• 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Exton, Pa., and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Ridgefield, Conn., entered into a collaboration in which 3DP will apply its DirectedDiversity combinatorial chemistry technology to discover and refine innovative new compounds active against biological targets identified by Ingelheim. Ingelheim will be responsible for preclinical and clinical development, and 3DP will receive an up-front technology access fee and research and development funding and possibly milestone payments and royalties.

• Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., said SmithKline Beecham plc, of London, has advanced clinical development of the human-derived, two-dose oral rotavirus vaccine licensed from Avant. Avant developed the vaccine and licensed it to SmithKline Beecham Biologicals, of Rixensart, Belgium. SB Biologicals initiated Phase I/II bridging studies in Europe, and is now planning to start Phase III safety and efficacy studies in 2001.

• Avigen, of Alameda, Calif., said it obtained a nonexclusive worldwide license to Factor IX gene patents from BTG International Ltd., of Gulph Mills, Pa. Avigen has the right to make, use, sell, offer for sale or import viral vector systems, as well as the right to sublicense the patents to third parties. The gene is a key component of Avigen’s lead adeno-associated virus gene therapy product, Coagulin-B, for treating patients with hemophilia B.

• BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, said the FDA granted fast-track designation for the development of the company’s BNP7787 to prevent or decrease the nerve damage associated with paclitaxel, an anticancer drug.

• Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., said its board authorized the repurchase of up to an additional 5 million shares of its common stock through open-market transactions made from time to time over the next year. This would bring the total number of shares authorized for repurchase through February 2001 to 11.5 million. The stock repurchase program is intended to offset the dilutive effect of the company’s stock-based employee compensation plans.

• Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc., of Richmond, Va., said it will be expanding its research and development effort into the development of genomic and proteomic-based products