• Acacia Research Corp., of Newport Beach, Calif., said its CombiMatrix Group entered a multiyear deal with Furuno Electric Co., of Nishinomiya City, Japan, to develop CombiMatrix's Bench-Top DNA Microarray Synthesizer for CustomArray-formatted microarrays. Furuno will pay CombiMatrix an up-front fee of $1 million and additional development and milestone payments as the companies co-develop a commercial instrument to synthesize DNA microarrays.

• Advanced Viral Research Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., completed enrollment in its Phase I/II trial of AVR118 in 30 AIDS patients. The study, which is being conducted at the Kaplan Medical Center in Israel, includes cachectic AIDS patients who may or may not be receiving antiretroviral or highly active antiretroviral therapy. AVR118 is a biopolymer with immunomodulator activity.

• Archemix Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., and Nuvelo Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., began dosing in a Phase I trial of ARC183, an antithrombin aptamer being developed as an anticoagulant/antithrombotic for use in coronary artery bypass graft surgery. The open-label, dose-escalation study will evaluate the compound's safety, tolerability, anticoagulation activity and titratability. The initial phase will be conducted in 16 normal volunteers, after which ARC183 will be evaluated in patients with coronary artery disease.

• Athlon Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Birmingham, Ala., amended its $36 million counterclaim against aaiPharma Inc., of Wilmington, N.C., to include a claim for fraud. Athlon alleges that aaiPharma misrepresented its contingent and other liabilities by failing to disclose that it placed excessive quantities of Darvocet N100 and other aaiPharma products into distribution channels last year. In connection with its tort claim, Athlon is seeking punitive damages. Athlon also filed a separate lawsuit against aaiPharma for breach of the parties' asset purchase agreement pursuant to which aaiPharma purchased an analgesic compound currently marketed as Darvocet A500. Athlon is seeking damages for non-payment of royalties, and accounting and attorney fees in addition to other relief.

• Bioenvision Inc., of New York, began a pair of multicenter studies of Modrenal (trilostane) in pre- and post-menopausal forms of breast cancer. The Phase II (pre-menopausal) and Phase IV (post-menopausal) programs, which will take place at eight UK centers and involve more than 100 patients, will build on the existing data set for Modrenal of more than 800 advanced breast cancer patients. Modrenal is licensed for use in the UK for post-menopausal breast cancer following relapse on prior therapy. The new post-menopausal study will evaluate the compound's efficacy in women who have failed two prior endocrine therapies, one of which must be from the aromatase inhibitor class. Pre-menopausal research will focus on younger women who have relapsed or are refractory to first-line treatment.

• Chemical Diversity Labs Inc., of San Diego, extended an agreement through 2006 to continue to supply discovery chemistry libraries and medicinal chemistry services to Gedeon Richter Ltd., of Budapest, Hungary. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., said a professor at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the university's Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Defense to investigate Quadramet (samarium SM 153 lexidronam injection). Specifically, he will test its prophylactic use in combination with hormonal therapy in prostate cancer patients at high risk of having the disease spread to the bones, but whose disease has not shown any clinical signs of having done so to date. The award initially grants him $100,000, with the possibility of a $1 million grant should the government approve his still-to-be-proposed Phase II trial.

• CytRx Corp., of Los Angeles, sent a letter to the Berlin-Bremen Stock Exchange requesting that it delist the company's common stock, adding that the listing occurred without its consent or approval. CytRx, an RNAi product developer, said it made the request to prevent negative perception of the listing impacting the stock value.

• Elite Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Northvale, N.J., said all negotiations have terminated relating to its proposed merger with Nostrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Long Beach, N.Y. Elite is a specialty pharmaceutical company developing controlled-release products.

• GeneGo Inc., of St. Joseph, Mich., released its integrated data mining suite, MetaCore version 2.0. It features more than 300 functional maps of human biology, additional parsers for importing data, seven new network building algorithms and additional visualization tools.

• Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, raised gross proceeds of about $7.5 million after completing a private placement of about 3.6 million common shares and warrants to purchase up to about 1.1 million more. The company plans to use proceeds to scale up its manufacturing and launch Alferon N, its product for sexually transmitted diseases, as well as to complete clinical work on its immunotherapeutics/antivirals Ampligen and Oragens. Hemispherx issued and sold the shares and warrants to selected institutional investors, including current shareholders. Jefferies & Co. Inc. acted as the transaction's exclusive financial adviser and sole placement agent.

• Immtech International Inc., of Vernon Hills, Ill., began a Phase I study to evaluate repeated escalating doses of DB289 in healthy volunteers. The 74-patient trial, which is designed to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of the drug given at increased doses once a day for three days, complements a Phase II malaria study in Thailand. It is intended to determine whether dosing of DB289 can be adapted to a regimen that will shorten the treatment period for malaria. The drug is being developed for the indication under a collaboration with the Medicines for Malaria Venture in Geneva.

• Invitrogen Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said it might repurchase up to $200 million of its common stock. Its board previously authorized the repurchase of up to $300 million of the stock over three years, ending next July, of which $100 million of stock was repurchased in 2002. Invitrogen provides products and services to support research.

