* Allergan Ligand Retinoid Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, reportedpositive findings from a Phase I/II trial of its 9-cis-retinoic acid,ALRT 1057, for acute promyelocytic leukemia. Investigators said sixof 15 patients receiving the oral drug experienced completeremissions and have remained disease free for two to 18 months. Thecompany, _ formed by Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego,and Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif. _ expects to begin a Phase II/IIItrial this year.
* Appollo Genetics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said AthenaNeurosciences Inc., of South San Francisco, exercised an option tobuy an exclusive license from Appollo for development of itsestrogen compounds for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders,such as Alzheimer's disease. Financial terms were not disclosed.
* Calgene Inc., of Davis, Calif., said it will receive $17 million incash from Monsanto Co., of St. Louis, as part of a cross-licensingagreement involving the companies' oilseed research programs. Thedeal also involves technology for genetically engineered corn,soybean and sunflower crops. Monsanto owns 49.9 percent ofCalgene.
* Celtrix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., began twoPhase I safety trials in healthy volunteers of SomatoKine, which is acombination of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and a majorbinding protein (BP3) to offset adverse, dose-limiting side effects ofIGF-1 alone. One study will be an open-label dose escalation test andthe other will be a placebo-controlled evaluation. IGF-1 and BP3,which exist together naturally in the body, are involved in tissuerepair, organ function and muscle and bone formation. Celtrix istargeting SomatoKine initially as a hormone replacement for use inconjunction with major surgeries and for treatment of organ damageand traumatic injury.
* Coulter Pharmaceutical Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said a Phase I/IItrial of its Anti-B1 monoclonal antibody, which carries radioactiveiodine, showed the treatment reduced tumors in nearly 75 percent of47 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The study's investigatorssaid the antibodies, which transport radiation directly to the tumorsite, caused minimal or no side effects. Coulter has a Phase II/III trialof the radioactive antibody under way. The antibody targets a proteinon the surface of B cells.
* Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, changed its name fromIMRE Corp. and is trading on NASDAQ under the symbol CYPB.
* ImClone Systems Inc., of New York, said a Phase Ib/IIa trial of itsepidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor antagonist, C225, showedthe drug was able to stabilize seven of 17 advanced cancer patientsafter four weeks. The company said the seven patients continued toreceive the treatments for another month. No major toxicities werereported. The EGF receptor is over-expressed on malignant cells ofabout one-third of all cancers. Trials are ongoing in several cancers.
* Immunomedics Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., said the EuropeanUnion's (EU) Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products(CPMP) recommended approval of the company's CEA-Scandiagnostic imaging agent for colorectal cancer. The company said theCPMP opinion is the final step before authorization to market in the15 countries of the EU. CEA-Scan uses a fragment of a mousemonoclonal antibody against the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA),which is expressed by more than 90 percent of colorectal cancers andother forms of cancer. Immunomedics also is evaluating the anti-CEAantibody labeled with radioactive iodine to treat ovarian cancer. APhase I study showed the antibody targeted 94 percent of diseasesites in 11 patients and also revealed evidence of anti-tumor activity.
* Jenner Technologies Inc., of Danville, Calif., entered a licensingagreement with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research fordevelopment of a liposomal manufacturing process. Financial termswere not disclosed. Privately held Jenner also said it generated $3million in financing, raising its total funding since 1992 to $5.6million.
* Kosan Biosciences Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., raised $3 million infinancing from Chiron Corp., of Emeryville; Alta Partners, a SanFrancisco venture capital firm; and Kosan's co-founder, Daniel Santi,of the University of California at San Franciso. Chiron's investmentalso triggered a collaboration with Kosan. The privately held start-upuses combinatorial biosynthesis to generate genetically engineeredchemicals related to polypeptides, which are found in soil bacteriaand are used to make antibiotics.
* Novopharm Biotech Inc., of Toronto, received FDA approval tobegin Phase I trials of NOVOMAb-G2, a human monoclonalantibody to an antigen present in numerous cancers. The initialstudies will target melanoma.
* VIMRx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Stamford, Conn., said it acquiredRibonetics GmbH, of Gottingen, Germany. VIMRx, which hascollaborated with Ribonetics on its RILON technology since 1995,paid $1.5 million in cash, issued warrants for up to 500,000 sharesand granted Ribonetics stockholders a 10 percent interest in aVIMRx subsidiary developing RILON-based products. RILONtechnology targets messenger RNA to prevent production of disease-causing proteins. VIMRx also said it raised $18 million in netproceeds on the exercise of 12.5 million Class A warrants forcommon shares at $1.50 per share.
(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.