• Acacia Research Corp., of Newport Beach, Calif., said its CombiMatrix group received notification that it will receive a $1.9 million award from the Army Research Office. The contract will fund development of a self-contained, fully integrated, automatic and disposable device for detection of a wide variety of microorganisms within one hour. The additional grant, along with money from the U.S. Air Force and the National Academies Grant, brings total government commitments to CombiMatrix to nearly $14 million, of which $6 million will be used during the remainder of 2006 and early 2007.

• Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, filed a preliminary prospectus supplement to its effective shelf registration statement relating to a proposed underwritten public offering of $75 million of its common stock. It plans to grant the underwriters an option to purchase about $11 million of additional shares. The offering's book-running managers include Banc of America Securities LLC and Lehman Brothers Inc., and co-managers include Piper Jaffray & Co., JMP Securities LLC and Canaccord Adams Inc.

• Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and certain affiliated entities, have filed legal action with the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware seeking a declaratory judgment that claims contained in U.S. Patent No. 6,410,516 covering methods of treating human disease by regulating NF-(kappa)B cell-signaling activity are invalid. Amgen and the affiliated entities are seeking the judgment to show they have not infringed any claims of the patent based on activities related to the products, Enbrel and Kineret. Four of the claims of the '516 patent are the subject of a trial begun earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Ariad and other parties against Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, alleging infringement through sales of Lilly's osteoporosis drug, Evista, and its septic shock drug, Xigris.

• Avecia Biotechnology Inc., of Billingham, UK, entered a partnership aimed at establishing bioprocessing technology for advanced tissue engineering. Work during the near £1 million (US$1.8 million), three-year project involves creating cost-effective and scaleable methods for making ethically derived adult stem cells for therapeutic use, notably for wound healing. Partners include the Centre for Stem Cell Discovery & Regenerative Medicine of the UK's Durham University, the Blond McIndoe Centre and Smith & Nephew.

• BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lincolnshire, Ill., said a new preclinical study demonstrated that its calcium phosphate nanoparticle-based vaccine adjuvant, BioVant, may serve as a vaccine adjuvant for the development of an effective vaccine against H5N1 avian flu. A paper published in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted the importance of using an adjuvant by reporting that an experimental bird-flu vaccine without an adjuvant was effective only at high doses, and that only 54 percent of subjects produced the desired immune response.

• Dynavax Technologies Corp., of Berkeley, Calif., completed its previously announced acquisition of Rhein Biotech GmbH, of Dusseldorf, Germany, for a cash transaction of about $12.4 million. In addition to the purchase price, Dynavax incurred certain employee costs and additional transaction-related costs and expenses. Rhein has been integrated into Dynavax as a wholly owned subsidiary and will be renamed Dynavax Dusseldorf. (See BioWorld Today, March 29, 2006.)

• Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, said its board authorized the extension of its current stock repurchase program for the repurchase of up to an additional $2 billion of its common stock for a total of $6 billion through June 30, 2007. The board also amended the current repurchase program by increasing the maximum number of shares that can be repurchased from 80 million to 100 million shares. As of March 31, Genentech had purchased about 52 million shares at an aggregate cost of about $3.6 billion. It had about 1.05 billion shares of common stock outstanding.

• Modular Genetics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., achieved all of its one-year milestones, triggering undisclosed payments, under a three-year collaboration with St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. to advance Monsanto's protein optimization platform. The companies agreed in March 2005 to use Modular's platform for use in agricultural applications, enabling Monsanto to accelerate its ability to identify and develop new traits for genetically enhanced crops. Throughout the remainder of the agreement, Modular could receive additional milestones pending the achievement of further developments.

• Pieris Proteolab AG, of Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany, entered a research collaboration with GE Healthcare, of Chalfont St. Giles, UK, for the discovery of targeted in vivo diagnostic and medical imaging compounds. Pieris will use its Anticalin technology - from which it generates high-affinity human protein product candidates - to select protein ligands to two disease-relevant targets selected by GE Healthcare, which will then have an option to advance clinical development of any resulting imaging agent. Pieris retains all rights for the Anticalin technology's therapeutic use. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Rexahn Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Rockville, Md., executed definitive agreements with Future Systems Inc., a information technology company based in Seoul, South Korea, which will be expanding its business to the biopharmaceutical industry. Under the terms, Rexahn would transfer exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and sell three of Rexahn's drug candidates in certain territories in exchange for $35.8 million. At the same time, Future Systems would issue 4.3 million shares of common stock to Rexahn, representing about 28 percent of Future Systems' outstanding shares. That investment would make Rexahn the largest shareholder of FSI. The deal is expected to close this quarter.

• Safetek International Inc., of New York, signed a term sheet with Resdevco Ltd., of Jerusalem, to possibly acquire exclusive worldwide licensing rights for all of Resdevco's intellectual property relating to its antioxidant compounds for all indications. Safetek intends to initially focus on the development of compounds with potential against oxidative damage to the retina, and to carry out animal and clinical studies against other diseases involving oxidation caused by free radicals. Financial terms of the proposed deal were not disclosed.

• Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., closed its acquisition of the oncology drug assets of Targent Inc., of Princeton, N.J. The key product acquired is levofolinic acid (LFA), the pure active isomer of calcium leucovorin, a component of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-containing regimens for colorectal cancer and other malignancies. Spectrum acquired LFA's sales and marketing rights in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, along with several other oncology drugs in various stages of development. In exchange, Spectrum issued 600,000 common shares to Targent, a third of which will be registered for resale. The aggregate value of the shares is about $2.8 million, based on yesterday's closing value of $4.64. Spectrum also will issue additional shares and cash upon achievement of certain regulatory and sales milestones, and in total, the deal could exceed $6 million. (See BioWorld Today, March 21, 2006.)

• UCB Pharma, of Brussels, Belgium, reached an agreement with Recordati SpA, of Milan, Italy, to transfer back the sales and marketing rights in Germany of Corifeo, an antihypertensive calcium channel blocker, for a payment to UCB of €10 million (US$12.4 million). The move is part of a UCB strategy to focus on innovation for specialists, particularly in the fields of the central nervous system, inflammation and oncology.