Xoma Corp. announced that it has been issued its third U.S.patent, No. 5,284,756, for a protein composition related to boneformation and repair. The Berkeley, Calif., company said itslatest patent describes the recombinant production of a proteinheterodimer that stimulates bone formation. Xoma(NASDAQ:XOMA) said its osteogenic protein may haveapplications in bone and dental repair, including bone fracturesand the regeneration of tooth dentin.

Repligen Corp. said Tuesday that it has been issued a U.S.patent, No. 5,284,827, covering the use of recombinant plateletfactor-4 (rPF4) to inhibit tumor growth in metastatic cancer.Repligen of Cambridge, Mass., is currently conducting PhaseI/II trials of rPF4 for the inhibition of angiogenesis (theformation of new blood vessels) in Kaposi's sarcoma. Thecompany (NASDAQ:RGEN) said it is also in Phase I/II clinicaldevelopment of rPF4 for renal cell carcinoma, malignantmelanoma and colon carcinoma.

A U.S. patent, No. 5,262,156, has been allowed to HycorBiomedical Inc. covering an antigenic preparation contained inan immunoassay for the detection of Helicobacter pyloriantibodies in serum and urine. H. pylori is suspected of beingthe cause of peptic ulcers, the Irvine, Calif., company said.Hycor (NASDAQ:HYBD) has received FDA clearance to market aserum-based immunoassay for H. pylori and is awaitingclearance to market a urine-based diagnostic test.

Anergen Inc. announced Tuesday that it has received its fourthU.S. patent, No. 5,284,935, covering its Anergix technology.According to the Redwood City, Calif., company, the patent isdirected to methods of preparing pharmaceutical compositionscomprising soluble major histocompatibility complex moleculeslinked to antigenic peptides recognized by specific subsets of T-cells. Anergen (NASDAQ:ANRG) is developing therapeutics forautoimmune diseases that inactivate or anergize disease-related T cells in the immune system.

BioGenex Laboratories has been issued U.S. Patent No.5,244,787, covering its Antigen Retrieval method for improvedanalysis of surgical biopsy specimens. According to theprivately held San Ramon, Calif., company, the AntigenRetrieval method is an improvement over currentimmunostaining tests used in diagnosing cancer. UnderBioGenex's method, tissue samples are immersed in an aqueoussolution and heated in a microwave oven.

Ixsys Inc. has been awarded a patent for the synthesis ofrandom codons, genes that encode amino acids. The technology,according to the privately held San Diego company, can be usedto facilitate the humanization and optimization of monoclonalantibodies, as well as in the creation of peptide libraries andthe optimization of peptides. The U.S. patent, No. 5,264,563,covers a method for alternating codons in a gene sequence.Entire codons can be replaced rather than individualnucleotides, particularly in regions that determine bindingcharacteristics, resulting in peptides and antibodies withenhanced efficacy and specificity, the company said.

U.S. Patent No. 5,283,034, covering technology for thesterilization of devices containing a biologically activecompound bound to a polymeric surface, has been issued toApplied Immune Sciences Inc. According to the Santa Clara,Calif., company (NASDAQ:AISX), the technology allowssterilization without leaching of the compound or loss of thecompound's specific biological activity. It is used in sterilizingthe company's AIS CELLector device, currently in clinical trialsfor use in bone marrow transplantation and for treatment ofAIDS and cancer. The device separates cells, providing highlypurified, antibody-free cells for therapeutic infusion, thecompany said.

Onconase, Alfacell Corp.'s anti-tumor agent, has received patentprotection from the European Patent Office. The patent coversthe substance and the method by which it is manufactured, thecompany said. Currently, Alfacell of Bloomfield, N.J., holds twoU.S. patents covering Onconase and the process used to make it.Onconase is a ribonuclease, an enzymatic protein that thecompany said can prevent cell growth and proliferation bybreaking down RNA within cells. The company is planningPhase III clinicals for Onconase for the treatment of pancreaticcancer, and may also test the drug against lung and metastaticbreast cancer.

The European Patent Office has allowed issuance of a patentcovering tumor necrosis treatment technology to TechnicloneInternational Corp. The patent, No. 87310566.2, coversdetection of necrotic malignant tissue and associated therapy.The Tustin, Calif., company said it holds two U.S. patents on thesame technology. In limited Phase I trials, the company said,researchers were able to use the tumor necrosis treatmenttechnology to deliver drugs to cancerous tumors withoutharming normal tissue.

Immunomedics Inc. has been issued a patent by the EuropeanPatent Office covering its bispecific humanized antibodyconjugates. The Morris Plains, N.J., company (NASDAQ:IMMU)said the conjugates can be used to diagnose and treat infectiousdiseases. They work by linking diagnostic agents, such asradioisotopes, drugs and other anti-microbial agents, tobispecific antibodies. The antibodies bind to different types ofwhite blood cells, the company said, providing improvedtargeting capability. The technology is used in Immunomedics'ImmuRAID-MN3, currently in Phase III trials in the U.S. andEurope for the detection of suspected infections affectingprosthetic joints, osteomyelitis in diabetic foot ulcers and longbone infections.

-- Karl A. Thiel Associate Editor

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