate in Phase II, III and IV (postmarketing) trials, along with post-approval disease management and pharmacoeconomic studies.
* CoCensys Inc., of Irvine, Calif., presented preclinical data for licostinel (ACEA 1021), its lead drug candidate for stroke, that suggest the minimum efficacious dose in an animal model may be three to four times lower than the doses that were well tolerated in Phase I human infusion studies. The company administered licostinel with probenecid, which reduces elimination of the compound through the kidneys and further lowers the minimum efficacious dose. CoCensys presented the research at a satellite symposium of the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in New Orleans.
* Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., has met a milestone in its $22 million collaboration with Astra A.B., Sodertalje, Sweden, by developing multiple vaccine antigens for Helicobacter pylori. Genome Therapeutics provided the antigens to the Astra Research Center Boston (ARCB), a Cambridge, Mass-based drug discovery division of the Swedish pharmaceutical company.
* Genomica Corp., of Boulder, Colo., completed a $7.5 million private financing, which will fund development of the company's bioinformatics products and services. Investors include Falcon Technology Partners L.P., of Devon, Pa., INVESCO Trust Co., of Denver, ARCH Venture Partners L.P., of Chicago, Harris & Harris Group Inc., of New York, Boulder Ventures Ltd., of Boulder, and Pegasus Technology Ventures, also of Boulder.
* Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., and Baxter International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., agreed to renegotiate their collaborative agreement, initiated in March 1996, due to heightened cost and a broader program scope. The four compounds involved in the agreement have not been disclosed, although one is in Phase II trials.
* Neurogen Corp., of Branford, Conn., completed a Phase Ia study of ADCI, an epilepsy drug that demonstrated acceptable pharmacokinetics and safety. Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, of Radnor, Pa., which has licensed ADCI, conducted the trial in France. Wyeth-Ayerst is a division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J.
* Sheffield Pharmaceuticals Inc., of St. Louis, relocated its corporate offices from New York to St. Louis. The company's new headquarters is at 425 South Woodsmill Rd., Suite 270, St. Louis, MO 63017-3441.
* Angeion Corp., of Minneapolis, changed its fiscal year to a calendar year, effective immediately. The company's last fiscal year ended July 31; a transition report will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the five-month period ending Dec. 31.
* SciClone Pharamceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., presented preclinical data showing its oral cystic fibrosis drug, CPX, can correct problems caused by abnormal trafficking and impaired chloride ion transport. Currently in Phase I trials, CPX targets the malfunctioning cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator protein. The preclinical data were presented at the annual North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference, in Nashville.
* QLT PhotoTherapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its European marketing partner, Beaufour Ipsen, of Paris, launched sales of Photofrin (porfimer sodium) in France and Germany. Photofrin is a light-activated drug approved in France for early- and late-stage esophageal cancer and in Germany for early-stage lung cancer. The drug also is approved in the U.S., Canada, Japan and the Netherlands.