Genzyme Corp. made an up-front cash payment of $12 million to acquire an extensive array of gene therapy assets from Avigen Inc., including rights to a broad patent estate focused on adeno-associated virus (AAV) technology. In addition to the cash payment, Genzyme will make potential milestone and royalty payments based on the development, approval and sale of products developed under the intellectual property portfolio.
With an eye toward creating the first comprehensive genetic map of cancer, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) have launched a pilot effort to study the feasibility of a large-scale sequencing project. If successful, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) will serve as a basis for a better understanding of the genomic changes and molecular mechanisms of cancer.
Cyclacel Group and Seattle-based Xcyte Therapies announced recently the signing of a definitive agreement to merge the two companies into a publicly-traded international biopharmaceutical company called Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals. The deal largely revolves around the acquisition by Xcyte of all capital stock of Cyclacel Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyclacel Group.
Seeking new ways to improve both information sharing and hasten preclinical and clinical research of promising new cancer drugs, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and AstraZeneca in early January announced the creation of master agreements governing the terms of research that should help shave months off the time between when a promising drug is identified and when it is brought to clinical trials.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University may have discovered the next generation of drug and cell therapy delivery devices—dust-sized, porous, metallic 3-D microcontainers that have the potential to carry everything from pain medication to cell therapy. The findings of the team were published in the December issue of the journal Biomedical Microdevices.
Although it’s no mystery to cancer drug discovery researchers that coagulation and coagulation proteins impact on angiogenesis, trying to make a therapy based on that knowledge has been the tricky part. But EntreMed Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases, and Affymax Inc., which works in the area of discovery and development of novel peptide drugs, think they may be on the road to circumventing that problem, based on preclinical data regarding novel peptides they co-developed.
TransTech Pharma Inc. now has a worldwide research and license collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH using TransTech’s proprietary TTP Translational Technology. Under the terms of the agreement, which was finalized the end of last year, Boehringer Ingelheim has the exclusive right to develop and commercialize all compounds directed at the target covered by the collaboration.
Eidogen-Sertanty Inc., a computational drug discovery solutions provider, in mid-December announced a collaboration with fellow San Diego-based company, Kalypsys Inc., that is focused on the discovery of novel small molecules for anti-inflammatory indications.
Sage-N Research Inc., the maker of the Sorcerer analysis appliance and the SEQUEST Sorcerer system marketed by Thermo Electron Corp., plans to establish a research and development center in the New Science Park in Shanghai, China.
“The field has been prolific in developing new proteomics data analysis algorithms, but the challenge is to deliver them promptly to the researchers who need them, in a form that is easy to use, even for large data sets,” says David Chiang, CEO and chairman of Sage-N. “The new Sage-N Shanghai Center will extend the company’s previous successes in doing this.”
Adding another U.S. feather to its cap, De Novo Pharmaceuticals announced a collaborative agreement with Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech Genzyme that will see the U.K. company apply its proprietary molecular modeling system, SkelGen, to identify potential lead compounds against a Genzyme target. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
The patients may not be real, but the results are—and so is the U.S. patent No. 6,983,237 recently issued to Entelos Inc. and titled “Method and Apparatus for Conducting Linked Simulation Operations Utilizing a Computer-Based System Model.” Making that mouthful a bit simpler, Entelos has successfully patented its invention of a key technology to effectively develop and use virtual patients—in silico representations of actual patient subpopulations—to rapidly assess the safety and efficacy of drugs in humans.
Big changes are in the air at Tripos Inc., from streamlining of operations to potential major restructuring down the road—it’s just that no one, not even the leaders of the company, have any firm idea where that change may ultimately lead.
In January, PerkinElmer Inc. (PKI) announced the appointment of Dr. Karl Hecker as director of R&D for its Boston-based Center of Excellence. Hecker comes to PKI from Invitrogen and brings over 20 years of scientific experience in chemistry and biochemistry applications. Executive Editor Randall C Willis recently spoke with Hecker about his new role at PKI and the industry in general.
In early January PerkinElmer announced it signed a long-term licensing agreement with Austin, Texas-based Luminex Corp. for its multiplex bioassay technology called xMAP. PerkinElmer intends to use xMAP for products ranging from biomarker panels for pharmaceutical development and ADME/Tox to in vitro diagnostics in maternal, neonatal and prenatal health. PerkinElmer also plans to standardize its multiplex assay development on the Luminex xMAP platform.
QIAGEN N.V. and Eppendorf AG recently formed a strategic alliance that includes co-development and co-marketing of complementary and optimized products. In general, the alliance is intended to link what the companies call “two of the strongest brands and product lines in the industry” to ensure the highest compatibility of their products in research, applied testing and molecular diagnostics applications.
In a team-up that could vastly improve lab automation efficiency, Cerionx Inc. and BioProcessors Corp. have combined the TipCharger System of Cerionx with the SimCell high-throughput cell culture automation platform from BioProcessors. The end result is that inoculation needles used in the SimCell platform can now be sterilized using low temperatures and reportedly using about the same amount of power as a light bulb.