• Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., priced the $2.5 billion principal amount of convertible senior notes due in 2011 and the same principal amount of convertibles due in 2013, gaining $5 billion, which is $1 billion more than the transaction size announced Feb. 13. Being sold in a private placement, the 2011 notes will pay interest semiannually at a rate of 0.125 percent per annum, and the 2013 notes will pay interest semiannually at 0.375 percent per annum. The 2011 notes will be convertible, at the holder’s option, at an initial rate of 12.52 shares per $1,000 principal amount of notes, an 11 percent premium based on the last reported bid price of $71.93 per share on Feb. 14. The 2013 notes will be convertible at an initial rate of 12.58 shares per $1,000 principal amount of notes, a 10.5 percent premium based on the last reported bid price of $71.93 per share.

• Atom Sciences, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health of more than $600,000 to develop technology to identify pathogens responsible for disease in case of biowarfare or a major outbreak. Initial work will be aimed at the bacteria that cause cholera.

• Celera Genomics Group, of Rockville, Md., said that Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., has selected two Celera antigen targets for investigation. Those are in addition to the two targets Abbott selected for advancement in April, and the two targets reported earlier this month. Abbott now has a total of six targets under investigation from the strategic collaboration focused on cancer.

• Emisphere Technologies Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., achieved a second milestone under its November 2004 deal with Basel, Switzerland-based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. to develop new oral formulations of a Roche small molecule for bone-related diseases. The milestone carries an undisclosed payment from Roche, and arises from the latter’s start of a clinical study using Emisphere’s eligen delivery technology in a formulation for a second product. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 19, 2004.)

• Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, completed the submission of a supplemental biologics license application with the FDA for Herceptin (Trastuzumab) to treat early stage, HER2-positive breast cancer. Genentech has requested priority review from the FDA. The submission is based on a planned joint interim analysis of more than 3,000 patients with early stage HER2-positive breast cancer enrolled in two Phase III trials.

• Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., entered a license, option, development and supply deal with MaxCyte Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., that allows Geron to use MaxCyte’s cell-loading system in the manufacture of mRNA-loaded dendritic cell-based vaccines, including Geron’s GRNVAC1 telomerase product. Specifically, the agreement gives Geron access to MaxCyte’s GMP-compliant cell loading technology for use in closed-system manufacturing of GRNVAC1 and future products.

• Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of New York, licensed the worldwide rights, excluding certain Asian-Pacific countries, to Zerenex, an oral, inorganic, iron-based compound that has the capacity to bind to phosphorous and form non-absorbable complexes. Zerenex is in Phase II development for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in patients with end-stage renal disease. Keryx will make up-front and milestone payments, as well as pay royalties on product sales.

• Novavax Inc., of Malvern, Pa., entered an agreement with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine to evaluate the efficacy of virus-like particle influenza vaccines, as well as Novasomes, a proprietary adjuvant. Scientists at the university with Novavax will evaluate the full range of immunity elicited by influenza VLP vaccines developed at Novavax, as well as the use of Novasomes to augment and/or broaden the overall protective immune response elicited by vaccines and to demonstrate the ability to lower the dose of antigen required to provide protection against flu.

• Pro-Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newton, Mass., entered definitive agreements for a $10 million private placement with institutional investors who purchased convertible debentures and common stock purchase warrants. The debentures, which mature on Jan. 1, 2008, are to be redeemed in 18 monthly payments of principal beginning Aug. 1, 2006, and bear interest at the rate of 7 percent per year. The debentures are convertible into shares of common stock at an initial conversion price of $3.35, subject to certain adjustments, and Pro-Pharmaceuticals may make payments of principal and interest in cash or in shares of its common stock at a 10 percent discount to any five-day volume weighted average prices for that month. The warrants are exercisable to purchase up to about 1.5 million shares of the company’s common stock at an initial exercise price of $3.35, also subject to certain adjustments.

• Stem Cell Innovations Inc., of Scotch Plains, N.J., formerly Interferon Sciences Inc., and privately held Amphioxus Cell Technologies Inc., of Houston, merged and completed a $3.8 million private placement. Prior to the merger, Amphioxus acquired all of the assets of Plurion Inc. relating to Plurion’s human pluripotent cells. The combined company will focus on cell biology.

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