SPHINX PUTS CELL MEMBRANE EXPERTISE TO WORKSphinx Pharmaceuticals Corp. of Durham, N.C., is using itsexpertise in cell membrane lipids (fats) and the intracellularlipid messengers, which convey information between surfacereceptors and the cell's interior, as the basis for a drug-discovery program.

The company's most advanced research program is focused onthe intracellular enzyme, protein kinase C, which is activatedby membrane-bound lipids and is a key part of cell growthregulation and inflammation. Compounds that block proteinkinase C are expected to be useful in treating psoriasis,cardiovascular disease, cancer, central nervous systemdisorders, AIDS and viral infections.

Sphinx announced earlier this year plans to file aninvestigational new drug application with the Food and DrugAdministration for the treatment of psoriasis, cardiovasculardisease and solid tumors by the end of 1991.

Sphinx was formed in 1987 by Robert Bell, a Duke Universitybiochemistry professor with 20 years of experience in lipidsresearch. It has raised $2.4 million from Oxford Partners, S.R.One, Intersouth Partners and Duke University, and seeks anadditional $6.5 million in financing.


Oxford GlycoSystems Ltd. (OGS), of Abingdon, U.K., aims to raise$6 million in a third round of private financing, Dale Pfost,managing director and chief executive, told BioWorld.

The money is to fund the company's expansion. Founded in1988 to commercialize carbohydrate-related technologiesdeveloped at Oxford University, OGS sells a line of biochemicalreagents and analytical services to pharmaceutical andbiotechnology companies. It raised $8 million in prior roundsfrom investors, including Monsanto Co., Kleiner Perkins Caufield& Byers, Advent Ltd., Alafi Capital, Inovelf (Elf Acquitaine'sventure group) and Baring Brothers/Hambrecht & Quist.


Bios Corp. of New Haven, Conn., sees its supplier business as asource of short-term profits while it looks for businessopportunities arising from its gene expertise, according to JohnMarsden, Bios' president and chief executive officer. Thecompany designs and develops products used in gene mappingand cloning.

Bios markets DNA and RNA sequences from several sources,probe labeling and gene amplification kits, equipment forrunning and processing electrophoresis gels, and reagents forcloning and probe characterization.

Bios provides research services and is developing a DNA-baseddiagnostic for certain dementias. It is negotiating with themilitary regarding the use of gene mapping for identificationpurposes.

Founded in 1986, Bios received a $4 million first-roundfinancing from American Capital, an operating company in theareas of environmental engineering and health care. Bios wantsto raise an additional $2 million.

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