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BioTech Navigator Investment Newsletter - 1 00 News (Page 15)

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BioTech Navigator Investment Newsletter - 1 00 News
prototype instrument further enhances
the affinity-based biosensor technol-
ogy underlying all of its products,
which enables detection of biomolecu-
les and binding events in real time,
without the use of labels. Millennium
will utilize the improved biosensor
technology to accelerate its identifica-
tion of potential drug targets and of
small molecules that interact with
On December 9
, Millennium
announced that Wyeth-Ayerst Re-
search has accepted the ninth target
for high throughput screening since
the alliance to discover novel antibac-
terial targets began in December
1996. The delivery of the target
marks a significant productivity goal
of the alliance and will trigger an un-
disclosed milestone payment to Mil-

On December 23
, SuperGen
(BSR #20: Generics) has acquired an
7.5 percent equity interest in AVI
BioPharma for a payment of $5 mil-
lion in cash and stock. As a part of
the arrangement announced in No-
vember, SuperGen acquired exclusive
negotiating rights in the United States
to Avicine, AVI's propriety therapeu-
tic cancer vaccine currently in late
stage clinical development against a
variety of solid tumors. Presently,
BSR is not impressed with AVI's can-
cer vaccine.
On December 22
, Abbott Labora-
tories said it signed a sales and mar-
keting agreement with drug maker
SuperGen's for the cancer drug ru-
bitecan. Rubitecan is an oral chemo-
therapy compound currently in Phase
III studies for the treatment of pancre-
atic cancer, which kills more than
75,000 people each year in the US
and Europe. It is the fourth-leading
cause of cancer deaths in the US.
In addition, Abbott will become
the exclusive US distributor for
Nipent, SuperGen's currently mar-
BioTech Sage Report, January 2000
whether the profile of Coactinon justi-
fies the initiation of additional stud-
Triangle is planning to submit a
New Drug Application in late 2000.

On December 16
, Vertex (BSR
#12: Hepatitis C) and its partner
Glaxo Wellcome received fast track
designation for the HIV protease in-
hibitor VX-175/GW433908 from the
FDA. Fast track designation is
granted to products that may provide
a significant improvement in the
safety or effectiveness of the treatment
for a serious or life-threatening dis-
ease. VX-175/GW433908 is a pro-
drug of amprenavir that is designed to
provide more compact dosing for pa-

On December 21
, Vical (BSR
#22: DNA Vaccines) announced it
will continue recruiting patients as
planned in two ongoing registration
trials with Allovectin-7 in patients
with metastatic melanoma, based on
the recommendations of an independ-
ent Drug Safety Review Board
(DSRB). In both the Phase II trial
and in a randomized, controlled Phase
III trial, the DSRB found no safety
issues to date that would require
modification or discontinuation of
either trial.
Allovectin-7 is currently in ad-
vanced clinical testing for patients
with metastatic melanoma and for
patients with persistent or recurrent
tumors of the head and neck.

keted product for the treatment of
hairy cell leukemia. SuperGen retains
US marketing rights for Nipent.
On December 6
, Johns Hopkins
Study showed SuperGen's Nipent was
effective in treating refractory grade
IV graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
GVHD is fatal and is currently treated
unsuccessfully with immunosuppres-
sive therapies such as cyclosporine.
Nipent is currently being marketed
in the US for the treatment of hairy
cell leukemia. In addition, clinical
trials of Nipent are under way to de-
termine the drug's effectiveness in
fighting cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
(CTCL), chronic lymphocytic leuke-
mia (CLL), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
(NHL) and prolymphocytic leukemia.
On December 2
, SuperGen an-
nounced that it has entered into a li-
censing and research agreement with
the Clayton Foundation for Research
and its technology transfer organiza-
tion, Research Development Founda-
tion. Under the terms of the agree-
ment, SuperGen has acquired world-
wide rights to inhaled versions of for-
mulations of camptothecins, including
rubitecan, and taxanes, including pa-
clitaxel (Taxol). This licensing agree-
ment adds two more drug candidates
to Supergen's product portfolio.

On December 10
, Triangle (BSR
#33: AIDS) announced that the FDA
has advised Triangle that it would
need to conduct one or possibly two
additional Phase III studies in order to
prove that regimens containing Coac-
tinon are equivalent or superior to
current first line regimens used to
treat HIV-infected patients.
Over the first half of 2000, Trian-
gle Pharmaceuticals will review the
results of an ongoing study, MKC-
401, which compares the use of Coac-
tinon in conjunction with stavudine
and Coviracil(R) (emtricitabine) with
a regimen of abacavir, stavudine and
Coviracil. This study will determine

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