• Acacia Research Corp., of Newport Beach, Calif., said its CombiMatrix Group and Nanomaterials Discovery Corp., of Atlanta, delivered a prototype workstation for the discovery and development of nanomaterials. The partners are working in concert to discover and develop new nanomaterials, nanotechnology tools and associated intellectual property. CombiMatrix exclusively licensed its semiconductor microarray technology to NDC for use in the efforts. They will share revenues from any commercially viable discoveries, as well as the sale of the workstations.

• Array BioPharma Inc., of Boulder, Colo., completed its previously reported offering of 8 million shares of common stock plus 1.2 million additional shares in the underwriters' overallotment option at $7.75 per share. The offering brings net proceeds for the company to about $67 million, which Array is using to fund research and development efforts, including clinical trials for its candidates, and for general corporate purposes. UBS Investment Bank was sole book-running manager with Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., Piper Jaffray & Co. and Thomas Weisel Partners LLC as co-managers. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 10, 2004.)

• Australian Cancer Technology Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, began a Phase II study of RP101 for metastatic pancreatic cancer. The eight-month trial will include 22 patients in Germany. RP101 tablets are being administered in conjunction with conventional chemotherapy agents, and will be evaluated with gemcitabine. Following the study, the company plans to begin a pivotal Phase IIb/III trial in the U.S. and seek orphan drug status. In two previous pilot studies that included 39 patients, treatment with RP101 demonstrated a reduction of side effects and an improvement in response compared to chemotherapy alone, the company said.

• Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., of Hercules, Calif., agreed to sell $200 million worth of 6 1/8 percent senior subordinated notes due 2014. The company, which manufactures and distributes life science research products and clinical diagnostics, plans to use proceeds for working capital and general corporate purposes, which could include acquisitions. It intends to close the private transaction on Dec. 21.

• Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., and Gen-Probe Inc., of San Diego, received European approval for the Procleix Ultrio assay for use on the Procleix Tigris system. The fully automated, high-throughput Procleix Tigris system can process 1,000 blood samples in less than 14 hours, for testing in smaller pool sizes and individual donor testing.

• Codexis Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., a subsidiary of Maxygen Inc., entered a collaboration with Jerusalem-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to develop improved processes for the manufacturing of a marketed fermented pharmaceutical product. The companies will use Codexis' MolecularBreeding-directed evolution platform to improve the productivity of the manufacturing process and to reduce capital expenditures. Codexis will receive research and development funding and could receive milestone and royalty payments. Codexis will grant Teva exclusive commercialization rights to the process.

• Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., fully repaid the outstanding principal and interest on its 8.5 percent senior convertible notes, which were due in September, to John Hancock Life Insurance Co. The total payment was $30.4 million, which included principal and accrued interest of $29.5 million and a 3 percent pre-payment penalty of $900,000. Cubist, which last month said it would use a portion of the $104 million it raised in a public offering to pay off the debt, noted that its early redemption will save about $1.7 million in future interest payments. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 24, 2004.)

• CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said its partner, Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Marietta, Ga., submitted to the FDA a supplemental new drug application for Aceon (perindopril erbumine) tablets. The proposed label expansion is based on the EUROPA (European Trial on Reduction of Cardiac Events with Perindopril in Patients with Stable Coronary Artery Disease) study, which assessed perindopril's ability to reduce cardiovascular mortality, nonfatal myocardial infarction and resuscitated cardiac arrest in patients with stable coronary artery disease, but without heart failure.

• CytoGenix Inc., of Houston, filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an invention titled "Chemo-Enzymatic Synthesis of DNA and Uses Thereof." The synthesis technology does not use bacteria to produce DNA, as current methods do, and therefore produces no bacterial toxins. It also is designed to produce DNA at a fraction of the time and cost associated with those methods, the company said.

