AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., said National Bank Financial Inc. and HSBC James Capel Canada Inc., both of Toronto, exercised all their compensation options to acquire 1.95 million common shares of the company. The options were issued in mid-1999 as partial compensation for services provided by them to the company in its oversubscribed C$19.5 million public offering. Net proceeds from the exercises of the compensation options amounts to C$977,500 (US$670,620).
Amarillo Biosciences Inc., of Amarillo, Texas, said a Phase II study of low doses of orally administered interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) in relieving morning stiffness of joints showed promising results in patients with fibromyalgia. Patients were divided into three groups, with some receiving three lozenges per day of 50 international units of IFN-alpha, some receiving one lozenge per day with two placebos, and some receiving three placebos per day. All three groups reported a reduction in morning stiffness, but the improvement was most pronounced in those taking one lozenge of IFN alpha per day. The result did not reach statistical significance.
BioChem Pharma Inc., of Laval, Quebec, said it received FDA approval for its immunotherapy against bladder cancer, Pacis BCG, Live. Pacis will be distributed in the U.S. by UroCor Inc., of Oklahoma City. BioChem will continue to manufacture the drug at its Quebec facilities. Pacis, which contains live, attenuated mycobacteria, is indicated for the treatment of carcinoma in situ of the urinary bladder. The recommended course of treatment is a single dose, once per week, for six weeks, administered in a urologists office. The drug already is approved in other countries, including Canada. The product features the original Armand-Frappier strain of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin, which has been in clinical use for a number of years.
Boston Scientific Corp., of Natick, Mass., received approval for a clinical trial in Germany of paclitaxel-coated coronary stents, as well as progress in other areas of stent development. The company plans to initiate a dose-escalating study in the second quarter that will evaluate the safety and feasibility of the stents to reduce restenosis.
Calypte Biomedical Corp., of Alameda, Calif., said its founder and chief scientific officer, Howard Urnovitz, and its chairman, William Boeger, established a new company named Chronix Biomedical that will focus on novel ways to detect aberrant genes in individuals with chronic diseases. Chronix will be financed independently of Calypte, but Calypte will retain rights to any urine diagnostic tests that result from its research efforts.
Cellegy Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, initiated a second Phase III trial to provide confirmatory evidence that Anogesic (nitroglycerin ointment) reduces the average daily pain associated with anal fissures. In the trial, 165 patients will be treated for eight weeks, with the primary endpoint being pain reduction and the secondary endpoint being complete healing of the fissure. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 17, 1999, p. 1.)
Cohesion Technologies, of Palo Alto, Calif., said it will raise net proceeds of about $4 million in a private placement for its osteobiologics subsidiary, NeuColl Inc. Proceeds will be used by NeuColl to fund a pivotal clinical study for NeuVisc, a treatment for osteoarthritis, and support expanded Collagraft commercialization efforts.
Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, said Fresenius HemoCare GmbH, of Bad Homburg, Germany, was granted regulatory approval for marketing the Prosorba column in the European community.
DGI BioTechnologies LLC, of Edison, N.J., said its partner Novo Nordisk AS, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, expanded its research agreement announced in June. The agreement provided technology transfer and licensing fees and contains provisions for significant additional payments when specified development milestones are met. The updated agreement expands the scope of the research portion by providing supplemental funding to support the accelerated pace of research using DGIs Diogenesis drug-lead-discovery platform.
Genzyme Molecular Oncology (GMO), of Framingham, Mass., exclusively licensed dendritic/cancer cell fusion technology for all therapeutic uses from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. GMO is funding a Phase I breast cancer vaccine trial using this technology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, entered into the human genomics field by initiating a letter of understanding regarding an investment stake in Chronix Biomedical, of Berkeley, Calif., as well as a strategic alliance with the company. Hemispherx will assist Chronix in marketing its first product, a plasma RNA test, which measures the total amount of reshuffled genes as a research-use-only test.
Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it exclusively licensed MDS Laboratory Services, of Toronto, to make available the BRACAnalysis molecular diagnostic test to women across Canada who may be at risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
OraPharma Inc., of Warminster, Pa., raised about $72 million in an initial public offering of 4 million shares at $18 per share. The shares were offered through underwriters led by FleetBoston Robertson Stephens Inc., of New York; U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc., of Minneapolis; and Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co. Inc., of New York. The company also granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to 600,000 additional shares of common stock to cover any overallotments.