• Acologix Inc., of Hayward, Calif., moved its headquarters and R&D functions from Emeryville, Calif., to a facility in Hayward. Acologix is focused on novel therapeutics for metabolic disorders.

• AEterna Zentaris Inc., of Quebec, announced an agreement to increase its stake in its subsidiary, Atrium Biotechnologies Inc., from 60.2 percent to 61.1 percent upon the transfer of rights to Atrium's health and nutrition division to market and distribute its anti-angiogenic product, Neovasta. The company said existing marketing partnerships with Grupo Ferrer, of Barcelona, Spain; LG Life Sciences, of Seoul, South Korea; and Mayne Pharma, of Paramus, N.J., remain valid. However, the partnership between AEterna and Hamburg, Germany-based Medac GmbH has been terminated by mutual agreement.

• Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said a preclinical study, published in the Dec. 22, 2004, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlighted positive results of Paxceed on movement disorders, seen in disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The company said results showed that Paxceed, or injected paclitaxel, appeared to restore nerve function in an animal model.

• Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said it will receive $5 million in milestone payments from its collaboration with Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, N.J., for two compounds selected for preclinical development. Johnson & Johnson Research and Development LLC, an affiliate of Ortho-McNeil, will be responsible for future development and expenses for the compounds. Arena and Ortho-McNeil also collaborate to develop and market compounds that modulate the 19AJ receptor for treatment and control of Type II diabetes. The companies formed the agreement last week. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 22, 2004.)

• BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Novato, Calif., initiated its Phase II trial of Phenoptin, an investigational oral, small-molecule therapeutic designed to treat the genetic disease phenylketonuria. The company said patients who respond to Phenoptin in Phase II, as measured by at least a 30 percent reduction in blood phenylalanine, will be able to enroll in the Phase III trial expected to begin in the first quarter.

• BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lincolnshire, Ill., said it plans to meet with the FDA in the first quarter of 2005 to discuss recommendations on its protocols for LibiGel, a testosterone patch designed to treat female sexual dysfunction, so it can begin Phase III development. The company's statement followed Cincinatti-based Proctor & Gamble's decision to withdraw and resubmit a new drug application for its testosterone patch for FSD, Intrinsa.

• Bioxel Pharma Inc., of Sainte-Foy, Quebec, issued to Investissement Quebec warrants to purchase 126,051 common shares of its share capital at a price of C47 cents per share, issued in consideration of a C$956,762 (US$776,509) disbursement made Dec. 21. The company also issued warrants for 137,255 common shares at C51 cents each for consideration of a loan guarantee totaling C$700,000 by Investissement Quebec in respect to a C$1 million disbursement made Dec. 17.

• Cardiome Pharma Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, completed patient enrollment in its Phase II congestive heart failure study. The placebo-controlled trial is evaluating the impact of 24 weeks of daily oral dosing of oxypurinol at 600 mg a day on the clinical outcomes of 405 heart failure patients. The last patient was enrolled earlier this week. The study includes New York Heart Association Class III and IV patients with ejection fractions less than or equal to 40 percent. All patients have experienced at least one hospitalization or emergency room visit for heart failure in the previous 18 months, or they had a new heart failure medication added to their drug regimen due to lack of medical stability. Oxypurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, received a grant of up to €2 million (US$2.7 million) from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs' SenterNovem program for malaria research and AdVac technology development. SenterNovem is a stimulation program consisting of more than 100 subsidy schemes targeting high technology, energy, the environment, exports and international collaboration.

• Enzon Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bridgewater, N.J., named Jeffrey Buchalter president and CEO. The company said Buchalter, 47, will continue as chairman of Enzon's board of directors, a position he assumed in September. Prior to joining Enzon, Buchalter served as president, CEO and director of San Antonio-based ILEX Oncology Inc., which was acquired by Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., in December.

• GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, announced the achievement of several milestones in its multiyear alliance with Altana Pharma AG, of Bad Homburg, Germany, working with the Altana Research Institute in Waltham, Mass. Payments to GPC Biotech total $1.2 million and will be listed as revenue this quarter. Research milestones included successful performance of LeadCode screens on compounds of interest and the generation of specialized reagents for use in the drug discovery collaborations that are part of the ARI alliance.

• Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, received a grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases for the discovery of novel drug targets that could provide resistance to ricin poisoning. The company said it will receive $1.9 million for the initial one-year term of the grant. Lexicon also announced it will allow San Diego-based Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development LLC nonexclusive license rights for its gene-targeting technologies for the generation of knockout mice in its internal drug discovery research. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• MannKind Corp., of Valencia, Calif., received positive data from its Phase II study of Technosphere Insulin System, a potential treatment for Type II diabetes mellitus. The company said the study examined patients experiencing inadequate diabetic control on the basis of HbA1c results, which measure glucose control over a period of months. MannKind reported that four times as many patients in the Technosphere-treated group achieved a final HbA1c level of 6.5 percent or less, as compared to the placebo-treated group. The company is preparing to submit its Phase II results to the FDA and has initiated its first Phase III trial in Europe.

• MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, extended its agreement with Centocor Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company based in Malvern, Pa., until the end of 2007 to develop fully human therapeutic antibodies using MorphoSys' HuCAL GOLD technology. The agreement, initially signed in December 2000 and expected to end December 2005, calls for the companies to begin at least two new antibody development programs in 2005. MorphoSys will receive an up-front payment, and the company said it stands to receive licensing and milestone payments and royalties on any marketed product.

• NitroMed Inc., of Lexington, Mass., completed an amendment to its new drug application for BiDil, with the submission of the complete A-HeFT (African-American Heart Failure Trial) study report. NitroMed said A-HeFT results indicate that African-American patients with heart failure experienced a 43 percent improvement in survival and a 33 percent reduction in first hospitalization for heart failure. In July, the trial was halted early due to a significant survival benefit seen in patients, and the company accelerated the commercialization timeline for a potential launch of BiDil in 2005. (See BioWorld Today, July 20, 2004.)

• NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Salt Lake City, closed a private placement of $175 million of notes with institutional investors. The notes are secured by NPS' revenues from sales of Sensipar, a drug licensed to and sold by Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen Inc. for the treatment of hyperparathyroidism. NPS estimates net proceeds from the financing to be about $155 million, which will be used to fund clinical trials, development of sales, marketing and manufacturing capabilities, and licensing or acquiring complementary product candidates.

• ProtoKinetix Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said the first series of antifreeze glycoprotein (AFGP) compounds synthesized with technology acquired from INSA-Rouen has tested stable in acidic media. The company reported its GCD-1 compound remained unchanged in concentrated acetic acid. In naturally occurring AFGP, the sugar bond is unstable in acid environments, and its lack of stability and the prohibitive cost of extraction and purification of natural AFGPs have limited potential commercialization.

• SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., announced that Sigma-Tau, its European development and marketing partner for Zadaxin, has begun enrolling hepatitis C patients in a multicenter Phase III trial to evaluate the triple therapy combination of Zadaxin, pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin. Rome-based Sigma-Tau estimates completing enrollment of the 550-patient trial by the end of 2005 and said results might be reported by the end of 2007. In 2006, SciClone expects data from its U.S. Phase III trial showing whether Zadaxin adds a clinical benefit to pegylated interferon.

• Sicor Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., a wholly owned subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem, reacquired U.S. marketing rights from Wilmington, N.C.-based aaiPharma Inc. for its calcitrol injection vial. Sicor will make certain payments to aaiPharma, though no details were disclosed. Calcitrol injection vial is designed to treat chronic kidney dialysis patients with abnormally low levels of calcium in their blood.

• SkyePharma plc, of London, issued a filing stating its intention to acquire nearly 11.2 million shares of Fairfield, N.J.-based Astralis Ltd., which would give it a 49.8 percent interest, and its intention to seek the right to appoint two members to the company's board. Astralis said its board opposes SkyePharma's filing and released a statement that the board is committed to protecting the best interest of its stockholders. Astralis' product, Psoraxine, designed to treat psoriasis, is in Phase II trials.

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