• DiscoveRx Corp., of Fremont, Calif., and B-Bridge International, of Sunnyvale, Calif., partnered to provide Japanese researchers with more access to advanced DiscoveRx screening assays. The companies will collaborate to establish a local presence in Tokyo for DiscoveRx HitHunter products.

• Ecopia BioSciences Inc., of Montreal, said it is advancing its lead cancer compound, ECO-4601, to treat primary brain tumors into preclinical pharmacology and toxicology trials. The company expects to file investigational new drug applications in North America in the latter part of 2005. Preclinical trials will include rodent and non-rodent animal models and will focus on safety and efficacy. ECO-4601 is part of a new class of cancer drugs discovered using Ecopia's Decipher technology.

• GTx Inc., of Memphis, Tenn., signed an agreement with Orion Corp., of St. Louis, to purchase all remaining rights to toremifene in the U.S. and additional rights in all other countries. Toremifene is the active component in Acapodene, a product candidate that GTx is developing in late-stage clinical trials for two indications in men's health. The acquisition, which is expected to close by year-end, would make GTx the sole licensee of toremifene in the U.S. Toremifene was approved by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer and has been marketed under the name Fareston by Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Basingstoke, UK, under license from Orion.

• Inpharmatica Ltd., of London, signed a contract with Applied InSilico, of Chippenham, UK, to use its Evolutionary Learning Environment to reveal ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion) relationships in complex chemical data sets. Inpharmatica said Applied InSilico's ability to harvest data and provide insight into data sets will enhance Inpharmatica's ability to build more accurate predictive models.

• Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., discovered a panel of protein biomarkers that could play a role in the early detection, prognosis and monitoring of rheumatoid arthritis. The research is published in this month's Arthritis & Rheumatism in conjunction with an accompanying editorial. The clinical application of the biomarkers could enable clinicians to identify patients who would benefit from aggressive treatment early enough in the course of the disease to prevent joint destruction and disability. Researchers have selected 33 of those biomarkers for further validation.

• Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, said it is continuing to seek votes or votes by proxy for its special stockholder meeting scheduled to reconvene today. The vote is on the issuance of shares of Nanogen common stock in connection with its proposed merger with Epoch Biosciences Inc., of Bothell, Wash., and to allow Nanogen to expand the number of authorized shares. Of the proxies it has received, more than 90 percent are in favor of both proposals, but the number of shares represented by proxy remains about 600,000 votes shy of the 16.7 million votes necessary to increase the number of authorized shares and to complete the merger. The companies agreed three months ago to a $58 million stock deal to combine Nanogen's diagnostic products with Epoch's genomic analysis products. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 9, 2004.)

• Neoprobe Corp., of Dublin, Ohio, raised $8.1 million through the issuance of $8 million and $100,000 in four-year, convertible promissory notes to funds of Great Point Partners LLC and Neoprobe's president and CEO, David Bupp, respectively. The notes will bear an 8 percent annual interest and are freely convertible into shares at 40 cents each. As part of the transaction, Neoprobe issued five-year warrants to the investors to purchase about 10.1 million shares of common stock at 46 cents each. Proceeds will be used primarily to fund late-stage clinical development of Lymphoseek and to fund the completion of the commercial launch of Neoprobe's blood flow-measurement products, the Quantix/OR and the Quantix/ND.

• Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, said its partner, London-based GlaxoSmithKline plc, initiated a Phase I trial with a lead corticotropin-releasing factor 1 (CRF1) receptor antagonist compound. The study is evaluating the compound at escalating doses in healthy volunteers. As part of their collaboration, Neurocrine and GSK are developing CRF antagonists for anxiety and depression, among other indications.

• Nexia Biotechnologies Inc., of Montreal, said its U.S. and Canadian military biodefense partnerships have yielded early promising results for the use of Protexia (recombinant human butyrylcholinesterase - BChE) to treat civilian casualties resulting from a terrorist chemical weapon attack. The program, which began last year, has focused on the development of medical prophylaxis for military personnel and first responders working in contaminated areas. The product is competing for a U.S. Department of Defense grant for the development of recombinant BChE.

