* Cangene Inc., of Toronto, launched a clinical trial inCanada of a hyperimmune product for treatment ofvaricella zoster, the virus that causes chicken pox. Thedrug is a protein from human plasma immunized againstthe virus. Cangene is part of the Toronto-based ApotexGroup.
* Genta Inc., of San Diego, began Phase I/II trials of itsantisense compound, Anticode G3139, for non-Hodgkin'slymphoma in England. The drug is designed to inhibit thefunction of the BCL2 gene, which is believed to blockprogrammed cell death, or apoptosis, in cancer tumors,particularly lymphomas. The dose-escalating studies willinvolve 30 patients. In addition to determining amaximum dose toleration for the drug, the trials willassess anti-tumor activity. Genta expects to file aninvestigational new drug application with the FDA nextyear to begin clinical studies in the U.S.
* Lidak Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., raised$9 million in the first stage of a planned $15 millionfinancing. The company sold $1.5 million in commonstock and $7.5 million of two-year convertible notes totwo institutional investors. The per-share price of thenotes will be determined at the time of conversion.
* SuperGen Inc., of Emeryville, Calif., said it receivedorphan drug status from the FDA for an aplastic anemiatreatment, RF 1017. The drug is a human hormonederivative being evaluated in Phase I/II trials.
* T Cell Sciences Inc., of Needham, Mass., said initialclinical trials of TP10 showed the compound reducedcomplement activation in patients with acute lunginjuries. TP10 is a soluble version of a receptor on redblood cells. By inhibiting a complement response, thedrug is designed to prevent the unleashing of cell-destroying enzymes, which when produced in excess cancause dangerous inflammation associated with suchdisorders as cardiac reperfusion, transplant rejection andrespiratory ailments. Phase II trials of TP10 are expectedto begin in 1996 for adult respiratory distress syndrome.
* Integra LifeSciences Corp., of Plainsboro, N.J.,received FDA approval to export its Integra artificial skinto Ireland. The product is used to restore dermal tissue inburn patients.
* Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco,said Gerald Reaven, vice president of research, receivedthe sixth annual Josiah Kirby Lilly Sr. DistinguishedService Award from the American Diabetes Association.Reaven's major focus is non-insulin dependent diabetesmellitus.
* Therexsys Ltd., of Keele, England, received 60,000from the U.K.'s Department of Industry & Trade forresearch into the manufacture of gene-based medicines.The company is developing systems for delivering genesto correct diseases.
* Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.,reported positive data from a Phase I/II study of its anti-multidrug resistance compound, VX-710, in combinationwith the anti-cancer drug, doxorubicin. VX-710 isdesigned to prevent tumor cells' multidrug resistancegene from pumping out chemotherapeutics before theyhave a chance to work. The ongoing Vertex study incancer patients shows VX-710 is well-tolerated andimaging data indicates the compound appears to block theefflux mechanism.
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