• Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., agreed to a nonexclusive license of its Argent cell-signaling regulation technology to Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Houston, to develop and commercialize new cancer therapies. The relationship actually dates to a research agreement at Baylor College of Medicine, from which Bellicum sprung. Ariad, which is taking an equity stake in Bellicum, will receive additional payments based on certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones, and also is due royalties. Products in this partnership will use Ariad's small-molecule dimerizer drug, AP1903, which already has completed a Phase I trial.

• Avista Capital Partners, of New York, announced it will purchase up to €125 million (US$156.5 million) of Roskilde, Denmark-based Nycomed A/S's common stock That investment will go toward Nycomed's €4.2 billion acquisition of Altana Pharma AG, of Konstanz, Germany. Altana focuses on gastrointestinal and respiratory therapeutics.

• Biovest International Inc., of Worcester, Mass., received notification from the Commission of the European Union on its acceptance of Biovest's BiovaxID therapy for follicular lymphoma into the European Community's Drug Register for Rare Diseases. In the EU, products targeted to treat disorders that affect fewer than five in 10,000 people are eligible for such designation.

• CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals, of Newtown, Pa., signed a loan modification agreement with SVB Silicon Valley Bank to expand its line of credit from $5 million to $10 million. The funds will be used for CollaGenex's working capital needs and the launch of Oracea, a systemic treatment for rosacea. The line of credit will have a two-year term.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, signed a nonexclusive PER.C6 commercial license agreement with ADImmune Corp., of Taiwan. The vaccine company intends to use the cell line technology to develop and commercialize a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis virus in Taiwan and China. ADImmune will pay a license issuance fee, annual maintenance fees and royalties on future product sales. Further financial details were not disclosed.

• CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., is ending its Aceon (perindopril erbumine) co-promotion agreement with Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Marietta, Ga. There are no financial commitments for either company related to the termination. CVT, which does not expect to recognize further Aceon revenues, is focusing its promotional efforts on its chronic angina drug Ranexa (ranolozine) going forward.

• Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., licensed exclusive North American rights to Caphosol from privately held InPharma AS, of Drammen, Norway. The topical oral agent is a prescription medical device indicated as an adjunct to standard oral care in treating oral mucositis caused by radiation or high-dose chemotherapy, as well as for dryness of the mouth or throat. Cytogen, which is paying $5 million in up-front fees upon closing the transaction and an additional $1 million after six months, also gained the option to acquire the product's European and Asian rights. InPharma will receive royalties and sales-based milestone payments, in addition to the up-front money.

• Dynavax Technologies Corp., of Berkeley, Calif., realized $29.5 million in net proceeds after closing its public offering of about 7.1 million common shares at $4.40 apiece, as well as the exercise of the underwriters' overallotment option of 930,000 more shares. Pacific Growth Equities LLC acted as the sole underwriter.

• Exelixis Inc., of South San Francisco, netted $90.5 million after closing a public offering of 11.5 million common shares, including 1.5 million to cover overallotments, at $8.40 apiece. Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as the sole book-running manager, Cowen and Co. LLC acted as the joint lead manager, and Banc of America Securities LLC and Piper Jaffray & Co. acted as co-managers.

• GeneThera Inc., of Wheat Ridge, Colo., finalized a collaboration with Italy's Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell Emilia Romagna to collaborate on scientific research related to the diagnosis of animal transmittable diseases, such as mad cow and scrapie diseases. The parties will seek to validate GeneThera's technology by comparing 10,000 samples between GeneThera's developed test and an approved postmortem test. GeneThera will be responsible for supervising all aspects of the testing, and the institute will provide its facilities.

• Lexicon Genetics Inc., of the Woodlands, Texas, said its research program to identify targets that may be important in the development of drugs to prevent or treat spinal muscular atrophy has been extended for an additional year by the United States Army Medical Research & Materiel Command. Lexicon gets $2.5 million in funding for the one-year extended term.

• NitroMed Inc., of Lexington, Mass., is laying off 120 members of its sales staff in revising its strategy and business model to focus resources on accelerating the development of BiDil XR, an extended-release formulation of BiDil (isosorbide dinitrate/hydralazine hydrochloride) taken once a day. The less costly approach to marketing the products current immediate-release formulation allows the company to conserve cash to accelerate BiDil XRs development while refocusing the market presence of the current formulation, it said. A small team of "highly experienced" senior cardiovascular specialists will focus on regional and national thought-leader physicians, current BiDil prescribers, as well as major metropolitan institutions dedicated to large numbers of African-Americans diagnosed with heart failure. NitroMed expects BiDil XR to enter the clinic within a month. On Wednesday the company's stock (NASDAQ:NTMD) dropped 24 cents to $2.29.

• PharmAthene Inc., of Annapolis, Md., is receiving $1 million from the Department of Defense to support ongoing development of Valortim, an investigational fully human monoclonal antibody for anthrax infection. The product was generated by the UltiMAb Human Antibody Development System from Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J.

• Senesco Technologies Inc., of New Brunswick, N.J., announced that on Oct. 10, it agreed to issue and sell about 2 million shares in a private placement of its common stock at the Oct. 9 closing price of $1.07, and expected to raise about $2.3 million. About $1.5 million will be invested by certain members of the board. The private placement is expected to close shortly. A registration statement will be filed by Nov. 10.

• Trimeris Inc., of Morrisville, N.C., lowered its Fuzeon sales guidance for the U.S. and Canada to between $126 million and $134 million for this year, down from between $140 million and $150 million. Company management blamed the lowered expectations on slower than expected adoption of the newest HIV protease inhibitors. In addition, Trimeris and partner F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, are delaying into the first half of next year an amended supplemental new drug application for a needle-free injection of Fuzeon until data from a safety trial and other information are available for the FDA, which has expressed concern over hematomas and nerve pain.

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