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AVI BioPharma and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Antisense Therapeutics, NeoPharm, and Invitrogen and Illumina


AVI Inks Antisense Research Deal with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

AVI BioPharma said this week that it has signed a deal to conduct collaborative research on the effect of its antisense agents against dengue and other flavivirus infections with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

The effort, said AVI, is part of a cooperative research and development agreement established with WRAIR as part of AVI’s ongoing efforts in biodefense with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Antisense Therapeutics MS Drug Enters Phase IIa Study

Antisense Therapeutics said today that it and Isis Pharmaceuticals have begun a phase IIa trial of the antisense drug ATL1102 in patients with multiple sclerosis.

According to Antisense Therapeutics, the drug inhibits an immune system protein called VLA-4, which is known to play a role in the onset and progression of MS.

The trial will enroll approximately 60 patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Patients will receive ATL1102 or placebo over eight weeks via subcutaneous injection on a twice-a-week dosing schedule at a dose of 400 mg per week. The goal of the trial is to obtain preliminary evidence of the drug’s effectiveness, which will be evaluated using MRI indices. MRI’s will be conducted at monthly intervals over the eight-week dosing period and at monthly intervals during the eight-week period following completion of dosing.

ALT1102 was discovered by Isis and licensed to Antisense Therapeutics in 2001.

NeoPharm Signs Deal for NeoPhectin Technology

NeoPharm said this week that it has signed a deal to provide an undisclosed private biotechnology company with its NeoPhectin delivery technology.

The technology will be applied to the development of nucleic acid drugs, said NeoPharm.

Under the deal, NeoPharm is entitled to receive cash payments worth $500,000 over the next six months. Additionally, the company said it may negotiate a license agreement for any of the customized NeoPhectin formulations that may be developed commercially.

Invitrogen Signs Marketing Deal with Illumina

Invitrogen and Illumina this week announced a collaboration to distribute Illumina’s Oligator DNA synthesis technology through Invitrogen’s marketing channels.

Under the terms of the agreement, Invitrogen will invest $3.4 million in Illumina’s San Diego, Calif., facility to extend Illumina’s Oligator technology into tube-based oligonucleotide products and to transfer the technology to two Invitrogen facilities outside North America.

The companies said that they expect to transition all responsibility for sales, marketing, and technical support for the Oligator products to Invitrogen over the “next several quarters” while Illumina builds its capability to manufacture tube-based oligos.

Revenues from the products will be split equally between the two companies.