• Accelerator Corp., of Seattle, added Spaltudaq Corp. as the third company started at and by Accelerator, a privately held biotechnology investment and development company. The Series A investment in Spaltudaq was led by Accelerator affiliates MPM Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Amgen Ventures, OVP Venture Partners, Versant Ventures and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. The new company focuses on proprietary technology for the discovery of tumor-specific cancer antibody-based therapeutics.

• Adenosine Therapeutics LLC, of Charlottesville, Va., raised $3.5 million in a private equity financing to support the firm's growth. In particular, the company said it would use the added funds to expand laboratory capability to enhance its discovery capabilities and accelerate the clinical development of its family of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug candidates. Williams Mullen served as Adenosine's legal counsel.

• Advanced Magnetics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., said that clinical data published in the December 2004 issue of Public Library of Science Medicine shows for the first time the feasibility of computer-assisted lymph node staging using Combidex, Advanced Magnetics' investigational molecular imaging agent. Combidex (ferumoxtran-10) consists of iron oxide nanoparticles for use in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging to aid in the differentiation of cancer from non-cancerous lymph nodes.

• Adventrx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said a Phase II study to evaluate the use of CoFactor to modulate the effect of 5-FU in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer met its primary endpoint of response rate and the secondary endpoint of safety. Patient enrollment is complete, with a total of 50 patients recruited. The company expects to report complete results next quarter. The open-label, single-arm study is designed to evaluate safety, tumor response, time to tumor progression and overall survival in metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with CoFactor and 5-FU.

• AEterna Zentaris Inc., of Quebec City, said its Atrium Biotechnologies Inc. subsidiary closed an acquisition of all the assets of Multichem Inc., of Boucherville Quebec, for C$23.8 million (US$19.3 million). Of the total, C$22.2 million was paid in cash. Privately held Multichem markets active ingredients and specialty chemicals, and Atrium said the acquisition allows it to increase its presence in the North American market in the active ingredients and specialty chemicals sector. The deal was financed through Atrium's working capital, as well as from a new banking credit facility.

• Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cheshire, Conn., completed its previously announced sale of $150 million worth of 1.375 percent convertible senior notes due 2012. The closing also included the exercise by the initial purchasers of an option to purchase an additional $25 million in notes. The notes are convertible into Alexion's common stock at an initial conversion rate of about 31.8 common shares per $1,000 principal amount of notes, subject to adjustment (equivalent to a conversion price of about $31.46 per share and a conversion premium of about 35 percent to the last reported per-share price of $23.30 on Jan. 19). Net proceeds will be applied to redeem Alexion's outstanding $120 million worth of 5.75 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2007, and for general corporate purposes.

• Allon Therapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, began a Phase I trial to evaluate its lead product, AL-108, for Alzheimer's disease. In the study AL-108 will be administered intranasally to healthy adults to primarily test safety and pharmacokinetic results. It will take about eight weeks to complete, and analysis will take an additional two to three months. Subsequent Phase Ib trials will evaluate AL-108 in healthy adults most at risk for the disease and those diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

• Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it is beginning a program to develop RNAi therapeutics for spinal cord injury as part of a previously announced collaboration with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. The program will focus on a Merck-proposed drug target, for which Alnylam will proceed with preclinical development of an RNAi therapeutic. The target is in the Nogo pathway, which plays a role in preventing regeneration of nerves after injury.

• American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc., of Schaumberg, Ill., said that Feb. 8 is the launch date of Abraxane for injectable suspension. Abraxane will be marketed by the national sales force for Abraxis Oncology, APP's sales and marketing division. Abraxane is indicated for the treatment of breast cancer after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within six months of adjuvant chemotherapy. Abraxane was approved Jan. 7. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 11, 2005.)

• Amicus Therapeutics, of North Brunswick, N.J., appointed John Crowley chairman and CEO. Crowley most recently was founding president and CEO of Orexigen Therapeutics. Prior to that, Crowley was senior vice president of Genzyme Therapeutics and founding president and CEO of Novazyme Pharmaceuticals. Amicus develops orally active, small-molecule drugs.

• AnorMED Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, began patient enrollment of its Phase III program for AMD3100, a stem cell mobilizer and potential new agent in stem cell transplantation for cancer patients. Two Phase III trials will evaluate the product, one in a standard stem cell-mobilization regimen in 300 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients and the other in an equal number of multiple myeloma patients undergoing stem cell transplantation. Both are studies of AMD3100 plus granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) vs. placebo plus G-CSF. Their protocols stem from a special protocol assessment agreement reached last month with the FDA. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 3, 2004.)

• Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Victoria, British Columbia, filed a registration statement with the SEC for a proposed $100 million initial public offering, as well as a preliminary prospectus with Canadian provincial regulatory securities authorities. The shares will be offered by an underwriting syndicate led by Merrill Lynch & Co., co-led by Banc of America Securities LLC, and co-managed by Pacific Growth Equities LLC and BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. The company is working to identify, develop and commercialize new indications for approved drugs and drug candidates for under-served patient populations.

• Barrier Therapeutics Inc., of Princeton, N.J., filed a registration statement for a proposed offering of 4 million shares of its common stock, plus an additional 600,000 shares to cover overallotments. It is anticipated that half the 4 million shares will be offered by existing stockholders, and the dermatology company will not receive any of those proceeds. Morgan Stanley will be the offering's book-running manager, with Pacific Growth Equities LLC and JPMorgan Securities Inc. as co-managers.

• BioAdvance in Philadelphia, a biotechnology greenhouse for southeastern Pennsylvania, selected seven life sciences companies to receive a total of $3.5 million in seed capital. Among the recipients of the $500,000 financings are Marillion Pharmaceuticals, which is targeting cancer chemotherapy, and Jerin Discovery, which is developing a pharmaceutical treatment for obesity that does not rely on diet or exercise.

• CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown, Pa., said that IVAX Pharmaceuticals Inc. and CorePharma LLC agreed that they would refrain from selling generic versions of Periostat pending review of CollaGenex's motions for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent defendants from introducing generic versions of Periostat into the U.S. market. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York set Jan. 31 as the date for a hearing on the motions.

• Dendritic NanoTechnologies Inc., of Mount Pleasant, Mich.; The Dow Chemical Co., of Midland, Mich.; and Starpharma Holdings Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, reached an agreement that provides DNT and Starpharma with ownership or access to Dow's intellectual property portfolio and associated royalties in the field of dendrimers. Dow will assign 196 patents, comprising 41 patent families, to DNT in exchange for a significant equity stake in DNT. Starpharma, which already held a 42 percent interest in DNT, will make an additional cash equity investment in exchange for exclusive rights to DNT and former Dow intellectual property for polyvalent, dendrimer-based pharmaceutical applications. DNT's current product development areas include protein, antibody, and anti-inflammatory drug delivery technologies, as well as siRNA drug targeting and delivery solutions.

• Expression Analysis Inc., of Durham, N.C., was selected to serve as the microarray core facility to support clinical trials for the Immune Tolerance Network, an international collaborative research effort. Over a 20-month renewable contract, Expression Analysis will provide the group with a single-source environment for processing clinical trials samples submitted from multiple locations. Expression Analysis expects to process several thousand clinical samples.

• Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Tel Aviv alleging that Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., also of Cambridge, has infringed Genzyme's Israeli patent, No. 100,715, which covers certain cell culture processes involved in the manufacture of glucocerebrosidase. TKT is conducting a clinical trial in that country of its investigational gene-activated glucocerebrosidase (GA-GCB) for the treatment of Gaucher's disease, but Genzyme said it believes that TKT infringes Genzyme's patent by importing into Israel and using in Israel the GA-GCB product manufactured by the processes protected by Genzyme's patent. Genzyme, which said the patent covers novel culture processes that have been critical in enabling it to produce Cerezyme (imiglucerase for injection) on a large scale, does not expect its legal action to adversely affect patients enrolled in the ongoing trial.

• Inpharmatica Ltd., of London, entered a series of agreements to allow Pfizer Inc., of New York, access to four core components of Inpharmatica's PharmaCarta gene-to-candidate technology platform. Those components are provided to Pfizer in addition to an existing Biopendium subscription, which is moving into its sixth year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• IntegraGen SA, of Paris, said it would participate in the DiOgenes (Diet, Obesity and Genes) project. IntegraGen is one of a consortium of 30 European Union organizations that has been awarded €14.5 million (US$18.8 million) to carry out a coordinated investigation into a broad range of factors influencing weight gain, from diet intervention to gene nutrient interactions. IntegraGen will, in collaboration with the INSERM consortium on the Functional Genomics of Obesity, be responsible for the genetic aspects of the project.

• Metabasis Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, extended and expanded a year-old hepatitis C collaboration with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. As a result, the companies will continue their joint efforts to identify small-molecule therapeutics for hepatitis C virus infections for an additional year, through December. Under the extension, Merck will contribute drug candidates and fund Metabasis' efforts to apply its technologies to them with the goal of producing a candidate suitable for clinical development. The agreement was expanded to provide for use of certain other technologies in addition to Metabasis' HepDirect technology.

• Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, appointed Roland Scollay as CEO. Scollay's pharmaceutical experience includes five years on the global research management board of Novartis AG. Metabolic has programs aimed at treating obesity, pain and Type II diabetes.

• Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., entered an agreement with UCB Pharma's Celltech Antibody Research Centre of Excellence in Brussels, Belgium, to collaboratively research, develop and commercialize new antibody therapeutics generated from two validated Millennium targets: a co-stimulatory molecule and a chemokine receptor. The co-stimulatory molecule is a CD28 homologue and has been implicated in the regulation and activation of T cells. The chemokine receptor is expressed on peripheral T cells and has been implicated in multiple inflammatory diseases, including psoriasis, ulcerative colitis and graft rejection. UCB Pharma will be responsible for development activities and related costs through Phase II studies, including generating antibody candidates and their corresponding preclinical and early stage clinical evaluation. Millennium retains an option to co-develop and co-commercialize products with UCB Pharma, under a cost- and profit-sharing arrangement. UCB Pharma will make payments to Millennium upon achievement of certain clinical milestones.

• Nektar Therapeutics, of San Carlos, Calif., entered a pair of powder development deals. With Zelos Therapeutics Inc., of Waltham, Mass., the company agreed to collaborate on the development of an inhaleable powder form of Zelos' parathyroid hormone analogue, Ostabolin-C. Zelos is developing an injectable form of Ostabolin-C for osteoporosis and has completed three Phase I trials. Nektar will receive research and development funding, milestone payments and royalties when the product is commercialized. With Bayer HealthCare AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, Nektar agreed to collaborate on the development of an inhaleable powder formulation of a new form of ciprofloxacin to treat chronic lung infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis patients. Nektar will receive funding for preclinical development and milestone payments and royalties when the product is commercialized.

• Neuro3d, of Mulhouse, France, which is focused on drug discovery and development for psychiatric disorders, began Phase I trials of ND7001, an antidepressant drug with anxiolytic activity. ND7001 acts on a new target that has never been associated with depression or anxiety. The company said it is the first of a new generation of psycho-active compounds potentially devoid of several problems seen with existing treatments.

• Nuvelo Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., reported plans to offer 7 million shares of its common stock in an underwritten public offering. The offering will be made pursuant to the company's effective shelf registration statement. The underwriters will have an option to purchase up to about 1 million shares to cover overallotments. Nuvelo is focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutics for the treatment of disease.

• OpGen Inc., of Madison, Wis., raised new funds to conclude the Series B round for a total of $5 million. All previous investors participated, including Mason Wells Biomedical Fund, Stonehenge Capital, The State of Wisconsin Investment Board and The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. OpGen will use the capital to expand its marketing and sales infrastructure, conduct commercial service collaborations and contracts, and accelerate its commercialization of Optical Mapping, a single-molecule DNA-analysis technology that provides a system for comparison of whole genomes.

• Sciona Ltd., of Boulder, Colo., named James Bruce CEO. Additionally, the company has moved its headquarters from the UK to Boulder. Bruce most recently served as president and CEO of Madous Inc. Sciona's former CEO, Chris Martin, now is the company's chairman. Sciona researches and develops DNA screens for common gene variants that affect an individual's response to food, medications and the environment.

• U.S. BioDefense Inc., of City of Industry, Calif., signed an option license agreement with an undisclosed university and will evaluate an adult stem cell sorting and enrichment technology, which might be applied to gene therapy and bioengineered skin technology. It said more detailed information about the technology and potential applications will be released after exercising the option, expected in June.

• The University of Dundee in Scotland said nearly £9 million (US$16.7 million) was awarded by the European Commission to establish scientific evidence on how exercise prevents weight gain, obesity and Type II diabetes. The money will also start the process of developing a drug, which will mimic the beneficial effects of exercise for people who are unable to exercise themselves. Led by the university, the project responds to the urgent problem of obesity, which has increased threefold in the UK over the last 20 years.

• Wyeth, of Madison, N.J., and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, said Enbrel (etanercept) received Japanese regulatory approval for rheumatoid arthritis in patients who had an inadequate response to existing therapies. The product will be co-promoted in Japan by both companies. In the U.S., it is marketed by Wyeth and Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

• Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and more than 60 collaborating research sites received a $33 million grant from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md., to conduct a multicenter trial examining an approach for treating patients with stroke. The Insulin Resistance Intervention After Stroke (IRIS) trial will study the effectiveness of a commonly prescribed medication, pioglitazone, for preventing recurrent stroke and myocardial infarction among non-diabetic patients with a recent ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction among non-diabetic patients with a recent insulin stroke and insulin resistance. The IRIS trial addresses insulin resistance, a new approach to stroke prevention, the company said.

• YM BioSciences Inc., of Mississauga, Ontario, said it was advised by its European partner, Oncoscience AG, of Wedel, Germany, that the Phase II trial in children with brain cancer using the EGF receptor monoclonal antibody (h-R3) as a monotherapy achieved the clinical milestone that permits conversion of the trial into a pivotal trial. The new study will be a randomized Phase III trial comparing radiation to radiation plus h-R3 as a first-line therapy following surgery.

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