* Auragen Inc., of Middleton, Wis., a subsidiary of W.R. Grace Co.,of Boca Raton, Fla., received a three-year $960,000 grant from theU.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's BreastCancer Research Program for development of a breast cancer genetherapy. Auragen's research focuses on using a "gene gun" to delivertherapeutic genes to tissues.
* Cel-Sci Corp., of Alexandria, Va., said preliminary data from aPhase I safety study of its AIDS vaccine, called HGP-30, showed thevaccine was safe and stabilized the disease in patients with CD4counts between 300 and 750. The trial is expected to be complete bythe summer of 1997.
* Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., completed its $109 millionbuyback of Neozyme II Corp., a research spin-off formed in 1992 todevelop gene therapies for cystic fibrosis.
* Ilex Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, entered a licensingagreement with New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnsonsubsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, of Beerse, Belgium, fordevelopment of crisnatol mesylate for treatment of brain tumors.Johnson & Johnson made a $1 million equity investment in Ilex andwill contribute milestone payments and royalties. The drug is beingevaluated in a Phase III trial.
* ImClone Systems Inc., of New York, licensed from the NationalInstitutes of Health, in Bethesda, Md., worldwide rights to the delta-like (DLK) protein and its gene. DLK, the company said, is part of afamily of proteins that keep cells in an undifferentiated state and mayhave applications for expanding stem cells for use in bone marrowtransplants and gene therapy.
* Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said Spain's Ministryof Health will conduct a Phase II trial of Remune, the company'sHIV therapeutic vaccine, in combination with antiviral drugs to treatAIDS. The study, expected to take three years to complete, willinvolve 300 patients with CD4 counts between 300 and 500.
* Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said itspartner Pfizer Inc., of New York, began clinical trials of the former'spulmonary delivery system for insulin. Inhale said Pfizer also made a$5 million equity investment purchasing about 272,500 shares at$18.35 per share.
* NeXstar Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., said the FDAapproved the company's investigational new drug application tobegin clinical trials with MiKasome, a liposomal form of theantibiotic amikacin. MiKasome may have applications for treatinglung infections such as Pseudomonas pneumonia and tuberculosis.Also NeXstar said preclinical studies showed an aptamer antagonistof vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibited blood vesselformation, or angiogenesis. In addition a liposomal form of theantagonist prevented tumor growth in mice. The compound is beingdeveloped as an anticancer drug.
* Prizm Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said the company andthe University of Pittsburgh received a $99,830 Phase I SmallBusiness Technology Transfer grant from the National Institutes ofHealth in Bethesda, Md., for research into use of fibroblast growthfactor receptor I and a tumor marker for melanoma.
* Protein Design Labs Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., signed anagreement giving Roche Holding Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, a non-exclusive license to use Protein Design's technology to humanize amouse monoclonal antibody for rheumatoid arthritis and otherautoimmune diseases. The collaboration is the second between thetwo companies. Protein Design will receive a signing fee, milestonepayments and royalties. Financial terms were not disclosed.
* SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., said itexpanded its licensing agreement with Madison, N.J.-based Schering-Plough Corp.'s Japanese subsidiary Schering-Plough K.K. for rightsto SciClone's Zadaxin (thymosin alpha 1). Schering-Plough, which isdeveloping Zadaxin for hepatitis B in Japan, also will begin studiesof the drug in combination with Schering-Plough's Intron A forhepatitis C. Trials in hepatitis B and C are expected to begin withinthe first six months of 1997 in Japan. Financial terms were notdisclosed.
* Sequus Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New York, filed an investigationalnew drug application with FDA to begin clinical trials of SPI-77, aliposomal form of anti-cancer drug cisplatin, for treatment of solidtumors. n
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