• Access Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Dallas, said it implemented plans to provide for its cash needs over the intermediate term. The company is in discussions with several institutional investors and investment firms to renegotiate the duration and terms of its short-term convertible debenture obligations. Access said it also is negotiating with potential purchasers for the sale of business units that are not part of its long-term strategy. The company's stock (AMEX:AKC) rose 56.5 percent, or 35 cents on Wednesday, to close at 97 cents.

• Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cheshire, Conn., completed its previously announced public offering of 2.5 million shares of its common stock at $26.75 per share, raising gross proceeds of about $66.9 million. Alexion intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 15, 2005.)

• ActiveSight, of San Diego, added renin to its portfolio of protein crystals for drug discovery. Renin inhibitors are under development to treat hypertension, chronic renal disease and congestive heart failure.

• Biovitrum AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, and Santhera Pharmaceuticals AG, of Liestal, Switzerland, signed a license and collaboration agreement that grants Biovitrum the exclusive worldwide rights to Santhera's DPP-IV inhibitor program to select and develop compounds and sell future drugs for metabolic diseases, including Type II diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Santhera will receive an up-front payment of €4 million (US$4.9 million), and it could receive €50 million in milestone payments per marketed product.

• Ceragenix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Denver, said its chief scientific officer, Peter Elias, a professor of dermatology at the University of California in San Francisco, was awarded a $1.2 million research grant by the National Institutes of Health to study the role of the skin's barrier function as they relate to eczema vaccinatum, a potentially fatal complication of smallpox in patients who have eczema. The study will focus on determining who is at risk to develop the complication, and on testing Ceragenix' Barrier Repair Technology as a potential pretreatment.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Naval Medical Research Center of the U.S. Navy to construct AdVac-based vaccines against anthrax and plague, and then test them in non-human primates. Under the terms of the agreement, Crucell obtained an option on exclusive commercialization rights to any resulting vaccine. The company also is using its adenovirus vector and PER.C6 production technologies to develop an Ebola vaccine with the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases.

• Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, and Biogen Idec Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., completed the filing of a supplemental biologics license application with the FDA for an additional indication for Rituxan (rituximab) in previously untreated patients with intermediate grade or aggressive, CD20-positive, B-cell, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in combination with CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone) or other chemotherapy regimens. The companies have requested a priority review from the FDA. Rituxan is approved to treat relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular, CD20-positive, B-cell, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

• Genstruct Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., achieved its first performance milestone in a multiyear deal with New York-based Pfizer Inc. The objective of that partnership is to discover scientific insights from large systems biology data sets in real time to provide causal models. The milestone included the development of causal system models that have been used to identify molecular mechanisms and biomarkers.

• Large Scale Biology Corp., of Vacaville, Calif., and BioCatalytics Inc., of Pasadena, Calif., entered a multiyear collaboration and license agreement to apply each company's technologies to develop improved enzymes for chemical synthesis. BioCatalytics will pay a commercial license fee to Large Scale for use of certain protein improvement technologies, and royalties on sales of products developed through the use of those technologies.

• Nektar Therapeutics, of San Carlos, Calif., closed the sale of its common stock, receiving net proceeds of about $23.6 million. The company offered about 1.4 million shares to institutional investors at a price of $16.71 per share, and has granted investors the option to purchase additional shares between now and Sept. 16, which could bring in up to an additional $7.9 million. Nektar said proceeds will be used to purchase the aerosol technology company, Aerogen Inc., of Mountain View, Calif. The merger transaction, announced earlier this month, is valued at $32 million, and will add an advanced inhalable liquid drug technology to Nektar's existing inhalable powdered drug platform.

• NitroMed Inc., of Lexington, Mass., said updated heart failure guidelines released by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association support the combined use of isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine, or BiDil, as an adjunct to current standard heart failure therapy for black patients. NitroMed launched the product in the U.S. in July.

• Odyssey Thera Inc., of San Ramon, Calif., signed an agreement with the National Institutes of Health, as part of the Molecular Libraries Roadmap Initiative. Under the agreement, the company will provide the NIH Chemical Genomics Center with access to its human cell lines with its PCA (protein-fragment complementation assays) technology for screening biochemical pathways in living cells. Terms were not disclosed.

• Provectus Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn., said the first group of subjects completed treatment in its Phase I trial of PV-10, also known as Provecta. The treatment was well tolerated at the initial dose level, and researchers intend to increase the doses to the maximum level for the remaining subjects. PV-10 is the company's lead cancer agent in development to treat Stage III metastatic melanoma.

• Structural GenomiX Inc., of San Diego, said the first patient has been enrolled in a Phase II/III trial of Troxatyl to treat acute myelogenous leukemia. The study has a targeted enrollment of 211 patients at 40 trial centers in the U.S. and Europe. It is designed to establish the safety and effectiveness of Troxatyl in relapsed or refractory patients.

• Targepeutics Inc., of Hershey, Pa., entered an agreement with the National Institutes of Health for rights to 10 U.S. patents, as well as pending applications, which will be used for commercializing the company's Genetically Engineered Interleukin 13 platform. The licensed patents will provide certain background rights for the platform, which includes Targepeutics' lead compound, Glioblast-13, a singly mutated IL-13 molecule combined with a derivative of Pseudomonas extotoxin.

• Vaso Active Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Danvers, Mass., completed a private financing in which it sold $2.5 million in senior secured convertible notes to independent institutional investors. The notes are convertible at any time into shares of the company's Class A common stock at 70 cents per share. Investors also received five-year warrants and rights to purchase additional notes. Net proceeds of $1.7 million will go toward the management's product rollout strategy for existing products and to continue to develop and commercialize additional products.

• X-Cell Medical Inc., of Princeton, N.J., initiated a clinical trial to study the safety and effectiveness of 17(beta)-estradiol stents coated with slow-release and moderate-release formulations. Estradiol, an approved hormone-replacement therapy, is designed to work with the stent system to reduce restenosis in coronary arteries.

• YM BioSciences Inc., of Mississauga, Ontario, said Health Canada has cleared a clinical trial application for a multicenter Phase I/II trial using YM's anti-EGFr monoclonal antibody, nimotuzumab (TheraCIM). The non-small-cell lung cancer trial will compare the effects of the combination of nimotuzumab with radiation against radiation alone in patients with Stage IIb and III disease who are found to be insufficiently fit to tolerate the standard of care or who are not amenable to treatment with curative intent.

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