• Action Pharma A/S, of Stockholm, Sweden, received venture capital of €6 million, from a consortium of investors, plus an option to invest an additional €3 million. Proceeds are expected to assure development of the company's pipeline, which includes eight drug candidates. Investors in the financing include InnovationsKapital, of Sweden, Growth Foundation, of Denmark, and Incuba Ventures, also of Denmark.

• Argos Therapeutics Inc., of Durham, N.C., was awarded a $21 million contract from the National Institutes of Health to develop HIV immunotherapy candidates, with the goal of determining the immunogenicity of the company's HIV immunotherapy candidate, which is in clinical trials, and to develop more potent next-generation product candidates. Argos focuses on creating personalized, RNA-loaded dendritic cell immunotherapy products designed to train the patients' immune systems to recognize, target and destroy features of their disease. The contract is for five years, and is expected to cover costs associated with the development of next-generation products, as well as portions of costs related to Argos' existing candidate. Argos retains commercial rights to any candidates.

• Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., of Fremont, Calif., received stockholder approval to sell its proteomics instrument business to Hercules, Calif.-based Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. for about $20 million in cash. In addition, Bio-Rad agreed to make a $3 million equity investment in Ciphergen. The transaction is expected to close on or before Nov. 1, 2006.

• Critical Therapeutics Inc., of Lexington, Mass., is cutting 63 positions through the end of the year and reducing net cash expenditures related to its sales force and research and development programs to focus the company's resources on the commercialization of its twice-daily, controlled-release formulation of zileuton (zileuton CR) as a chronic asthma treatment and further development of an intravenous formulation of zileuton for acute asthma. The FDA has accepted for review the company's new drug application for zileuton CR, and the PDUFA date is May 31. Following the completion of this restructuring, Critical Therapeutics will have about 59 employees. The company expects to incur restructuring charges of $3 million to $4 million in the fourth quarter, and anticipates that its net cash expenditures will be reduced to $5 million to $6 million once restructuring is completed. In separate news, Critical Therapeutics entered agreements to raise $20 million through the sale of 7.5 million shares priced at $2.62 each to institutional investors. That will add to the company's cash position of $40.2 million, as reported as of Sept. 30.

• Dyadic International Inc., of Jupiter, Fla., signed a three-year research and development agreement and a stock purchase agreement with Abengoa Bioenergy R&D Inc., an Abengoa Bioenergy Company. Under the terms, Abengoa agreed to invest $10 million in Dyadic, for which it will be issued 2.1 million shares priced at $4.68 each. Dyadic will use the proceeds to fund its obligations under the agreement, with the goal of developing a cost-effective enzyme production system for commercial application in Abengoa Bioenergy's bioethanol (cellulosic ethanol) production process.

• Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, closed its previously announced acquisition of TheraPei Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, and said John Nester, former CEO of TheraPei, assumed the position of Forbes' chief scientific officer. Forbes issued a total of 94,672 common shares and paid cash of about $400,000 on closing. TheraPei's name was changed to Forbes Medi-Tech (Research) Inc. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 26, 2006.)

• Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass, extended its offer to acquire the outstanding shares of Vancouver, British Columbia-based AnorMed Inc. until 8 a.m. Pacific time Nov. 7, to accommodate the applicable waiting period. Prior to the extension, the offer was set to expire one day earlier. Genzyme announced earlier this month an agreement to acquire AnorMed in an all cash transaction valued at $13.50 per share, or about $580 million. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 18, 2006.)

• Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., entered a two-year research collaboration with Metabasis Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, to apply Metabasis' HepDirect liver-targeted technology to Idenix compounds with the aim of developing second-generation nucleoside analogue drug candidates for hepatitis C. Under the terms, Idenix will provide $2 million up front, and if a lead is identified, Idenix will assume responsibility. Metabasis would be eligible for milestone payments and royalties on any product sales. In separate news, Idenix reported interim results from a Phase IIb trial of valopicitabine, an investigational therapy for hepatitis C, which demonstrated favorable viral suppression when combined with pegylated interferon in treatment-na ve patients with genotype-1 HCV infection after 24 weeks of treatment. That data were presented at the 57th annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston. At that same meeting, Idenix, along with partner, Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis AG, reported results from the second year of the GLOBE study of telbivudine in chronic hepatitis B suggest that viral clearance within the first six months of therapy is associated with better outcomes at one and two years of treatment. Additional results from Phase III and Phase IIIb studies showed that chronic hepatitis B patients treated with telbivudine achieved greater viral clearance at 24 weeks than patients treated with either lamivudine or adefovir. Telbivudine was approved by the FDA last week, under the brand Tyzeka, for hepatitis B. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 27, 2006.)

• Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, signed a definitive agreement to sell its corporate headquarters building and land, along with two adjacent undeveloped parcels in Torrey Pines Science Center to Slough Estates USA Inc. for $47.6 million, with arrangements to lease the building back from Slough. Under the terms, Ligand will receive cash of about $35 million, net of fees, expenses and existing indebtedness. The deal is expected to provide additional working capital.

• Maxygen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said it expects to receive about $17.8 million in cash in exchange for its equity interest in Mountain View, Calif.-based Avidia Inc., as a result of Avidia's acquisition by Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif. In addition, based on contingencies relating in part to the development of Avidia's IL-6 product, Maxygen might receive up to an additional $2.8 million as a result of the acquisition. Under an agreement previously signed with Avidia, Maxygen retains exclusive rights to Avidia's technology to develop and commercialize product directed to more than 10 targets, including CD40, CD-40 ligand, p40 (subunit of IL-23) and CTLA-4. Amgen completed its acquisition of Avidia, valued at about $450 million, last week. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 2, 2006

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