• Acacia Research Corp., of Newport Beach, Calif., said its CombiMatrix Group made available to researchers its new CustomArray Human Toxicology Array for detecting changes in gene expression indicative of a toxic or stress-related response. It contains over 12,000 probes to genes, and the chip design will be improved and updated periodically with CombiMatrix's CustomArray technology, Acacia said.

• Belcher Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Largo, Fla., a wholly owned subsidiary of GeoPharma Inc., completed a double-blind clinical study to evaluate the efficacy of its patent-pending drug for mucositis in cancer patients. Administration of the drug, MF5232, improved the efficacy parameters in all rating scales. The company said that currently no effective treatment for mucositis is available.

• Calypte Biomedical Corp., of Pleasanton, Calif., raised an additional $1.5 million in a private placement to accredited investors. The company issued 3.7 million shares of its common stock at 40 cents per share and five-year warrants to purchase 2.6 million shares of its common stock at 50 cents per share. The proceeds will be used for general working capital purposes. The company focuses on developing in vitro diagnostic tests, primarily to detect antibodies to HIV and other sexually transmitted and infectious diseases.

• Cellegy Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, and Strakan Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Galashiels, Scotland, entered an exclusive license agreement for the commercialization of Tostrex (testosterone gel) 2 percent in Europe. Strakan is responsible for regulatory filings, sales, marketing and distribution of Tostrex throughout the European Union and in certain nearby non-EU countries. Cellegy is responsible for supplying finished product to Strakan through its contract manufacturer. Cellegy could receive up to $5.75 million in up-front and milestone payments, along with a double-digit royalty on net sales. Strakan also granted a right of first negotiation to Cellegy to license its oral testosterone-glucoside product, which is undergoing a Phase I study in the U.S. Swedish regulatory authorities are reviewing the filing for Tostrex, a transdermal testosterone gel to treat male hypogonadism, which affects up to 7 million men in Europe.

• Cepheid Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., executed a nonexclusive distribution agreement with Gene Co., of Hong Kong, for distribution of its products in China and Hong Kong. The nonexclusive, three-year agreement is for Cepheid's SmartCycler systems, accessories and OmniMix HS reagents.

• Chiral Quest Inc., of Princeton, N.J., entered a distribution agreement with Sigma-Aldrich, of St. Louis, covering Chiral Quest's Binaphane, C3-TunePhose, TangPhos and Binapine ligands. Chiral Quest is a research-based life science chemistry company that provides chiral products, technology and services. Sigman-Aldrich is a life science and technology company.

• Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., of Fremont, Calif., and the American Red Cross reported a new approach to detect proteins of low abundance in biological fluids using combinatorially generated, solid-phase affinity ligands to enable exploration of the serum proteome. Ciphergen will exclusively commercialize products from the technology in collaboration with the Red Cross under the trademark Protein Equalizer beads.

• Clinomics Biosciences Inc., of Cambridge, UK, the wholly owned subsidiary of Cytomyx Holdings plc, signed an agreement with the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute to jointly develop technologies for use in cancer research. Clinomics' technology, called Tissue MicroArrays, allows the identification of gene- and protein-expression patterns in tumors on a high-throughput basis. Data will be used to generate "molecular signatures" to define cancer patient subgroups, Clinomics said.

• CytRx Corp., of Los Angeles, updated the status of the preliminary inquiry by the state of Massachusetts concerning CytRx's employment of a consultant also employed by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The parties, which formed an RNAi licensing deal in April 2003, resolved the conflict of interest by placing the consultant's fee of $53,000 in cash and 100,000 shares of CytRx stock in escrow pending its forfeiture to the university. In a letter to CytRx, Richard Stanton, deputy chancellor of the medical school, said he is confident that the agreed resolution between the university and CytRx will satisfy the State Ethics Commission.

• EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., entered a clinical supply agreement with Elan Drug Delivery Inc., a unit of Dublin, Ireland-based Elan Corp. plc, to reformulate and manufacture Panzem in an oral liquid format. The supply will support EntreMed's clinical oncology program planned to begin in early 2005. Elan is manufacturing Panzem using its NanoCrystal technology that enhances product bioavailability and absorption.

• GenoMed Inc., of St. Louis, entered a multiyear collaboration with Italy's National Institutes of Health to test its patent-pending use of angiotensin II inhibitors to treat avian influenza in poultry. The Italian NIH will fund and perform all development work, and will locate a commercial partner. GenoMed retains a 30 percent share in global revenues. GenoMed applied for patent protection of a treatment that would make the practice of culling chickens unnecessary.

• Genteon Inc., of San Diego, said it has exclusive rights to the U.S. Patent No. 6,762,018 issued Tuesday. The method is designed to eliminate the need for dye labels for single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping.

• GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, said treatment-na ve HIV-infected adults with high viral loads and low CD4 cell counts at baseline who took the protease inhibitor Lexiva (fosamprenavir calcium) doses with ritonavir once a day in the SOLO study, or Lexiva alone twice a day in the NEAT study, had greater viral response overall at 48 weeks than those taking nelfinavir. Those findings were presented at the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Lexiva was co-discovered with Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. The companies also presented data showing Lexiva used in combination with abacavir and lamivudine demonstrated sustained efficacy and safety after 96 weeks of treatment. The studies were conducted in therapy-na ve patients, about 50 percent of whom had baseline CD4 cell counts less than 200 cells/mm3.

• Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., said its protease inhibitor Invirase was highlighted at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Data showed Invirase (saquinavir mesylate) demonstrated the best HIV RNA response seen in a large group of HIV-infected patients given highly active antiretroviral therapy. Invirase plus two NRTIs achieved HIV RNA levels of less than 400 copies/ml in 96 percent of patients, and 91 percent of patients achieved undetectable levels of virus after 24 weeks. The FDA approved the product in December 1995.

• Insmed Inc., of Richmond, Va., said French authorities authorized the use of and reimbursement for SomatoKine in treating infants with a rare and life-threatening type of extreme insulin resistance. Insmed also said Italian authorities authorized the use and reimbursement for SomatoKine in treating primary lateral sclerosis. The product is being made available through the named-patient program. SomatoKine is composed of insulin-like growth factor-I bound to IGFBP-3 and is in a pivotal Phase III trial to treat growth hormone-insensitivity syndrome.

• Metabasis Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, reported the publication of an article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, which describes Metabasis' work on a new molecular-modeling technology. The method, which for the first time integrates quantum mechanics with a method known as free-energy perturbation, was used to predict the relative differences in the solvation-free energies of small molecules.

• MultiCell Technologies Inc., of Warwick, R.I., completed a private placement of convertible preferred stock and warrants with institutional investors, generating gross proceeds of $2 million. Ascendiant Securities LLC in Irvine, Calif., served as placement agent. MultiCell will use net proceeds for general corporate purposes, including investment in research and development, and strengthening the company's balance sheet.

• MWG Biotech AG, of Ebersberg, Germany, and Innovadyne Technologies Inc., of Santa Rosa, Calif., entered a collaboration to provide a product targeted toward the protein crystallography market. The product combines MWG Biotech's Theonyx lab-automation robot system with the non-contact dispense capabilities of Innovadyne's Nanodrop system resulting in a platform for low-volume protein crystallization applications.

• Peninsula Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Alameda, Calif., said patient enrollment began in the final pivotal Phase III trial of doripenem, an antibiotic to treat ventilator-associated pneumonia. The trial will compare the safety and efficacy of intravenous doripenem with that of intravenous imipenem. The primary endpoint is the clinical response at the test of cure visit. Patients will be enrolled in sites worldwide. Doripenem is a new member of the carbapenem class of beta-lactam antibiotics.

• Power3 Medical Products Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, completed a stage of clinical validation on its neurodegenerative disease blood test, developed by the company in collaboration with Stan Appel, chairman of the department of neurology at Baylor College of Medicine. The study, which involved analyzing additional serum samples from 104 patients with Lou Gehrig's, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases, was able to discriminate between normal individuals and patients with neurodegenerative diseases at a level of 86 percent to 99 percent. That concurs with the company's previous positive results, obtained with 79 patients and healthy individuals as a proof of concept, the company said.

• PTC Therapeutics Inc., of South Plainfield, N.J., initiated a Phase I trial of PTC124 to evaluate the drug's safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile. PTC124 is a small-molecule drug being investigated initially as a treatment for cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, with the potential to treat other genetic disorders. In preclinical studies, PTC124 exhibited oral bioavailability, demonstrated activity and was well tolerated to dose levels higher than those required to show activity. PTC124 is orally administered and targets nonsense mutations.

• Seattle Genetics Inc., of Bothell, Wash., entered a preferred-provider agreement with Albany Molecular Research Inc., of Albany, N.Y., for manufacturing its drug-linker system. The system, comprised of cell-killing drugs and stable linkers, is used in Seattle Genetics' antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology. The arrangement secures rights for Seattle Genetics' ADC licensees to work directly with AMRI on manufacturing campaigns to obtain cGMP supplies of drug-linker units.

• The Speedel Group, of Basel, Switzerland, received development-related milestone payments from Novartis Pharma, of Bridgewater, N.J., for Aliskiren (SPP 100). The payments include both a cash element and an equity stake by Novartis Pharma in Speedel. Further details were not disclosed. Aliskiren is a first-in-class oral renin inhibitor that has demonstrated potential for the treatment of hypertension, the company said.

• Trimeris Inc., of Durham, N.C., said its approved product Fuzeon (enfuvirtide) is part of a support program developed at the North Jersey Community Research Initiative in Newark, N.J., to help physicians and patients overcome injection-related barriers. The research was presented Monday at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Fuzeon, a self-administered injection, is the first-approved fusion inhibitor to treat HIV that was developed by Trimeris. It is designed to work by blocking HIV from entering the human immune cell. In the "Do Not Enter" program, 91 percent of 64 patients prescribed enfuvirtide still are using the drug.

• ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, lowered its revenue guidance for 2004 to $38 million to $41 million due to the postponement of the start of a customer's late-stage clinical trial. The delay shifts anticipated testing revenue of about $3 million to 2005. The reduced revenues also are due to slower than expected growth in patient testing in the first half of 2004. Previous revenue guidance was $42 million to $47 million. The company's stock (NASDAQ:VLGC) fell 37 cents Tuesday, or 17.1 percent, to close at $1.80.

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