• Lorus Therapeutics Inc., of Toronto, said it would introduce a new series of small molecules against cancer at the World Congress Drug Discovery Technology meeting in Boston. The company said the compounds have demonstrated antiproliferative activity against a variety of human cancer cell types. Cancer cell-growth inhibition was demonstrated in a 60-cell-line tumor panel of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and in animal models of human colon and liver cancer, treatment with several compounds resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth.

• Metabolon Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., agreed to collaborate with the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on a biomarker study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. They will work to identify metabolic signatures for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that will lead to an improved diagnostic test using biomarkers found in cerebrospinal fluid and blood. Metabolon will test samples obtained from patients using its metabolomics platform, which searches for signatures of the disease by measuring the spectrum of biochemical changes and mapping those changes to metabolic pathways, the company said.

• Neurochem Inc., of Laval, Quebec, said it is not aware of any material information that would explain the recent trading over the last several sessions of its common shares. The company is developing therapeutics for neurological disorders.

• Nonlinear Dynamics Ltd., of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, entered a collaboration with Matrix Science Ltd., of London, to integrate Nonlinear Dynamics' protein informatics system into Matrix's Mascot Server. The goal of the agreement is to provide an integrated solution for the analysis and identification of proteins through mass spectrometry.

• Ondine Biopharma Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its common shares began trading on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market under the symbol "OBP." Canaccord Capital (Europe) Ltd. was appointed as nominated adviser and broker to the antibacterial company. Its shares already trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

• OriGene Technologies Inc., of Rockville, Md., is providing access to its TrueClone collection of non-redundant, full-length human cDNA clones to Xantos Biomedicine AG, of Munich, Germany. Xantos will use its high-throughput cellular screening technology, XantoScreen, and the human clone collection to identify and functionally validate new targets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Peptimmune Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., began a Phase I trial to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of GT389-255, a lipase inhibitor conjugated to a fat-binding polymer for the treatment of obesity. The single-ascending-dose study will involve 48 healthy male volunteers who will receive the drug in six escalating dose cohorts. Later this year, it will be followed by a multiple-ascending-dose study. If Phase I development is successful, Peptimmune said it expects to begin a Phase II trial in obesity next year.

• Prana Biotechnology Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, and its partners at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston agreed to settle all outstanding litigation with P.N. Gerolymatos SA, of Athens, Greece, regarding patents on clioquinol (also known as PBT-1). All patent oppositions in Europe and Australia are being withdrawn, and lawsuits pending in the U.S. and Greece are being dismissed. Prana and P.N.G. agreed to recognize each company's right to develop clioquinol for Alzheimer's disease in their respective territories. Prana will hold rights in the U.S. and Japan, while P.N.G. will hold rights for European and other territories. Prana also agreed to allot 1.35 million shares, which will be held in escrow for 12 months, and pay a royalty to P.N.G. on U.S. and Japanese sales. Prana will receive a percentage of P.N.G.'s income for the other territories.

• Protein Design Labs Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said enrollment would resume in the optional re-treatment arm of its Phase I/II trial of Nuvion (visilizumab) in patients with severe ulcerative colitis that is refractory to treatment with intravenous steroids. The company noted that an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board completed its review of two cases in the re-treatment phase that met the protocol definition of a dose-limiting toxicity, and concluded that the phase can continue. The review did not affect enrollment in or the projected timeline of the dose-ranging Phase I portion of the trial. The open-label Phase I/II trial of visilizumab in severe ulcerative colitis is ongoing.

• SciTegic Inc., of San Diego, released Pipeline Pilot for Linux. The company said the product provides a platform for integrating data and applications, and for capturing and automating data-processing tasks.

• Sinovac Biotech Ltd., of Beijing, said all 36 subjects in its Phase I trial of its inactivated SARS vaccine have been vaccinated with either the vaccine or placebo. Half of the patients have been injected with either high-dose vaccine or placebo, while the other half received either low-dose vaccine or placebo. The volunteers are observed for reaction the first three days, and then less frequently over the 210-day observation process. No adverse side effects have been observed.

• St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., said findings published in this month's issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology show that the lack of a gene called LBP-1a in the mouse embryo prevents normal growth of blood vessels in placenta. Researchers noted that it suggests a similar defect in humans could play a role in fetal growth retardation, infant mortality and spontaneous abortion.

• V.I. Technologies Inc., of Watertown, Mass., said a provider of proxy advisory services to institutional investors, mutual funds and other fiduciaries recommended that its clients vote in favor of the merger agreement between Vitex and Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md. The merger in the form of a $27 million stock exchange was proposed earlier this summer. (See BioWorld Today, June 4, 2004.)

• Valeant Pharmaceuticals, of Costa Mesa, Calif., filed an amendment to its registration statement to permit the public resale of its 3 percent and 4 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2010 and 2013, respectively. The specialty pharmaceutical company said the SEC declared the registration statement effective.

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