• Agilix Corp., of New Haven, Conn., said findings reported at the BioArrays 2004 meeting in New York describe its discovery of low-level transcripts not previously identified in canine and human brain tissues. The findings were made using GenCompass, the company's microarray-based, open-expression profiling system in combination with CustomArray, a custom microarray from CombiMatrix Corp., of Mukilteo, Wash. Agilix used the products to discover 250 previously unknown transcripts that might be associated with human brain diseases including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, and also to identify more than 2,000 new canine transcripts. CombiMatrix's stock (NASDAQ:CBMX) gained 34 cents Tuesday, or 11.9 percent, to close at $3.19.

• AutoGenomics Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., and Gentris Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., entered a collaboration to develop a series of panels in pharmacogenomic testing. The alliance will focus on the integration of Gentris' pipeline of CYP450 diagnostic products and AutoGenomics' Infiniti Platform.

• Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, completed enrollment in a Phase II study of Theratope in women with metastatic breast cancer who also are being treated with aromatase inhibitors, a type of hormonal therapy, or Faslodex (fulvestrant), an estrogen receptor antagonist. Immunology data are expected to be available next year. Biomira continues to seek a partner to further develop the product in light of recently getting back development and commercialization rights from Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany.

• Cardiokine Inc., of Philadelphia, named David Brand president and CEO. He succeeds acting CEO James Mervis, a company co-founder who will continue as its chairman. Brand spent most of his career at GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, and its predecessor companies. Cardiokine, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on drugs for heart failure and related cardiovascular indications, initially is developing Lixivaptan (VPA-985), a selective V2 vasopressin receptor antagonist.

• Codexis Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., and Lonza Group Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, entered an agreement to commercialize a new process for the synthesis of an undisclosed chiral pharmaceutical compound. Codexis has developed a biocatalytic process using its MolecularBreeding-directed molecular evolution platform, which Lonza will use for the commercial manufacture and supply of the compound. The process employs three enzyme catalysts and uses raw materials produced in bulk by Lonza. Each enzyme has been evolved by Codexis, which will receive license fees and royalties from Lonza, and will sell commercial quantities of the biocatalysts to Lonza for use in the production process.

• Diversa Corp., of San Diego, expanded its agreement with Syngenta AG, of Basel, Switzerland, in the area of animal feed enzymes on an exclusive basis in exchange for an exclusivity fee and continued research and development funding. Zymetrics, an existing contract joint venture for animal feed enzymes, will be managed exclusively by Syngenta. At the same time, Syngenta and Diversa will collaborate on other enzymes and selected antibody and other biopharma products. The agreement also provides for a number of Syngenta employees to be relocated to work with Diversa in San Diego, and Diversa will assist Syngenta in developing the strategic direction of Syngenta's investment in enzymes.

• Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, said data reported by its Antigen Express immunomedicines subsidiary at the International Congress of Immunology and Conference of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Society in Montreal detail a method to enhance the presentation of peptides to T-helper cells. The mechanism has been able to create a hybrid linking the peptide recognized by T-helper cells through a chemical linker to an immunoregulatory segment of the Ii-protein (the Ii-key peptide). Such Ii-key peptide-linked epitope peptide hybrids are more effective than the epitope-only peptide in vitro, the company said. Immunizing mice demonstrated a four- to sixfold enhancement of Th1 cells by Ii-key/antigenic epitope HIV hybrids than HIV epitopes alone, as measured by an immunological assay specific for T-helper cells.

• Geospiza Inc., of Seattle, released its Finch Genotyping Data Manager, an add-on component to the Geospiza Finch Sequencing Center software, which is designed to help manage and analyze the data produced by identifying genes that indicate a susceptibility to known polymorphisms in DNA structure. Separately, Geospiza was awarded a six-month, $100,000 Phase I Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., in collaboration with OpGen Inc., of Madison, Wis., to fund a plan to build a genomic sequencing and assembly tool.

• Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., said results published in this month's issue of Stem Cells demonstrate that human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have immune-privileged properties, suggesting the possibility that there might be reduced need for immunosuppression upon transplantation of cells derived from hESCs. Researchers from the company and the Robarts Research Institute in London, Ontario, showed that undifferentiated hESCs transplanted in vivo, unlike other human cells, do not elicit certain immune responses that normally trigger graft rejection. In particular, the hESCs did not cause inflammatory cell infiltration when transplanted into mice. In in vitro experiments, neither undifferentiated hESCs nor partially differentiated hESCs induced proliferation of T cells. Geron's stock (NASDAQ:GERN) gained 74 cents Tuesday, or 12.6 percent, to close at $6.60.

