VESTAR OBTAINS LIPOSOME PATENTVestar Inc. on Tuesday received a key patent protecting its useof small liposomes to target chemotherapeutic drugs andimaging agents to tumors.

U.S.Patent No. 5,019,369 covers all liposomes smaller than 200nanometers, said Michael E. Hart, chief financial officer for theSan Dimas, Calif., company. Vestar's liposomes, which average60 to 70 nanometers, work better than their largercounterparts because they remain in the blood stream longer,Hart said. The liposomes aggregate in tumors at sites whereblood capillaries are leaky. This leads to increased uptake ofdrug by the tumor.

The patent covers Vestar's anti-cancer drugs DaunoXome andDoXome, which consist of liposomes containing daunorubicinand doxorubicin, respectively. DaunoXome is in Phase II clinicaltrials to treat Kaposi's sarcoma, and DoXome is undergoingpreclinical evaluation, said Hart. The patent also covers VesCan,Vestar's indium-111 imaging agent for cancer, currently inPhase III trials.

Vestar stock (NASDAQ:VSTR) closed Wednesday at $8.50, up $1.


Centocor Inc. common stock fell $2 on Wednesday to $36 afterreports that Kidder Peabody analyst Robert Kupor expects thecompany's Centoxin drug for septic shock to be reviewed by aFood and Drug Administration advisory committee inSeptember rather than this summer, as had been widelyassumed. Kupor lowered his rating on the Malvern, Pa.,company (NASDAQ:CNTO) from a "buy" to a "hold."

Stock in Xoma Corp. of Berkeley, Calif., which is also awaitingFDA review of its E5 septic shock drug, rose 75 cents, closing at$29.50.


Cephalon Inc. said Wednesday that it has received a second $5million payment from Schering-Plough Corp. under acollaborative agreement to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer'sdisease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Under the agreement, signed last June, Schering may provideup to $20 million to Cephalon over a five-year period. Cephalonis developing protease inhibitors to prevent the formation ofamyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.Proteases are enzymes that break up proteins.

Schering is currently funding Cephalon's work on clipsininhibitors. But Jack Lief, vice president of corporatedevelopment, said Cephalon anticipates that Schering willexercise its option to use the remaining $10 million to fundother protease projects, such as the agreement with BostonUniversity that Cephalon announced Tuesday.

The BU agreement gives the West Chester, Pa., company(NASDAQ:CEPH) exclusive rights to research on two newproteases thought to play a role in Alzheimer's. -- KB


Celtrix Laboratories Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., has filed for anoffering of 2.1 million shares of common stock. Following theoffering, Celtrix will have 4.5 million shares of stockoutstanding. Underwriters Robertson, Stephens & Co. of SanFrancisco and Oppenheimer & Co. Inc of Los Angeles have anoption to buy 315,000 more shares to cover overallotments.

Celtrix, which is developing drugs based on transforminggrowth factor beta, became a public company in February,when it was spun off by Collagen Corp. Celtrix stock(NASDAQ:CTRX) closed Wednesday at $8.25, down 38 cents.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.