• Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif., gained approval to market Alphagan P 0.1 percent for lowering intraocular pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The product is an optimized formulation of Alphagan 0.2 percent and was developed to minimize drug exposure while maintaining the drug's favorable efficacy profile.

• Antibe Therapeutics Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, appointed Daniel Legault president and CEO and Alain Wilson chief financial officer. Legault is a founding principal of Revelstoke Partners. Prior to that, he was president of Opal Sky. Wilson also is a founding partner of Revelstoke Partners. He previously was the office head of Mercer Management in Toronto. Antibe is an early stage drug development company.

• Bavarian Nordic A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, filed a patent-infringement suit at the U.S. International Trade Commission against Cambridge, UK-based Acambis plc's MVA smallpox vaccine products. Bavarian Nordic seeks to either stop Acambis from importing any infringing MVA smallpox vaccine products in the U.S. or it wants to receive a royalty for each infringing dose of the vaccine imported to the U.S., it said. It also filed a misappropriation of trade secrets case against Acambis plc and Acambis Inc. in a U.S. federal district court. Bavarian Nordic said Acambis received proprietary MVA-strain and dosing information and used them to develop a competing vaccine. Bavarian Nordic is seeking unspecified monetary damages and injunctive relief.

• Benitec Ltd., of St. Lucia, Australia, and Promega Corp., of Madison, Wis., settled their contract dispute pending in the U.S. District Court of Delaware. Promega will hold a worldwide nonexclusive license to make and sell DNA-directed RNAi-based research products. It will receive a cash payment and continued royalties from certain sublicenses. Financial terms of the settlement are confidential.

• Biosite Inc., of San Diego, signed an exclusive license with Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, for caspase-1, a cardiovascular disease biomarker. The parties will work together to find clinical applications for the biomarker. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Biovitrum AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, is acquiring Arexis AB, of Gothenburg, Sweden, a privately owned company that specializes in developing drugs for metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Specific financial terms were not disclosed, but Biovitrum is expected to pay, in cash and shares, an up-front payment, as well as milestones connected to clinical and commercial results. Biovitrum will add to its pipeline several Arexis programs that are in, or near, clinical development, including recombinant bile salt-stimulated lipase for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis.

• Cerenis Therapeutics SA, of Toulouse, France, closed a $30.5 million equity financing round led by Sofinnova Partners and co-led by HealthCap. Other investors were Alta Partners, EDF Ventures and NIF Ventures. Cerenis was founded in March to discover, develop and commercialize breakthrough HDL-related drugs to treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The funding will be used to establish the company's internal and external research and development programs.

• Cord Blood Registry, of San Bruno, Calif., said research may have found a way to harness the potential of embryonic stem cells without the ethical objections. A team of British and American researchers found a number of stem cells in umbilical cord blood, with characteristics similar to embryonic stem cells. They were able to turn the stem cells into liver cells through laboratory experiments. The newly discovered cells have been named cord blood-derived embryonic-like stem cells, or CBEs, and they could speed up the discovery of improved treatments for diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke and spinal cord injury.

• GenOhm Sciences Inc., of San Diego, began a year-long pilot study, commissioned by the UK Department of Health, for proactive patient screening to detect colonization by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The program will include about 10,000 patients using GeneOhm's IDI-MRSA rapid, molecular-based screening assay.

• HaptoGuard Inc., of Fort Lee, N.J., filed an investigational new drug application with the Division of Cardio-Renal Drug Products of the FDA for BXT-51072, an oral, organoselenium compound that exhibits anti-inflammatory features by mimicking glutathione peroxidase.

• Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., said researchers have fused an adult skin cell with an embryonic stem cell, and shown that the cell was reprogrammed to its embryonic state. If future experiments indicate that the reprogrammed state is retained after removing the embryonic stem cell DNA, the hybrid cells could be used to produce embryonic stem cell lines that are tailored to individual patients without the need to create and destroy human embryos. The results will be published in the Aug. 26, 2005, issue of Science.

• Icogenex Corp., of Seattle, expanded its biotech incubator space available for sublease to start-up companies. In addition to its incubator business, Icogenex focuses on identifying and developing compounds for the treatment of diseases.

• Immunotope Inc., of Doylestown, Pa., submitted an investigational new drug application to the FDA in collaboration with Duke University to initiate a Phase I ovarian cancer trial to evaluate safety and immune response to Immunotope's multi-peptide OPCM immunotherapeutic vaccine. It would be the first cancer vaccine clinical trial to use a cocktail of novel peptide antigens to treat ovarian cancer, the company said.

• Medicure Inc., of Winnipeg, Manitoba, completed a private placement, raising gross proceeds of about $3.8 million. The offering resulted in the issuance to investors of 5.2 million common shares and warrants to purchase about an additional 2.6 million common shares. The purchase price of the common shares is 74 cents a share, and the warrants are exercisable for a period of five years at 97 cents a share.

• Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., said it would appeal the verdict that penalized the company $253 million in the first case regarding Vioxx (rofecoxib), the painkiller that was pulled from the market almost a year ago because of its link to severe cardiovascular side effects. SG Cowen & Co. analyst Steve Scala expressed surprise at the judgment's size, noting that "lawyers likely will be emboldened to recruit plaintiffs even more aggressively." He added that the company faces more than 4,200 lawsuits representing more than 7,500 plaintiff groups, and "we believe this number could ultimately reach tens of thousands." Scala said Merck has set aside a $675 million reserve fund for legal defense costs. The company, which said it hopes a higher court will overrule the verdict, noted that punitive damages under Texas law would be limited to about $2 million. The punitive portion of the jury award totaled $229 million.

• MIV Therapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, recently closed a Reg S and Rule 506 non-brokered private placement of financing totaling $4.14 million. MIV is a developer of biocompatible stent coatings and drug delivery technologies for cardiovascular stents and for a range of implantable medical devices.

• Nuvelo Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., reported enrollment of the first patient in a Phase II trial evaluating rNAPc2 (recombinant nematode anticoagulant protein c2) as a potential replacement for heparin in patients being treated for acute coronary syndromes. The trial, also known as ANTHEM, is evaluating the efficacy and safety of rNAPc2 by reducing the dose of, and, ultimately replacing, unfractionated heparin in patients being treated for ACS.

• Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co., of Danbury, Conn., said its partner Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Chadds Ford, Pa., reported Phase III results of oxymorphone extended-release tablets demonstrating a statistically significant difference in pain scores when twice-daily oxymorphone ER was compared with placebo over 12 weeks in 205 opioid-na ve patients with moderate to severe chronic low back pain. The multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial was conducted under a special protocol assessment with the FDA. In October 2003, the FDA issued an approvable letter for oxymorphone ER, but requested the additional trial to confirm the safety and efficacy of the product.

• Praecis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Waltham, Mass., said its board authorized the company to seek stockholder approval of amendments to Praecis' amended and restated certificate of incorporation to permit the company to effect a reverse stock split of its common stock at a split ratio of 1-for-5, 1-for-7.5 or 1-for-10. If approved by stockholders and implemented, the reverse stock split would affect all shares of common stock, including those shares underlying stock options outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the reverse stock split.

• Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., said final data analysis of its Phase III trial of methylnaltrexone (MNTX) for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced medical illness showed significant improvements in measures of constipation distress, bowel movement difficulty and consistency, and global impressions of clinical change. The company announced top-line results in March stating that MNTX met its primary efficacy endpoint, defined as laxation within four hours, at two dosage levels: MNTX 0.15 mg/kg and MNTX 0.30 mg/kg. Additional results were reported Monday at the 11th World Congress on Pain in Sydney, Australia.

• Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Raleigh, N.C., and Altana Pharma US, of Florham Park, N.J., mutually agreed to terminate their agreement to co-promote Xifaxan (rifaximin) tablets 200 mg for the treatment of travelers' diarrhea caused by noninvasive E. coli. Altana, which said it is realigning its efforts in the respiratory therapeutic area, turned all promotional responsibilities over to Salix, which focuses on the gastroenterology space. Salix also has ongoing trials to expand the label of Xifaxan to include additional indications, such as C. difficile-associated diarrhea, hepatic encephalopathy and irritable bowel syndrome.

The Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle is enrolling patients with bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, a subtype of non-small-cell lung cancer, to study the effectiveness of a drug on tumors. The study, focusing on patients with advanced BAC who have progressed after treatment with no more than two previous rounds of chemotherapy, one of which must be Iressa or Tarceva, will enroll up to 150 male and female patients at 40 centers in the United States and 10 sites in Europe and Canada. The study is a multicenter, open-label Phase II trial.

• Synthetic Blood International Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., submitted an amendment to its investigational new drug application for Oxycyte, a perfluorocarbon blood substitute and therapeutic oxygen carrier, to begin a Phase II proof-of-concept study. The study will evaluate the drug's ability to increase brain oxygen tension and affect other brain chemistries that impact clinical outcome in patients suffering traumatic brain injuries. Results are expected before the end of the year.

• Third Wave Technologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., said the FDA cleared the company's Invader UGT1A1 Molecular Assay for in vitro diagnostic use. The test is used to identify patients at risk of adverse reactions to the chemotherapy drug Camptosar (irinotecan) by detecting and identifying specific mutations in the UGT1A1 gene that have been associated with that risk.

• Vyteris Holdings Inc., of Fair Lawn, N.J., completed a private placement of convertible debentures and warrants to a limited number of accredited investors. It issued $10 million aggregate principal amount of convertible debentures, and investors also received warrants to purchase more than 2 million shares of common stock and the option to acquire up to an additional $5 million of debentures and related warrants for a limited period of time. Vyteris said proceeds from the offering and a bridge loan of $1 million will be used primarily for general corporate purposes.

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