• GTx Inc., of Memphis, Tenn., entered a collaboration with Tessera Inc., of San Jose, Calif., whereby GTx will provide clinical samples from its completed Phase IIb trial that evaluated Acapodene (toremifene citrate) for the reduction of the incidence of prostate cancer in men with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). The collaboration will focus on the development of a commercial blood or urine test that could detect high-grade PIN in men who unknowingly harbor the precancerous lesion of the prostate or who may develop prostate cancer. Acapodene is a nonsteroidal selective estrogen receptor modulator that appears to block estrogen's unwanted actions on the prostate.

• Immtech International Inc., of Vernon Hills, Ill., raised gross proceeds of about $8 million after pricing a public offering of 782,608 common shares at $10.25 apiece. The company also granted the sole underwriter, Jefferies & Co. Inc., a 30-day overallotment option to purchase an additional 117,391 shares. All the shares are being offered by the company, which is developing oral drugs for infectious diseases, cancer and diabetes, pursuant to a shelf registration statement that was declared effective three months ago by the SEC. The sale is expected to close on July 30. Immtech's stock (AMEX:IMM) fell $1.90 Tuesday, or 15.3 percent, to close at $10.55.

• Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG, of Munich, Germany, achieved a milestone in its Ingenotyping agreement under which it develops specific genetic mouse models for Bayer HealthCare AG, a subgroup of Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany. Specifically, Ingenium developed mouse models for Bayer target genes, though the companies did not disclose financial terms or further details of the ongoing agreement.

• MacroPore Biosurgery Inc., of San Diego, was awarded $750,000 as part of the second phase of a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The funds will be used to further study the potential role of adipose-derived regenerative cells in treating heart attack and to support future applications of the cells in clinical trials.

• Orphan Medical Inc., of Minneapolis, said all patients have completed the clinical portion of its second Phase IIIb trial of Xyrem (sodium oxybate) to treat excessive daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy. The company expects to release initial results by mid-September. Called EXCEEDS (Evaluation of Xyrem to Check Efficacy in Excessive Daytime Sleepiness), the randomized study is designed to evaluate improvement in excessive daytime sleepiness when the oral solution is used with or without modafinil (Provigil, Cephalon Inc.). Its primary endpoint is the reduction of excessive daytime sleepiness. Xyrem is approved for cataplexy associated with narcolepsy.

• Plantacor Inc., of Houston, exclusively licensed commercial rights to three preclinical cancer therapeutics from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The compounds include new liposomal formulations of Curcumin and Emodin for multiple cancers including leukemia, and Calagualine for leukemia and lymphoma malignancies. Plantacor granted the center an equity position in the company as part of the consideration for the agreement.

• The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., reported preclinical results at the International Congress of Immunology in Montreal demonstrating that IR103 generated HIV-1-specific immune responses. Mice immunized subcutaneously with the product showed significantly enhanced production of a number of key markers of HIV-1-specific immune responses, and the study demonstrated that it increases HIV-1-specific immune responses when administered with and without incomplete Freund's adjuvant. IR103 combines the company's HIV-1 Immunogen with the adjuvant Amplivax, an immunostimulatory oligonucleotide developed by Hybridon Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and licensed to Immune Response Corp.

• Third Wave Technologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., said its board authorized a program to repurchase up to 5 percent of the company's outstanding stock. Repurchases may be made in the open market and in private transactions at the discretion of management. The company, which develops molecular diagnostics for DNA and RNA analysis applications, had 40.4 million shares outstanding and $69 million in cash reserves as of June 30. Its stock (NASDAQ:TWTI) gained 57 cents Tuesday, or 17.3 percent, to close at $3.87.

• ViroPharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., began its Phase II program for maribavir, an oral antiviral drug that inhibits cytomegalovirus, in allogeneic bone marrow transplant patients. Within the next month, the company said it expects to begin dosing patients in the randomized trial. Thirty-six subjects will be randomized into three ascending-dose groups, with 27 receiving maribavir and nine receiving placebo in each group for a total of 108 subjects overall. Separately, ViroPharma said a U.S. district court granted preliminary approval of a settlement in its class-action securities suit whereby the company's insurance carriers will pay $9 million to the class, without any payment by ViroPharma or the other defendants, and for dismissal of the action with prejudice.

• ZymoGenetics Inc., of Seattle, began a Phase Ib study of TACI-Ig in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The dose-escalation trial is designed to evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of the product, which is being developed in collaboration with Serono SA, of Geneva. The partners also are planning clinical trials to test TACI-Ig in rheumatoid arthritis and are considering other B-cell disorders.

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