• BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., of Novato, Calif., said it intends to offer $250 million worth of senior subordinated convertible notes due 2017 in an underwritten public offering, and will grant underwriters a 13-day option to purchase up to an additional $37.5 million of notes to cover overallotments. Merrill Lynch & Co., of New York, is acting as sole book-running manager of the public offering.

• BioTrove Inc., of Woburn, Mass., said researchers at the Center of Molecular Orthopedics at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Orthopedics at Brigham & Women's Hospital will investigate human cellular response to chemical weapons, as well as adult stem cell differentiation, using the BioTrove OpenArray technology platform and OpenArray NT Cycler. Researchers will use the technology to explore an approach to pathogen detection, and to conduct stem cell research with the goal of identifying genes responsible for triggering differentiation. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Cardium Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, said Generx, its candidate in Phase III development in myocardial ischemia and associated angina, will employ an automated infusion system manufactured for Cardium by Caesarea Medical Electronics Ltd. That system will be used in the company's Phase III AWARE study to standardize the cardiac catheter-based administration of Generx.

• Cepheid Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., signed an agreement with VWR International, a global distributor of scientific equipment, supplies, chemicals and furniture, to distribute Cepheid Industrial life science products in the U.S. The nonexclusive deal expands Cepheid's industrial market reach by extending its domestic sales channel to reach more government, academic and biotech laboratories working with real-time polymerase chain reaction technology. Under the terms, VWR will distribute Cepheid's SmartCycler instrument system, SmartMix HM master mix and associated accessories. Financial details were not disclosed.

• Eisai Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, said its wholly owned subsidiary, Eisai Corp. of North America, completed its acquisition of Exton, Pa.-based Morphotek Inc. for $325 million after excess net cash. The companies signed the initial agreement in March to add Morphotek to Eisai's global discovery and development research network. Morphotek, which develops therapeutic monoclonal antibodies through the use of its human antibody technologies, Human Morphodoma and Libradoma, has a therapeutic pipeline of antibody leads in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and infectious disease. Two of its programs are in early stage trials in ovarian and pancreatic cancers. (See BioWorld Today, March 23, 2007.)

• Erimos Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Raleigh, N.C., named J. Scott Mohrland president and CEO. Former CEO Jeff Khoo will serve as executive vice chairman. Mohrland is a pharmaceutical executive with more than 26 years of experience in the industry. Erimos has exclusively licensed a portfolio of small molecules from The Johns Hopkins University. The lead candidate, terameprocol (EM-1421), is designed to prevent the production and activation of the survivin protein. It is in Phase I/II studies in refractory and metastatic solid tumors, and a Phase I study in recurrent high-grade glioma. A study in hematological malignancies is scheduled to begin enrollment in the second quarter.

• GE Healthcare, of Chalfont St. Giles, UK, a unit of the General Electric Co., acquired Wave Biotech LLC, of Somerset, N.J., including its European subsidiary, Wave Europe Pvt. Ltd., to expand GE's offering of products and services for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, such as antibodies and vaccines. Wave Biotech develops and manufactures bioreactors that are designed to replace traditional steel tanks and piping and to offer more rapid installation, lower costs and a reduction in the time to market. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• GenomeQuest Inc. (formerly Gene-IT), of Westborough, Mass., licensed its GenomeQuest technology to Migenix Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia. The technology allows the search of biological sequence information for novel sequences and patentability status.

• Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., submitted a supplemental biologics license application for Gardasil [quadrivalent human papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) recombinant vaccine] to update its labeling. Gardasil previously was approved as a cervical cancer vaccine, and the new submission includes efficacy data showing some protection against additional cervical cancer-causing HPV types responsible for greater than 10 percent of cervical cancers, as well as data on protection against additional gynecological cancers, such as vaginal and vulvar, and data on immune memory.

• Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said a team of researchers discovered biomarkers that might lead to identifying multiple myeloma patients likely to respond to Velcade, which is approved for previously treated multiple myeloma patients. Genomic analyses on tumor samples from patients in Velcade trials showed that those with an increased expression of genes in the NFk-B and adhesion molecule pathways might be more sensitive to Velcade therapy. Those findings, which were reported in the journal Blood, also showed that the biomarkers did not predict sensitivity to dexamethasone, suggesting that they could be specific to Millennium's product.

• Naryx Pharma Inc., of Santa Barbara, Calif., said the FDA granted fast-track designation for SPRC-AB01, an antibiotic product in development for chronic sinusitis in patients who have undergone previous sinus surgical procedures. The company now is eligible to submit a new drug application on a rolling basis and can apply for expedited review. SPRC-AB01 is in an ongoing Phase IIb study vs. placebo in chronic sinusitis patients.

• NeurogesX Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., filed amended terms for its initial public offering. The firm plans the price for 4 million shares to range between $13 and $15 per share, and aims to raise up to $69 million if overallotments are exercised. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 9, 2007.)

• Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc., of Bothell, Wash., filed for authorization in Switzerland to use its DCVax-Brain, a personalized dendritic cell vaccine, to treat patients with malignant brain cancers, including glioblastoma multiforme. The application will be reviewed by the Swiss Institute of Public Health, and the company anticipates a decision during the third quarter. Data from Phase I trials to date have shown a median survival of 33.8 months (and continuing) for DCVax-Brain-treated patients, with 10 of 19 patients still alive from eight months to 82 months after initial surgery. Northwest Biotherapeutics is enrolling patients in a Phase II pivotal study in the U.S.

• Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Raleigh, N.C., said Dr. Falk Pharma GmbH, of Freiberg, Germany, gained exclusive rights to market Diacol 1500 mg tablets in 28 territories in Europe. Diacol, or sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, and sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrous tablets are marketed in the U.S. under the name Osmoprep. It is used in bowel-cleansing applications. Salix may receive up to $4 million in milestone payments, as well as royalty payments on sales. Falk made the first milestone payment of $1.5 million upon execution of the agreement. Falk is obligated to use all reasonable efforts to obtain marketing authorizations in the covered territories and option countries.

• Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, of Lyon, France, said the FDA licensed its H5N1 vaccine, the first avian influenza vaccine for humans in the U.S. The licensure serves as a first key step in achieving the government's goal of stockpiling H5N1 vaccine, Sanofi said. The approval was based on a clinical trial conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The study, which was completed in 2005, showed that the vaccine elicited an immune response against the H5N1 virus and was associated with mild side effects.

• SynCo Bio Partners, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Prosensa BV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, agreed to collaborate in the formulation and fill of RNA-based therapeutics for Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. The agreement involves Prosensa's lead product, an RNA-based drug under development for DMD. Terms call for SynCo to work with Prosensa to formulate and perform the aseptic fill of the product for use in a human trial. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• VioQuest Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Basking Ridge, N.J., signed a definitive agreement for the sale of its subsidiary, Chiral Quest Inc., to Chiral Quest Acquisition Corp., a corporation formed by Chiral Quest's management and others. Under the terms, the sale is valued at up to $3 million, with $1.7 million in cash expected to be paid to VioQuest upon closing and about $1.3 million in liabilities will be assumed by the new company. VioQuest anticipates that funds from the deal will support its ongoing drug development programs in the areas of targeted cancer therapeutics.

• Vivalis, of Nantes, France, and GeoVax Inc., of Atlanta, extended their April 2005 collaboration to evaluate the use of Vivalis' avian embryonic stem cell-derived EBx cell lines as a production platform for GeoVax's MVA-based AIDS vaccine. The collaboration already has proven that the EBx technology can replicate GeoVax's specific recombinant AIDS vaccine viruses, and it will now focus on scale-up and regulatory requirements for an early 2008 pre-IND meeting. Terms were not disclosed.

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