Adventrx Shares Plummet, Pfizer Adds UC San Diego to its Network, New RNAi Center Opens, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

Xconomy San Diego — 

San Diego’s life sciences community was teeming with news over the past week. We’ve got it all cultivated for you.

—Shares of San Diego’s Adventrx Pharmaceuticals (NYSE Amex: ANX) plunged by more than 55 percent after the biotech company said the FDA refused to approve its new lung-cancer drug vinorelbine injectable emulsion (Exelbine) until a key bio-equivalence trial is repeated. Adventrx CEO Brian Culley has said the company has enough capital to shift its focus to other drugs in its pipeline.

Qualcomm’s (NASDAQ: QCOM) wireless health team hit the halfway mark today in an eight-week fitness challenge that has equipped 32 employees with wireless monitors and weight scales to help increase their activity and lose weight. I posted a Q&A with Qualcomm’s Don Jones, who also posted this update today on the Qualcomm blog. A Qualcomm spokesman tells me the 32 participants have burned a total of roughly 1.9 million calories and lost a total of 48.5 pounds.

—Pfizer added UC San Diego Health Sciences to its network of drug discovery innovation centers that includes prominent research institutions in Boston, New York, and San Francisco. UC San Diego Health Sciences’ partnership agreement with Pfizer could be worth as much as $50 million over the next five years.

The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology officially opened a new center today that is focused on RNA interference technology, and is intended to operate as a collaborative and open resource for the scientific community in San Diego and elsewhere. The RNAi Center was funded by a $12.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. If scientists make discoveries of potential clinical benefit, “the natural next step would be to seek partnering opportunities for clinical translation and potential drug development,” said Steve Wilson, the center’s executive director and chief technology officer.

—Former SKY MobileMedia CEO Naser Partovi introduced a year-old startup that provides outpatient management software called Wellaho. Partovi told me that Wellaho operates a HIPAA-compliant social media network around the chronically ill, and which is tailored to the needs of that patient. “You can’t just join Wellaho,” Partovi says. “It must be prescribed for you by your doctor.”

—San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN) and Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals said they are halting further development of pramlintide/metreleptin for the treatment of obesity. Their program was in mid-stage development as a … Next Page »

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