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the use of a subcutaneous formulation of trastuzumab (Herceptin) as a time-saving treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer. The formulation uses Halozyme’s recombinant human hyaluronidase (rHuPH20) and can be administered as an injection in two to five minutes, rather than intravenously through a process that takes 30 to 90 minutes.
—Crinetics Pharmaceuticals co-founder Steve Betz told me the San Diego startup has been awarded a $2.2 million Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop new drug candidates for the treatment of pituitary tumors. Such tumors produce excess growth hormone, leading to symptoms that can include gigantism, excess soft tissue growth, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, kidney failure, and vision loss, a condition called acromegaly. Crinetics is focused on oral somatostatin drugs with a “bias” towards activating the intracellular signaling pathways that inhibit hormone secretion. In a note, Betz said, the grant will put Crinetics on “pretty solid financial footing” through the end of 2015. “We’re going to be moving labs in a couple of weeks and adding a couple more scientists to the team, as well,” he said.
—Richmond, CA-based Sangamo BioSciences (NASDAQ: SGMO) said it has acquired San Diego-based Ceregene, a San Diego biotech focused on developing adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapies. Sangamo agreed to issue 100,000 shares of its stock (valued at just over $1 million) to Ceregene shareholders as well as subsequent milestone payments.