Altus Biologics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., was awarded a $500,000 grant to develop catalysts to neutralize nerve agents using the company’s Cross-Linked Enzyme Crystal technology

Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, Calif., released positive results from a Phase II trial that showed its diabetes drug, Pramlintide, could be mixed with any of the most common forms of insulin. Pramlintide is being studied in six pivotal Phase III trials to demonstrate its ability to improve glucose control when used as an adjunct to insulin. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 20, 1996, p. 1.)

Aurora Biosciences Corp., of La Jolla, Calif., and Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, are collaborating to develop screening assays and Aurora’s high throughput screening system. Lilly agreed to pay more than $20 million to Aurora during the first three years as part of the deal. Lilly will get rights to Aurora’s fluorescent screening technology and high throughput screening system. Together, the companies expect that the combination of technologies will ultimately increase the speed at which new compounds are discovered and developed.

Celtrix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., has initiated Phase II trials for SomatoKine with an initial treatment target of recovery from hip fracture surgery. The multicenter European study will involve 30 patients, ages 65 to 85 who have undergone hip fracture surgery. Phase I studies of SomatoKine revealed that the drug was safe and stimulated bone and connective tissue metabolism.

GeneMedicine Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, will commence a Phase I trial for its insulin-like growth factor-1. Diabetic motor neuropathy is the company’s initial target indication but it said there are potential broad applications for the treatment of muscle disorders and neuropathies. GeneMedicine filed an investigational new drug application late last year, a first for the company.

Neurogen Corp., of Branford, Conn., released positive Phase Ia data on NGD 95-1, a neuropeptide Y (NPY) antagonist for the treatment of eating disorders, including obesity. The trial included 80 people and no consistent adverse effects were identified.

Oxis International Inc., of Portland, Ore., said it has completed a Phase I trial of BXT-51072 in inflammatory bowel disease and plans to begin a Phase II trial pending FDA review. The company reported that the drug was well absorbed and no significant safety issues were seen. BXT-51072 is designed to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and reactive oxygen species which are present during certain inflammatory conditions.

Sibia Neurosciences Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., and Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, have agreed to extend their collaboration which focuses on the discovery of neuronal voltage-gated calcium channels for use in drugs for central nervous system disorders. This is the second extension of the same collaboration, which began in 1992.

Sonus Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bothell, Wash., has initiated a Phase III trial for the assessment of myocardial perfusion with EchoGen, a fluorocarbon-based ultrasound contrast agent. The milestone triggered a $4.4 million payment from Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Il., under terms of an agreement signed in October 1996. The company said the contrast agent could provide a new option for non-invasive diagnosis of coronary artery disease.

Sugen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said it is able to lower the glucose levels of animal models of Type II diabetes with its selective tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors. The compounds will serve as starting points for drug development. The company also said it plans to start human trials of Flk-1 TK angiogenesis inhibitor against solid tumor cancers in mid-1997.