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Eli Lilly and Isis Pharmaceuticals, CytRx, and Broad Institute and Affymetrix

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Lilly Licenses Second Antisense Drug from Isis

Isis Pharmaceuticals said this week that LY2275796, its investigational antisense-based cancer drug, has been licensed by Eli Lilly.

According to Isis, LY2275796 targets eukaryotic initiation factor-4E, a protein involved in the translation of key growth and survival factors that drive tumor progression, angiogenesis, and metastases.

The compound was discovered under a broad collaboration between the companies and is the second Lilly has licensed for development, Isis said. In conjunction with the licensing, Isis has received $750,000 from Lilly.

“We have successfully licensed this compound and LY2181308, a second-generation drug candidate against the cancer target survivin, which is planned to enter Phase 1 trials later this year,” Frank Bennett, vice president of antisense research at Isis, said in a statement. “We are optimistic that additional drug candidates will emerge from the alliance not only for cancer, but also for inflammatory and metabolic diseases.”

Under the terms of the companies’ arrangement, Lilly will fund the continued development of LY2275796, and will pay Isis development and regulatory milestones, as well as royalties.


CytRx Says Enrollment in HIV Vaccine Trial Nearing Completion

CytRx said this week that enrollment in the phase I trial of its experimental DNA-based HIV vaccine is “proceeding to the final cohort of patients.”

The vaccine uses technology CytRx licensed from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Advanced BioScience Laboratories. The trial is set to enroll a total of 36 patients who are not infected with HIV.

“Recruitment to date has allowed us to quickly enroll the first two groups for the trial,” Jeff Kennedy, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and principal investigator of the clinical trial. “Interim safety and tolerability data from these groups are currently being reviewed, and we are optimistic that we will get permission from our institutional review board to recruit for the remaining 12 slots for the escalated DNA dose beginning in late September through October.”


Broad Institute to Use Affymetrix Arrays in Three Genomics Projects

Affymetrix said this week that scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University will use the company’s new GeneChip high-throughput system to perform research projects in RNA expression analysis, SNP genotyping, and DNA resequencing.

The institute’s researchers plan to conduct whole-genome RNA expression studies of several thousand samples, using GeneChip microarrays, and to assemble the results into a gene expression database of different physiological and disease conditions.

In a genotyping study, researchers at the Broad Institute plan to use GeneChip SNP genotyping arrays to identify genes associated with common complex diseases. Affymetrix said it will make the arrays, which are based on the technology of its current Mapping 10K and Mapping 100K arrays, broadly available.

Finally, Broad Institute scientists plan to discover DNA sequence variations in cancer samples using CustomSeq resequencing arrays. They will also collaborate with Affymetrix to develop algorithms for automated sequence analysis.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.