• Pepscan Systems, of Lelystad, the Netherlands, entered a research and license option agreement with Cytos Biotechnology AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, for the identification of peptide antigens to generate peptide-based therapeutic vaccines. Pepscan will use its Clips technology to map and reconstruct the receptor interaction site of a cytokine, which Cytos intends to target in one of its Immunodrug development programs.

• Pharmaxis Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, said its shareholders approved the A$16.5 million share placement and the closure of its share purchase plan announced in November. The placement of 22 million shares was made to institutions and investors at 75 cents per share. The share purchase plan closed on Dec. 3 with Pharmaxis raising A$3.27 million through the issuance of about 4.4 million new shares. The proceeds from the placement and share purchase plan enable the company to proceed with a new international Phase III trial for Bronchitol in 2005, it said.

• Procyon Biopharma Inc., of Montreal, filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA to begin a pilot trial of PCK3145, its drug for metastatic prostate cancer, followed by a North American Phase IIb trial. The randomized pilot trial's primary objective is to confirm optimal dosing frequency for the drug to reduce and normalize matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) levels in asymptomatic patients with castrate metastatic prostate cancer. It follows on the heels of a Phase IIa study the company completed earlier this year in the UK, with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients, in which the drug was shown to be safe and effective in normalizing plasma MMP-9 levels. The levels generally are elevated in those patients, and are believed to be involved in spreading the cancer to metastasis.

• ProMetic BioSciences Inc., a subsidiary of ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, said preliminary Phase I results showed that oral use of PBI-1402 increases the absolute and relative number of reticulocytes in blood. The findings demonstrate an effect of PBI-1402 on reticulocytes comparable to erythropoietin, the natural growth factor responsible for the production of red blood cells, and the data mark the first indication of efficacy in healthy human volunteers, the company said.

• Rubicon Genomics Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., invented a technology for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer. MethylPlex is designed to be a sensitive method to detect the patterns of abnormal DNA methylation arising in the serum and urine of patients during tumor formation and progression.

• SkyePharma plc, of London, signed a non-binding term sheet to acquire 11.2 million additional shares in Astralis Ltd., of Fairfield, N.J., from two former Astralis directors in exchange for the issuance of about 6 million ordinary SkyePharma share. Completion of the transaction is subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements and the appointment of two directors nominated by SkyePharma to Astralis' board. If the transaction completes, SkyePharma would own 36.4 million shares, or 49.7 percent, of the outstanding common stock of Astralis.

• Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, initiated a randomized, double-blind Phase IIb study of Ditpa to treat advanced congestive heart failure associated with low serum thyroid hormone levels. Ditpa, or 3,5-diiodothyropropionic acid, is a novel analogue of thyroid hormone that has demonstrated in preclinical testing its ability to improve measures of diastolic function, reduce peripheral vascular resistance and improve systolic function without increasing heart rate. The trial will evaluate 150 patients who will receive either of two doses of Ditpa or placebo for six months.

• Trillium Therapeutics Inc., of Toronto, entered an agreement with Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, granting the latter exclusive worldwide rights to TTI's technology to develop and commercialize products directed against an undisclosed target. TTI will receive an up-front payment, research funding and milestone payments, as well as sales-based royalties. No other financial terms were disclosed.

• Velcura Therapeutics Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., established a new Bone Therapy Evaluation Group to act as a service component of the company and allow testing of potential therapies for osteoporosis and other bone diseases. Velcura said it has pioneered the use of human bone cells as targets for drug discovery applications. Its OsteoChip customized DNA array contains 1,500 genes modulated in human bone formation.

• VizX Labs, of Seattle, announced the launch of the GeneSifter Data Center, an online library of microarray data available through the web-based GeneSifter microarray data-analysis system. GeneSifter helps researchers understand the biology underlying gene-expression patterns by determining the statistical and biological significance of their data, the company said.

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