SOMATOGEN PLANS IND FOR HEMOGLOBINSomatogen Inc. of Boulder, Colo., plans to submit anInvestigational New Drug application this year to start clinicaltesting of a genetically engineered human hemoglobin.

Construction is nearly completed on a production facility tosupply hemoglobin tfor clinical testing, Charles Scoggins,president and chief executive officer of the privately heldcompany, told the Hambrecht & Quist Conference in LifeSciences in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The blood substitutes market, which some analysts estimatecould grow to $3 billion worldwide, has tempted manycorporate players. But the technical difficulties of creating asafe, stable compound with good oxygen-carrying capacity hasstymied researchers, according to Scoggins.

Somatogen faced the challenge by developing a recombinantform of human hemoglobin. Scoggins said that it remains stablein the body, delivers a greater proportion of oxygen to tissuesthan native hemoglobin, can be manufactured with good yieldin large amounts, and shows promise of attaining a shelf life ofone year at room temperatures.

MELANOMA PATIENTS IMPROVE WITH RIBI DRUG

Patients with late-stage melanoma who were treated in PhaseII trials of Ribi Immunochem Research Inc.'s melanomatherapeutic showed significantly higher survival rates, thecompany reported Wednesday.

Ribi (NASDAQ:RIBI) of Hamilton, Mont., is talking with apotential co-marketing partner, said Robert Ivy, Ribi'spresident and chief executive officer.

In Phase I/II studies of 18 surgery patients at high risk fordeveloping septic shock, Ribi's MPL prophylacticimmunostimulant reduced infection rates by 40 percent andalso reduced the length of hospital stays. Ribi said that MPLblocks the release of septic shock-inducing cytokines byendotoxin. It also appears to reduce tissue damage in animalheart attack models, possibly by blocking the release ofoxygen-free radicals by neutrophils. More animal studies areplanned.

Ribi has about $5.3 million in cash and a burn rate of about$2.3 million, Ivy said. Ribi's goals for 1991 are to find acorporate partner, license its adjuvant technology to vaccinecompanies and raise some private funding, he said.

SYNERGEN ANTICIPATES PHASE III FOR FGF

Synergen Inc. said it expects to complete this year Phase IIItrials of its Trofak fibroblast growth factor (FGF) for treatingchronic skin ulcers and plans to file a new drug application(NDA) during next year's first quarter.

Boulder, Colo.-based Synergen (NASDAQ: SYGN) plans to file inthe first half of this year an Investigational New Drugapplication for IL1-ra to treat inflammatory bowel disease .

It expects to soon raise $50 million to fund development ofIL1-ra through a partnership. As a result of research anddevelopment costs, Synergen expects to report losses through1992, said Jon Saxe, the company's president.

LIPOSOME CO. CONSIDERS OFFERING TO FUND G-65 ...

The Liposome Co. (NASDAQ:LIPO) of Princeton, N.J., said thatit may attempt a product-specific unit offering to fundcommercial development of its liposomal gentamycin, G-65. ...Marrow-Tech Inc. (NASDAQ:MAROA) of La Jolla, Calif., and theUniversity of California, San Diego, said they will receive a$370,000 State of California Competitive Technology grant tosupport clinical trials of the company's dermal replacementproduct, DermaGraft, at the UCSD Burn Center. ... Cephalon Inc.of West Chester, Pa., plans to file late this year its firstInvestigational New Drug (IND) application for CEP151neuronal growth factor to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ...... Currently trying to raise additional capital, ImmunetechPharmaceuticals of San Diego announced an exclusiveagreement with Parke-Davis to develop two Parke-Daviscompounds to treat asthma. ... SyStemix Inc. of Menlo Park,Calif., plans to start clinical trials early this year using humanstem cells in bone marrow transplants.

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

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