* COR Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, entered into acollaboration with ThromboSys Inc., of Philadelphia, for drugdiscovery based on research into integrin signal transduction.Integrins, which are cell adhesion receptors, may be involved in avariety of diseases, such as cardiovascular disorders. COR will fundresearch at privately held ThromboSys for three years, makemilestone payments and contribute royalties in return to exclusiverights to products emerging from the collaboration. COR alsopurchased $400,000 worth of preferred shares in ThromboSys.
* DepoTech Corp., of San Diego, said results from a Phase I trial ofDepoAmikacin showed the drug _ a sustained release form of theantibiotic, amikacin, for bacterial infections _ was well tolerated atall five dose levels tested. DepoAmikacin is based on the company'sdrug delivery technology, DepoFoam.
* Dyax Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said it has agreements for itsphage display technology with five companies and will receivelicense fees, milestone payments and royalties on drugs developedwith the science. Financial terms were not disclosed. In phagedisplay, genes from a variety of species can be spliced intobacteriophage which then expresses the proteins on the externalsurface of the virus. Millions of variants of the original protein areproduced and can be screened for drug activity against a specifictarget. Companies that licensed the technology include GenzymeCorp., of Cambridge, Mass., Merck & Co., of Whitehouse Station,N.J., Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., Scios Inc., of MountainView, Calif., and Pharmaceutical Peptides Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.
* Genelabs Technologies Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., began asecond Phase III trial of GL701 for systemic lupus erythamatosus, aninflammatory connective tissue disorder that strikes primarily womenand affects joints, kidneys and other organs. The drug is a naturallyoccurring hormone, dehydroepiandrosterone, produced by theadrenal glands and is found in abnormally low levels in lupuspatients. About 300 women, who will continue to receive theircurrent therapies, will be enrolled in the trial and will receive eitherGL701 or a placebo. An ongoing Phase III trial is designed todetermine if GL701 can reduce reliance on prednisone, a standardtreatment corticosteroid that can have adverse side effects.
* Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., received its firstmilestone payment in a collaboration with Pioneer Hi-BredInternational Inc., of Des Moines, Iowa, in their collaboration onsequencing the corn genome. Payments from Pioneer Hi-Bred total$8 million following the milestone achievement.
* Hybridon Inc., of Worcester, Mass., was scheduled to begin twonew clinical trials in April 1996 of GEM 91 for treatment of HIV andAIDS. One trial is slated for France and the other will be held in theU.K. The latter study will evaluate GEM 91 in combination withAZT. GEM 91 is an antisense compound composed of syntheticoligonucleotides that prevent a targeted gene's messenger RNA fromcompleting its task of encoding a protein. In AIDS, the drug isdesigned to prevent HIV's gag gene from expressing a protein usedin viral replication. Hybridon has other clinical trials of GEM 91ongoing in the U.S. and France.
* VivoRx Inc. said its subsidiary, VivoRx Pharmaceuticals Inc., bothof Santa Monica, Calif., each received a $2 million investment fromPremier Inc., of Charlotte, N.C. Premier is a health care allianceformed from the merger of American Healthcare Systems, PremierHealth Alliance Inc. and the SunHealth Alliance. VivoRx andVivoRx Pharmaceuticals are developing methods of delivering livingcells and drugs.
* Imutec Corp., of Toronto, received FDA approval for a Phase I/IItrial of its lead drug, Virulizin, for pancreatic adenocarcinoma.Virulizin, derived from bovine bile, is designed to stimulate animmune system response against cancer cells. The clinical study isexpected to begin in May 1996.
* Repligen Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said it has endednegotiations with Genzyme Corp., also of Cambridge, for sale of theformer's Protein A technology, diagnostics reagents business andAllegro Biologics unit. The two signed a letter of intent on a cashsale, but a definitive agreement was not reached. Protein A is used topurify monoclonal antibodies and the Allegro unit providespreclinical and Phase I/II testing materials.
* Seragen Inc., of Hopkinton, Mass., licensed patents to Sandoz Ltd.,of Basel, Switzerland, covering monoclonal antibodies to theinterleukin-2 receptor for treatment of organ transplant rejection andother immune system disorders. Financial terms were not disclosed.
* SunPharm Corp., of Jacksonville, Fla., entered an agreement withShanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry in China for production ofthe iron chelator drug, desferrioxamine, which is used formanagement of excessive iron in patients undergoing bloodtransfusions. SunPharm licensed from the University of Florida, ofGainesville, a process for making the drug by chemical synthesisrather than isolating it from microorganisms.
* SuperGen Inc., of Emeryville, Calif., added another $3.15 millionto its March 12, 1996, initial public offering with the exercise ofoverallotment options by the lead underwriter, Paulson InvestmentCo. Inc., of Portland, Ore. The company sold a total of more thanfour million units at $6 each for gross proceeds of $24.15 million.Each unit consists of one share and one warrant to buy another sharefor $9. (See BioWorld Today, March 14, 1996, p. 2.)
* The Lemelson Foundation, of New York, in association with theMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), of Cambridge, Mass.,named Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer 1996 co-recipients of the$500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for invention and innovation. Cohen,of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and Boyer, of theUniversity of California at San Francisco, developed the method forproducing recombinant DNA in 1973 and are credited with launchingthe biotechnology industry.
* The Liposome Co., of Princeton, N.J., said data from a Phase I/IItrial of Abelcet, which uses a lipid complex for delivery of the anti-fungal drug, amphotericin B, showed the product was effective intreating children with hepatosplenic candidiasis, a fungus infection ofthe liver and spleen. The studies also revealed no kidney toxicity sideeffects. Abelcet was approved by the FDA in November 1995 as asecond-line therapy for aspergillosis.
* Vaxcel Inc., of Atlanta, signed an agreement with Corixa Corp., ofSeattle, for use of the former's Optivax vaccine delivery and adjuvantsystem with vaccines under development by Corixa. Financial termswere not disclosed. Vaxcel is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based CytRxCorp.
* ViroPharma Inc., of Malvern, Pa., said data from Phase II trials ofVP 63843 demonstrated the antiviral compound was effective inreducing symptoms associated with an enterovirus that causes flu-likesymptoms. The small molecule drug is designed to inhibit replicationof RNA viruses within the picornavirus family, such as the commoncold and viruses of the gastrointestinal tract. The study involved 33volunteers who were infected with the enterovirus. Sixteen receivedthe drug twice a day for a week and the others received a placebo.ViroPharm said on peak symptom days 50 percent of the placebogroup were sick compared with none in the drug group.
(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.