Adolor Corp., of Exton, Pa., decided to discontinue development of LidoPain SP, its sterile lidocaine patch for postsurgical incisional pain, in order to allocate resources to its other clinical and discovery research efforts. North American rights to the product, which were licensed from Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based EpiCept Corp. in 2003, will return to EpiCept. Adolor completed a Phase II pharmacokinetic study of LidoPain earlier this year, and EpiCept said it intends to initiate another Phase III trial in the U.S. and Europe in the first half of 2007. A previous Phase III European study of the analgesic patch reported in September failed to reach its primary endpoint. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 7, 2006.)
Antigenics Inc., of New York, agreed to sell $25 million in convertible senior notes to a group of investors, who will have an option to convert the notes into Antigenics' common stock at $3.50 per share. The company focuses on cancers, infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. Its shares (NASDAQ:AGEN) closed at $2.19 Tuesday, up 18 cents.
Biogen Idec Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., reported non-adjusted earnings per share of 60 cents for the quarter ended Sept. 30, far exceeding consensus estimates of 49 cents. Net income totaled $207 million under those same accounting standards, driven by a jump in total revenues to $703 million compared to $596 million in last year's corresponding quarter. The company's leading sales drivers were Avonex (interferon beta-1a), with worldwide sales up 19 percent to $445 million, and Rituxan (rituximab), with revenues from the unconsolidated joint business arrangement up 12 percent to $204 million. Also of note, Tysabri (natalizumab) produced $5 million in sales after returning to the market. In accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, Biogen Idec's EPS was 45 cents. The company, which closed the three-month period with $661 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term securities, raised its full-year EPS guidance to exceed $2.20 on a non-adjusted basis. It's stock (NASDAQ:BIIB) rose $3.69 Tuesday, or 8.4 percent, to close at $47.60.
Dyax Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., granted a nonexclusive license to its antibody phage display libraries to ZymoGenetics Inc., of Seattle, for the discovery of therapeutic antibodies. The collaboration is part of Dyax's Licensing and Funded Research Program partnered with Paul Royalty Fund. Under the terms, Dyax will receive up-front and annual technology license fees, as well as clinical milestones and royalties on net sales of any products resulting from the deal. Specific terms were not disclosed.
Esperance Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Baton Rouge, La., secured a $9 million Series A financing to help move its lead compound toward early clinical testing. The start-up firm, which was founded on technology discovered at Louisiana State University, the LSU AgCenter and LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center, is working to develop a targeted anticancer fusion protein that is selectively toxic to cancer cells, and will use the funding to identify a lead compound, establish an assay to select candidate patients and conduct a proof-of-concept study in cancer. Co-lead investors in the round were the Louisiana Fund I LP, of Baton Rouge, along with Themelios Ventures Partners LP, of Shreveport, La., and Research Corp. Technologies Inc., of Tucson, Ariz.
Illumigen Biosciences Inc., of Seattle, entered a process development and manufacturing agreement for its lead product, IB657, with Avecia Biotechnology Inc., of Billingham, UK. Avecia will carry out development work to optimize the manufacturing process and conduct initial production of the biologic, a treatment for hepatitis C and other RNA viruses. That will provide Illumigen with sufficient quantities of IB657 to complete Phase Ia trials in hepatitis C-infected patients. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, and Gendux AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, will file for European Union approval of Advexin p53 therapy under that regulatory body's exceptional circumstances provisions. The application will seek approval to use Advexin for Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by inherited mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene that leads to numerous cancers often presenting with tumors at an early age.
Novavax Inc., of Malvern, Pa., said its H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccine candidate would be evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, including preclinical testing against live bird flu virus. Under the cooperative research agreement, the company will provide the CDC with a supply of the virus-like particle (VLP) H5N1 vaccine. On its own, Novavax is planning to begin clinical trials during the first half of next year.
Pharmacyclics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., is offering 3.8 million shares of its common stock, plus a 30-day option to underwriters to purchase up to an additional 571,428 shares to cover overallotments. RBC Capital Markets Corp. and Thomas Weisel Partners LLC are acting as joint lead managers and joint bookrunners. Pharmacyclics develops products against cancer and other diseases. Shares of Pharmacyclics (NASDAQ:PCYC) closed at $5.39 Tuesday, up 6 cents.
Vical Inc., of San Diego, acquired pending patents that complement its existing intellectual property positions in poloxamers and angiogenesis from Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif. Vical also gained nonexclusive rights to a portfolio of issued and pending patents directed toward manufacturing from Valentis. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Viragen Inc., of Plantation, Fla., priced an underwritten public offering of 67 million units at 26 cents per unit. Each unit consists of one share of common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of common stock at an exercise price of 31 cents. Viragen focuses cancer and viral disease, with a lead product, Multiferon (multi-subtype, human alpha interferon) being tested in malignant melanoma and other cancers and selected infectious diseases.