* Systemix Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., has receivedapproval from the FDA and European regulatory officialsto begin its first clinical trial using purified hematopoieticstem cells to treat myeloma patients. The Phase I/IIstudies will analyze the treatment's safety and rapidengraftment of the stem cells, which provide all of thecells of the blood and immune system. The treatment isconsidered a potential substitute for conventional bonemarrow or mobilized peripheral blood transplants.
* Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, has filed afederal lawsuit against Bio-Technology General Corp., ofIselin, N.J., and Novo-Nordisk AS, of Denmark, alleginginfringement of patents relating to Genentech'srecombinant human growth hormone. The lawsuit wasfiled in U.S. District Court in Delaware followingdismissal of Genentech's patent infringement complaintby an Administrative Law Judge of the U.S. InternationalTrade Commission.
* Gene Pharming Europe B.V., of Leiden, TheNetherlands _ a subsidiary of GenPharm International,of Mountain View, Calif. _ said it plans to acquire acontrolling interest in FinnGene Oy, of Kuopio Finland,resulting in the companies consolidating activities onproduction of biomedical proteins in the milk oftransgenic animals.
* Agracetus Inc., of Middleton, Wis., a subsidiary ofW.R. Grace & Co., of Boca Raton, Fla., has received a$1.1 million U.S. Commerce Department grant todevelop cotton plants with fiber genetically engineered tocontain biopolymers. Production of biopolymers isdesigned to enhance the cotton fiber, including making itmore resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage.
* ImmuCell Corp., of Portland, Maine, said preliminaryresults of a Phase I/II trial using CrytoGAM to battlecryptosporidiosis parasites showed the drug did notsignificantly reduce clinical symptoms. The parasitecauses severe diarrhea in advanced AIDS patients.ImmuCell and its partner, Univax Biologics Inc., ofRockville, Md., said they plan to conduct another PhaseI/II trial of Cryptogram for cryptosporidiosis infection.
* Corvas International Inc., of San Diego, has closed itssubsidiary, Corvas International, N.V., of Gent, Belgium,to consolidate all research and development activities inCalifornia.
* CytRx Corp., of Atlanta, said results of a pilot clinicalstudy show the company's RheothRx Injection mayreduce moderate or severe pain in patients suffering fromacute sickle cell disease. The data were presented at the36th annual meeting of the American Society ofHematology in Nashville. CytRx, which licensedRheothRx Injection to Burroughs Wellcome Co., ofResearch Triangle Park, N.C., said the drug is a nonionicsurfactant that may interfere in several ways with themechanisms of sickle cell crisis.
* Medarex Inc., Annandale, N.J., said the Frenchregulatory office, Agence du Medicament, has grantedapproval for a Phase I/II study of the company's MDX-240, for treatment of AIDS. The drug is designed todestroy HIV-infected cells by triggering the killingfunction of immune cells.
* Xenova Group plc, of Slough, England, andPharmaGenics Inc., of Allendale, N.J., have entered into acollaboration to develop drugs aimed at restoring thenormal function of the p53 tumor suppresser gene.Mutation of the p53 gene is found in about half of allcancers.
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