• Agenix Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, said it secured a loan of A$20 million (US$13.1 million) from the Commonwealth Bank in that country. The company, which reported A$9.5 million in cash through June 30, said the added funding would ensure further development of ThromboView, an imaging product that uses radiolabeled antibodies to locate blood clots throughout the body.

• Australian Cancer Technology Pty Ltd., of West Perth, Australia, appointed Paul Hopper CEO and also raised A$2.4 million (US$1.6 million). Hopper spent about 12 years as managing director of Alpha Healthcare Ltd. He also introduced the NutraForte nutraceutical business. Separately, the company said it intends to acquire a 20-year exclusive license to manufacture and distribute a range of nutraceutical medicine products from NutraForte, which is based in New York.

• AVI BioPharma Inc., of Portland, Ore., filed an application with the FDA to obtain orphan designation for a SARS product candidate. AVI said positive preclinical data on its Neugene antisense drug, AVI-4179, pointed to its ability to target the coronavirus implicated in severe acute respiratory syndrome.

• Baird Venture Partners in Milwaukee closed a $90 million fund after completing a second closing worth $60 million in capital commitments. The fund invests in early to late-stage companies focused on technology, business and life science sectors in Wisconsin and the Midwest. Its latest investors include the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Lurie Investments Inc., The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Johnson Financial Group, the Helen Bader Trusts, Robert W. Baird & Co. and other high-net-worth individuals.

• BresaGen Ltd., of Adelaide, Australia, is planning to raise funds in the U.S. and then restructure its operations, citing the "larger and more sophisticated biotechnology investment environment" in the U.S. as well as the "significantly more attractive government funding opportunities for embryonic stem cell therapy" as reasons. Once a fund-raising is completed and shareholder approval is received, the company will spin its Protein Pharmaceutical division into a U.S.-headquartered company. Drug development, research and manufacturing will be based in Adelaide. Also, its Cell Therapy Division will gradually relocate to the U.S., among other changes.

• Cepheid Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., raised about $10 million after selling about 2.8 million common shares at $3.57 apiece to an unnamed institutional investor. Its stock closed at $4.30 the day the deal closed. The purchase includes a one-time, 90-day option to buy up to 555,556 additional shares at $3.75 apiece. The shares are registered under a $35 million universal shelf statement declared effective in May by the SEC. UBS Securities LLC acted as the offering's financial adviser.

• CytoGenix Inc., of Houston, said data would be published in Cancer Gene Therapy, the journal of the International Society for Cancer Gene Therapy, showing that the application of its ssDNA expression system against target proteins can stop cell growth in lung, breast and cervical cancer cells. The paper is titled "Antiproliferative activity of G-quartet-containing oligonucleotides generated by a novel single-stranded DNA expression system."

• Dharmacon Inc., of Lafayette, Colo., said it launched On-Target siRNA, a new modified form of siRNA designed to improve the specificity of siRNA-mediated RNA interference. On-Target siRNA uses chemical modifications to the siRNA sense strand to improve gene silencing specificity, Dharmacon said.

• Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, received a Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., to develop a T-helper-cell breast cancer vaccine. The vaccine is designed to stimulate the immune system to segments of HER-2/neu, a dominant antigen found on cancer cells that also is the target of the Herceptin antibody. Antigen Express, Generex's Worcester, Mass.-based immunomedicines subsidiary, is developing the vaccine.

• Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., entered an agreement to pay about $123 million to purchase the campus it's been located since 1988 in Foster City from a subsidiary of Equity Office Properties Trust. If certain closing conditions are satisfied, Gilead would acquire 16 buildings with 496,000 square feet of office and laboratory space next month. The company, which currently leases eight of the 16, said the purchase would provide the added space necessary to expand its operations. It added that it expects the transaction to be accretive to this year's earnings.

• Immtech International Inc., of Vernon Hills, Ill., said its Hong Kong subsidiary, Immtech Therapeutics Ltd., entered a collaboration with Guo Kang Pharmaceutical & Medical Supplies Ltd. to assist Immtech and its clients in gaining access to China's health care market. Guo Kang was established to help the ministry with accessing investment and other development opportunities outside of China. Guo Kang is collaborating with Immtech to obtain approvals to introduce DB289, Immtech's first oral drug candidate for treatment of infectious diseases, into China

• Invitrogen Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said buyers of its previously reported offering of $325 million worth of 2 percent convertible notes exercised part of their option to acquire an additional $25 million of the notes, due 2023. The remaining portion of the $48.75 million option has expired. The notes replaced cash used to fund its acquisition of Molecular Probes Inc., of Eugene, Ore. (See BioWorld Today, July 3, 2003, and July 30, 2003.)

• MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, said underwriters of its offering of common stock exercised their option to purchase 660,000 shares at $35.50 per share to cover overallotments. After giving effect to the sale of the overallotment shares, about 5.1 million shares of common stock were sold in the offering. Total net proceeds from the offering to MGI were about $168.6 million. MGI is focused on oncology. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 11, 2003.)

• Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said findings published in this month's issue of Functional & Integrative Genomics pointed to the ability of its researchers to use global nutritional profiling techniques to discover the function of genes and chemical modes of action in filamentous fungi. The company added that nutritional profiling could be used to better validate good targets and eliminate poor ones in developing new fungicides.

• PharmaCare Management Services Inc., of Lincoln, R.I., said its specialty pharmacy division, CVS ProCare, has been selected by MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., to be a national specialty pharmaceutical distributor of Synagis (palivizumab). Synagis is indicated for the prevention of serious lower respiratory tract disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus in pediatric patients at high risk for RSV.

• QLT Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said buyers of its previously reported offering of $150 million worth of 3 percent convertible notes exercised their full option to acquire an additional $22.5 million of the notes, due 2023. The company, which expects both transactions to close today, said it would use net proceeds for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including potential acquisitions or investment in businesses, products or technologies. QLT added that it also plans to use a portion of the proceeds to repurchase common shares on the open market in connection with a previously reported share-repurchase program. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 13, 2003.)

• Resverlogix Corp., of Calgary, Alberta, entered an agreement to acquire a cancer therapeutic from the co-discoverers of the technology, Norman Wong and Koichiro Mihara. The cancer therapy is in preclinical testing. Resverlogix intends to proceed with further animal model validation and toxicology studies. Resverlogix will pay $100,000 in cash and grant a 10 percent royalty on future license fees for a five-year period. It also will issue 2 million Series A preferred shares. Each preferred share will be convertible into one common share of Resverlogix for every $4 in licensing fees in excess of $2 million earned by Resverlogix from the therapy. The conversion formula would be adjusted downward should the price of common shares rise above $2 at the time of conversion. No preferred shares may be converted until after $2 million in licensing fees has been received, and any preferred shares not converted after five years from their date of issue will be canceled.

• Ribonomics Inc., of Durham, N.C., was awarded a $420,000 grant by the Department of Defense. The company said it would use the grant, funded through the Breast Cancer Research Program of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, to research post-transcriptional variations in breast cancer tissue to rapidly identify and develop new targets and biomarkers for therapy. Its Ribonomics Analysis System isolates and characterizes functionally related genes in vitro and in vivo, exploiting a cell's organizational scheme for protein expression to reveal functional relationships between genes, elucidate new regulatory links among pathways, and assign cellular function to uncharacterized genes.

• Serologicals Corp., of Atlanta, said it plans to raise $100 million through an offering of convertible senior subordinated debentures due 2033. Serologicals also plans to grant initial purchasers an option to purchase up to an additional $20 million aggregate principal amount of debentures. The company intends to use the proceeds to repay outstanding borrowings under its existing credit facility. The company intends to use any excess proceeds for general corporate purposes. The company provides biological products and enabling technologies.

SIGA Technologies Inc., of New York, entered a definitive purchase agreement with MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc. in which it invested $1 million in SIGA in exchange for about 694,444 shares of SIGA stock priced at $1.44 per share and warrants to purchase an additional 347,222 shares of SIGA stock at an exercise price of $2. MacAndrews & Forbes also was granted an option, exercisable through Oct. 13, to make additional investments in SIGA of up to $9 million in exchange for up to an additional 6.25 million shares of SIGA and warrants to purchase up to another 3.125 million shares on the same terms. SIGA anticipates using the funds for research and development, the pursuit of growth opportunities and general corporate purposes. SIGA is applying bacterial genomics in the design and development of products for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, with an emphasis on products for biological warfare defense.

• Telik Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., reported positive follow-up data from a Phase II trial of Telcyta (formerly TLK286) in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer whose disease progressed following platinum-containing regimens. The data were reported at the 10th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Vancouver, British Columbia. An 11 percent objective response rate was observed in the 19 patients evaluable for efficacy at the time of analysis. The overall disease stabilization rate was 69 percent. Median survival has not yet been reached.

• Xenova Group plc, of Slough, UK, said it made an offer for KS Biomedix Holdings plc, of London. Xenova will offer 1.0714 shares for each KS Biomedix share, plus deferred consideration of new Xenova shares to the value of 10 pence, which will be payable if KS's TransMID is commercially sold in the European Union or U.S. by Aug. 14, 2011. The offer values each KS share at about 13.12 pence and KS's share capital at about £8.5 million (US$13.6 million). The deferred consideration would add another £6.5 million in Xenova shares. The offer represents a 14 percent discount to KS's closing price July 30. Xenova said the merger would create a stronger oncology business as well as create opportunities for synergies and costs savings.

• XOMA Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., filed a registration statement to sell up to 13 million shares of stock from time to time. It said in its prospectus it intends to use proceeds for general corporate purposes, including current research and development projects, the development or acquisition of new products or technologies, equipment acquisitions, general working capital and operating expenses. The company also has 7 million shares carried over from a previous registration statement in 2000. The company is developing recombinant antibodies and other protein products, including Raptiva, which is partnered with Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco.

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