• Adenosine Therapeutics LLC in Charlottesville, Va., signed a worldwide collaboration and option agreement with Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., a subsidiary of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, to further develop A2B adenosine receptor antagonist compounds for the treatment of Type II diabetes, asthma and other disorders. Ortho-McNeil will obtain a one-year exclusive option to selected adenosine receptor antagonists discovered by Adenosine. Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development LLC will fund a one-year research collaboration in which it will conduct joint research with Adenosine to optimize drug candidates.

• Agilix Corp., of New Haven, Conn., said it presented data showing the versatility of its i-PROT technology for the identification and validation of biomarkers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis at the Cambridge Healthtech Institute's "PepTalk" conference in San Diego.

• Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cheshire, Conn., plans to sell about $125 million in convertible senior notes due 2012 to qualified institutional buyers. The company expects the offering to include an option for the initial purchasers to buy an additional $25 million in notes. It plans to use the proceeds to retire its outstanding 5.75 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2007 and for general corporate purposes.

• Altachem Pharma Ltd., of Edmonton, Alberta, named David Cox president and CEO, effective Feb. 1. Cox, who also will join the company's board, previously served as CEO of KS Avicenna Inc., also of Edmonton, and CEO of Synsorb Biotech Inc., of Calgary. Altachem develops products for treating HIV/AIDS and cancer.

• Ambit Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, entered a kinase-screening collaboration with New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Under the agreement, Ambit will use its kinase platform, a panel of high-throughput kinase assays, to characterize the specificity of BMS' compounds. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Ambit said it would use proceeds from this and other partnerships with BMS to develop its pipeline of stroke and cancer drugs, the first of which will advance into trials this year.

• Antares Pharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., said its North American licensee, BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lincolnshire, Ill., completed enrollment of more than 450 women in a pivotal Phase III trial for its transdermal bioidentical estradiol gel, Bio-E-Gel. The trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the product in treating moderate to severe hot flashes in menopausal women. BioSante expects to complete the trial by the end of the first quarter and will file a new drug application with the FDA in mid-2005.

• Antigenics Inc., of New York, intends to offer up to $60 million in convertible senior notes due 2025 in a private placement. The notes would bear interest and would be convertible into Antigenics shares on terms to be determined. The company expects to grant the initial purchaser an option for an additional $9 million in notes, and it plans to use up to $10 million to repurchase shares of its outstanding common stock. Remaining proceeds will fund additional clinical and preclinical studies, additional licenses and acquisitions, working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes.

• Bioenvision Inc., of New York, said it plans to publicly offer 7 million shares of its common stock that previously were registered with the company's shelf registration statement, filed in October. Bioenvision will grant the underwriters an option to purchase up to about 1 million shares of stock to cover overallotments, if any.

• EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., reported a published preclinical report supporting the use of 2-methoxyestradiol in combination with paclitaxel in the treatment of recurrent or advanced head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma. The findings, published in the December issue of Clinical Cancer Research, demonstrated that 2ME2 exhibited both antitumor and anti-angiogenic activity in an animal model of head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma.

• EpiPharma Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., agreed to purchase 25 percent of ITL Laboratories LLC, a company engaged in the research, development and administration of human umbilical cord stem cells (USCs) for treating neurological and degenerative diseases. ITL is establishing a research laboratory and treatment center using adult stem cells, including USCs.

• GenVec Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases began the second Phase I trial in healthy adult volunteers of an HIV vaccine candidate jointly developed by the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center and GenVec. The vaccine was developed using GenVec's adenovector technology and its 293-ORF6 production cell line. The company produced the vaccine under a $40 million subcontract issued and managed by SAIC-Frederick, of Frederick, Md., that extends through 2008.

• GlobeImmune Inc., of Denver, and MycoLogics Inc., of Aurora, Colo., signed a nonexclusive research license and option agreement for MycoLogics to pursue select antifungal products using GlobeImmune's Tarmogen Technology. MycoLogics will be allowed to enter proof-of-concept preclinical testing of human and animal vaccines targeting fungal diseases aspergillosis, coccidioidmycosis and cryptococcosis. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Hana Biosciences Inc., of South San Francisco, said that the SEC declared effective its resale registration statement. Hana filed the resale registration statement to satisfy certain of its obligations in connection with its two most recent private placements in February and July. The registration covers the resale of the common shares underlying the company's Series A convertible preferred stock issued in July, among others. As a result of the effectiveness of the registration statement, all of the Series A convertible preferred stock automatically converted into an aggregate of about 3.4 million common shares. The total shares are about 7.9 million, all of which are issued and outstanding. Hana Biosciences' stock (OTC BB:HNAB) dropped $3.10 Wednesday, or 56.4 percent, to close at $2.40.

• ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, began development of an experimental vaccine against the H5N1 influenza virus. The strain is new and humans have little or no resistance to it. The company has obtained the genetically modified rH5N1 reference strain from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in the UK.

• Labopharm Inc., of Laval, Quebec, received notification of regulatory approval for its once-daily formulation of tramadol from the French regulatory authority for treatment of moderate to severe pain. Approval in France allows Labopharm to initiate the mutual recognition procedure in pursuit of regulatory approval for the remaining European Union countries. Its tramadol product was developed using Contramid, the company's controlled-release technology.

• OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Melville, N.Y., said its Oxford, UK-based subsidiary Prosidion Ltd. initiated a Phase II proof-of-concept and dose-ranging study with the dipeptidyl peptidase-IV inhibitor PSN9301. The study will enroll about 60 patients into a two-week in-house dosing and monitoring protocol. It is being conducted in Berlin.

• ThromboGenics Ltd., of Dublin, Ireland, began a 50-patient Phase II trial to evaluate recombinant microplasmin in patients with vitreoretinal disorders, also referred to as diseases of the "back of the eye." Microplasmin is a truncated form of the human protein plasmin, and ThromboGenics said the product could simplify vitrectomy by inducing posterior vitreous detachment in patients with retinal conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and macular edema. Depending on results from the trial, ThromboGenics plans to submit an investigational new drug application to the FDA for initiation of a U.S. trial program.

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