Aastrom Biosciences Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., raised $6 million through the sale of 2.81 million shares of common stock to a single investor. The company will use the money to fund clinical programs for the AastromReplicell Cell Production System. The system is designed to operate a family of patient-specific cell therapy kits to produce cells for a number of therapeutic applications.
Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., entered into two agreements with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., The first gives Merck broad access to Affymetrix's standard and custom GeneChip arrays, instrumentation and software to monitor gene expression for use in research and development activities. Affymetrix also granted Merck a license to certain of its patents to permit Merck to produce and use nucleic acid arrays for internal research efforts that require gene expression monitoring. Financial terms were not released.
Aradigm Corp., of Hayward, Calif., presented Phase II results for the AERx pulmonary insulin delivery system that confirmed a faster absorption and onset of metabolic effects compared to the current standard of care. A clear dose response for inhaled insulin was demonstrated, with levels of intra-subject variability comparable to that seen after subcutaneous administration. The results were presented at the 60th scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Antonio.
Aventis Pharmaceuticals, of Parsippany, N.J., said the FDA approved Lantus (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection) for the treatment of Type I and Type II diabetes. The product will be available later this year. It is indicated for once-daily subcutaneous administration at bedtime in the treatment of adult patients with Type II diabetes mellitus who require basal insulin for the control of hyperglycemia and for adult and pediatric patients with Type I diabetes mellitus.
Celera Genomics, of Rockville, Md., completed the acquisition of Paracel Inc., of Pasadena, Calif., which is a producer of advanced genomic and text analysis supercomputing technology. All of Paracel's equity was exchanged for about 2.26 million shares of Celera Genomics common stock. (See BioWorld Today, March 22, 2000, p. 1.) Celera also announced Monday that it would collaborate with Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., to identify and assign function to genes important in early human development. The companies will use Geron's expertise in pluripotent stem cells and Celera's sequencing and gene discovery capabilities to learn more about the function of genes involved in human cell differentiation. Geron has rights to use the resulting discoveries to develop small-molecule drug, protein therapeutic, cell and gene therapy products, and prenatal diagnostics. Celera will utilize the information to enhance its annotation of the human genome, and to develop and commercialize probe sets for gene expression analysis. The companies may license some of the resulting intellectual property to third parties to develop other products.
Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., said its exclusive worldwide license agreement with Novartis Pharma AG, of Basel, Switzerland, for the development and marketing of Celgene's chirally pure version of Ritalin has become effective after waiting 30 days as required under the Hart-Scott Rodino Pre-merger Notification Act. The action triggers a $10 million payment. The companies expect to submit a new drug application in the third quarter of this year. The license agreement excludes Canada. (See BioWorld Today, April 27, 2000, p. 1.)
Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of Princeton, N.J., substantially expanded a three-year collaboration. BMS will double its committed research funding for the remainder of the agreement, signed last September. Exelixis will continue to identify the mechanism of action for pharmaceutical compounds received from BMS.
Hycor Biomedical Inc., of Garden Grove, Calif., hired New York-based Prudential Vector Healthcare Group to act as an intermediary in any future strategic partnership or merger and acquisition opportunities.
ImmuLogic Pharmaceutical Corp., of Waltham, Mass., will convert 433,333 American depositary shares (ADS) of London-based Cantab Pharmaceuticals into 1.3 million ordinary shares and will sell those shares on the London Stock Exchange for about $7.215 million. In addition, ImmuLogic will sell another 70,000 ADSs of Cantab to a private buyer in the U.S. for $1.165 million.
Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., submitted an investigational new drug application to start Phase II trials of LDP-02 in ulcerative colitis this year. LDP-02 is an investigational humanized monoclonal antibody for the potential treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, which include both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. LDP-02 is being developed with South San Francisco-based Genentech Inc.
Neose Technologies Inc., of Horsham, Pa., has concluded an initial investment in convertible debentures of Novazyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Oklahoma City. Novazyme is a new company developing novel glycosylation technologies for lysomal storage disease therapies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
PerkinElmer Inc., of Boston, agreed to acquire NEN Life Sciences, of Boston, from an investor group led by Genstar Capital LLC for about $400 million. The acquisition should close early in the third quarter. NEN Life Sciences is a provider of drug discovery products, services and technologies, to the life sciences industry.
Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts granted its motion for judgment of non-infringement of Claims 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 of U.S. Patent No. 5,618,698 and dismissed this patent from the suit filed by Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif. The court also found there was no literal infringement of Claims 2,3, and 4 of U.S. Patient No. 5,621,080. However, this patent will remain in the suit and is subject to arguments of infringement under the doctrine of equivalence. The court also denied a motion for judgment of non-infringement with respect to U.S. Patent No. 5,547,933, instead requiring that TKT and co-defendant Hoechst Marion Roussel AG (HMR), of Frankfurt, Germany ( now Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt) have their witnesses testify regarding this patent. The two are defending themselves in a patent infringement suit brought by Amgen to protect rights to erythropoietin, used to make Amgen's Epogen. (See BioWorld Today, April 17, 1997, p. 1., and May 22, 2000, p. 1.)