* Avigen Inc., of Alameda, Calif., said researchers at Johns HopkinsUniversity School of Medicine in Baltimore achieved positive resultsin preclinical studies of a gene therapy for Pompe's disease, a fatalgenetic heart disorder in children. The disease is characterized by agene mutation resulting in defective production of the enzyme, alphaglucosidase. The Johns Hopkins researchers used Avigen's adeno-associated virus vector system to deliver a normal alpha glucosidasegene to muscle cells taken from victims of Pompe's disease. Thestudies showed the gene was delivered successfully and producedhealthy levels of the enzyme. In tests on mice, gene expression ofalpha glucosidase was detected within two weeks of the gene therapyand continued for three months.

* Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., said results from a six-monthfollow-up of angioplasty patients participating in the large-scaleEPILOG trial of ReoPro demonstrated the anti-blood clotting drugachieved statistical significance vs. placebo in preventing deaths andheart attacks. ReoPro, a monoclonal antibody that inhibits plateletaggregation, was approved in the U.S. in late 1994. In December1995, an interim analysis of patients in the EPILOG trial, which wasconducted in the U.S. and Europe, showed ReoPro reduced heartattacks and deaths 30 days after the angioplasty procedures wereperformed. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 18, 1995, p. 1.)

* Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., sold Genetic Design Inc., ofGreensboro, N.C., to Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings Inc., ofBurlington, N.C., for an undisclosed amount. Genetic Design wasGenzyme's genetic identity testing service. Genzyme will continue todevelop and market genetic tests for medical purposes.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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