Admetric BioChem Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., entered an agreement with SmithKline Beecham Corp. plc, of London, for development and evaluation of Admetric's technology that profiles and prioritizes compounds for drug development. Financial terms were undisclosed. Admetric will profile up to 125 SKB compounds using its Membrane Affinity Fingerprinting technology.
Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, entered an exclusive collaboration with Senomyx Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., for the discovery of consumer products enhancing taste and olfaction. Aurora will use its green fluorescent protein technology and beta-lactamase reporter technology to develop screening platforms for Senomyx and conduct ultra-high-throughput screening. Senomyx was granted exclusive rights to Aurora's functional genomics technology for discovery of consumer products to enhance taste and olfaction and non-exclusive rights to the technology for discovery of therapeutic products. The agreement includes an up-front technology access fee, research funding and performance milestones. Aurora also has purchased one million shares of Senomyx series C preferred stock for $4.8 million.
Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., said study results demonstrate that a novel class of small molecules that inhibit expression of genes linked to the onset and progression of joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis significantly limit joint damage and inflammation in an animal model. The novel anti-inflammatory compounds, c-Jun N-terminal kinase inhibitors, showed the ability to block the production of tissue-destructive enzymes.
Cerus Corp., of Concord, Calif., received clearance from an independent data and safety monitoring board to continue its U.S. Phase III clinical trial of the Intercept Plasma System. The system is being developed by Cerus along with Baxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill., and is designed to inactivate viruses, bacteria and other pathogens in plasma intended for transfusion. The review by the board provides an independent evaluation of study data to identify potential safety issues that might warrant modification or early termination of ongoing studies.
ChemDiv Inc., of San Diego, opened its new European office near Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The office will provide sales support for ChemDiv chemistry services in Europe.
Cima Labs Inc., of Eden Prairie, Minn., priced a public offering of 2.95 million shares at $50 per share for gross proceeds of $147.5 million. The company granted lead underwriter Deutsche Banc Alex.Brown and underwriters SG Cowen Securities Corp. and Fahnestock & Co. the overallotment option to purchase an additional 442,500 shares.
Copernicus Therapeutics Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio, received a milestone payment, the amount undisclosed, as part of a $1.5 million Phase II grant from the Bethesda, Md.-based Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The grant supports preclinical and early clinical development of Copernicus' targeted PLASmin Complexes that the company says should enable the delivery of therapeutic genes to the cells lining the airways and lungs of CF patients. The company said its nonviral approach to deliver the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator gene to affected cells might eventually provide a long-term therapeutic treatment for the disease. Copernicus has demonstrated in vitro the development of a nonviral gene delivery system that contains a functional CFTR gene and that targets a receptor protein found on airway cells.
Corixa Corp., of Seattle, presented data from a Phase I/II randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled, dose-escalating trial of AnergiX.RA, its solubilized HLA DRB1*0401 with a specific peptide from the human cartilage glycoprotein HCgp39. The data from the 31-patient, randomized trial showed the complex to be safe and well tolerated, and showed a statistically significant clinical response (p=.03).
Cytovax Biotechnologies Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, privately sold 1.97 million special warrants at $4 each for gross proceeds of $7.9 million in September and October. Acumen Capital Finance Partners Ltd. and Goepel McDermid Inc. acted as agents for the sale. Cytovax said the financing would fund ongoing research and development.
Durect Corp., of Cupertino, Calif., said underwriters of its initial public offering exercised their overallotment option, purchasing an additional 700,000 shares at $12 each. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Chase H&Q and CIBC World Markets Corp. managed the offering.
Epigenesis Pharmaceuticals Inc. has begun a first-in-man Phase I study to assess tolerability and pharmacokinetics of inhaled EPI-2010 for asthma. Preclinical studies have suggested EPI-2010, a respirable antisense oligonucleotide, can prevent the body's manufacture of certain disease-causing receptor proteins. The Cranbury, N.J.-based company said the EPI-2010 targets the adenosine A1 receptor, which it said is unique among mediators of asthma in that it is produced in excess in nearly all asthma patients.
Genomica Corp., of Boulder, Colo., licensed its Discovery Manager software to Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt, Germany. Aventis will use the software as a technology in its functional genomics efforts. The Discovery Manager enables individual or collaborating researchers to access, store, manipulate, analyze, annotate and integrate genomic data from a variety of sources. Terms were not disclosed.
Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., and GelTex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Waltham, Mass., said Genzyme filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the acquisition of GelTex. The transaction is expected to close in December 2000 or January 2001.
Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., initiated the first Phase II trial of NX 211, the company's liposomal formulation of a novel topoisomerase I inhibitor, in patients with relapsed ovarian cancer resistant to treatment with topotecan. The 58-patient study is designed to evaluate safety and efficacy of NX 211 in an open-label, multicenter trial.
Immunex Inc., of Seattle, said American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., converted a $450 million 3 percent convertible subordinated note due in 2006, eliminating $13.5 million in previously obligated annual interest payments on the note. The note was converted into 15.54 million newly issued shares. AHP remains Immunex's majority shareholder with a 54.7 percent interest in the company. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 11, 2000.)
Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., abandoned its plans to acquire Quadrant Healthcare plc after another party offered a higher bid. Inhale said it will not make the offer it announced on Oct. 20, 2000, if the other party formalizes its offer.
KS Biomedix Inc., of London, entered a licensing agreement with Canadian firm York Medical for co-development rights to KSB's lead antibody, KH-6H9Chi, a colon cancer therapeutic. York will commercialize the product in the Western Hemisphere, while KSB will retain all other commercialization rights, in return for York funding the clinical development and providing three oncology targets for KSB to develop antibodies against.
Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, broke ground for an expansion of its discovery campus. The expansion will increase the campus to 252,000 square feet and should be completed by October 2001.
LION Bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, sold an integrated bioinformatics solution to Nestle to form the core of the company's bioinformatics environment. The system consists of licenses for the data integration technology SRS, the automated gene and genome annotation system bioSCOUT, the microarray analysis system arraySCOUT and genomeSCOUT. The deal also includes collaboration on further development of additional products.
Microcide Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., entered a research collaboration and license agreement with the Animal Health division of Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., aimed at discovering and developing veterinary antimicrobials using Microcide's technology and knowledge of efflux pumps, cellular bodies within bacterial cell membranes that eject antibodies and limit drug effectiveness. Schering will take worldwide rights to products from the collaboration and Microcide will receive an up-front payment, research funding over a two-year period, and royalties on commercialized products. Financial terms were not announced.
Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, received a $1.3 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant to fund development of a small-molecule CRF1 receptor antagonist as neuroprotective agent for treatment of stroke and related neurodegenerative conditions. The funding will be disbursed over a period of two years.
NexMed Inc., of Robbinsville, N.J., said results of a Phase II study of Alprox-TD, the company's topical male erectile dysfunction treatment, indicated that three different dose levels of the cream were effective over placebo in sexual function endpoint analysis. The highest dose showed a highly significant increase in Erectile Function Domain scores (p=.001). The highest dose generated an efficacy rate of 73 percent compared to 23 percent in the placebo group.
StemCells Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., released data demonstrating the production of mature liver cells from purified hematopoietic stem cells in mice. The study of different subsets of purified bone marrow cells transplanted into mice indicated that only the subsets containing blood stem cells were able to produce hepatocytes.
SuperGen Inc., of San Ramon, Calif., said all the patients involved in its Phase I/II trial of decitabine in sickle cell anemia responded to the treatment. The eight-patient study found patients experienced elevated levels of fetal hemoglobin, which prevents sickle-shaped cells from congregating. Five patients experienced an average 35-fold increase in fetal hemoglobin, and two patients responded briefly with a 52 percent increase in fetal hemoglobin.
Syngenix Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, said it has signed an agreement with Glaxo Research and Development Ltd. to apply the company's ProVector neuronal drug delivery technology to a Glaxo Wellcome drug candidate. The ProVector technology will be applied to target the unidentified Glaxo drug candidate directly to sites within the nerve for more effective treatment of neuropathic pain. Financial details were not announced.
ZymoGenetics Inc., of Seattle, identified two novel proteins, interleukin-21 and its receptor, said to be keys to the body's ability to fight disease. The proteins are members of a class of naturally-occurring cytokine ligand-receptor pairs involved in the growth and activation of red blood cells, white blood cells, antibody-producing cells and other immune response components.