* Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., and its partnerHoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., began a Phase I safety trialof an anticancer drug, AG3340. The small molecule is designed toinhibit matrix metalloproteinases, which are enzymes that may play arole in tumor growth.

* Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., received FDAapproval to begin a second clinical trial of its lead drug, a C5inhibitor, referred to as 5G1.1-SC, for prevention of tissue damageduring cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. The drug is designed toinhibit activation of the body's complement cascade, which can causetissue damaging inflammation.

* Antex Biologics Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., received a Phase ISmall Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Departmentof Defense to develop diagnostics for detecting gastrointestinaldiseases caused by Campylobacter and Shigella bacteria.

* Arris Pharmaceutical Corp., of South San Francisco, said data froma Phase IIa study of APC-366 showed the tryptase inhibitor, targetedfor treatment of asthma, protected patients against allergen-inducedairway responses and histamine-induced bronchialhyperresponsiveness. A follow-on Phase IIa trial is under way with16 mild asthmatic patients.

* Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., entered into a second licensingagreement with Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, related toGeron's technology targeting the telomerase enzyme for treatment ofcancer. The most recent collaboration with Kyowa Hakko'sdiagnostic subsidiary, Kyowa Medex Co. Ltd., covers use of Geron'sproprietary assay for detection of telomerase activity in tumors.Geron formed its first alliance with Kyowa Hakko in April 1995 todevelop small molecules that inhibit telomerase and induce tumorcell death. Financial terms were not disclosed.

* The National Center for Genome Resources, of Sante Fe, a non-profit government supported center, said two of its scientists,Christopher Fields and Peter Schad, will participate in formation of aNational Biotechnology Information Facility (NBIF) at New MexicoState University in Las Cruces. The facility is being established withan $8.5 million, five-year, grant from the U.S. Army.

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