• Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its partner Boston Scientific Corp., of Natick, Mass., recalled nationwide about 200 units of its Taxus Express Paclitaxel-Eluting Coronary Stent Systems due to characteristics in the delivery catheters that have the potential to impede balloon deflation during a coronary angioplasty procedure. That can result in significant patient complications, including coronary artery bypass graft surgery and death. The characteristics were found in two manufacturing lots.

• Apogent Technologies Inc., of Portsmouth, N.H., extended the expiration of the tender offer and consent solicitation period until July 16 for any and all of its $250 million principal amount of 6.5 percent senior subordinated notes due 2013. As of July 1, about $62.4 million of the notes had been tendered. Consummation of the tender offer and consent solicitation is subject to the completion of the proposed merger between Apogent and Fisher Scientific International Inc., of Hampton, N.H., and the receipt of the required consents in the consent solicitation.

• DSM Nutritional Products Inc., of the Netherlands, published in its quarterly PUFA newsletter the benefits provided from long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) regarding cardiovascular and inflammatory function, certain types of cancer, and maternal and infant health. The acids are found naturally in fatty fish, but research shows that bioengineered plants can produce them. Plants make the precursors of LC-PUFAs, but are unable to synthesize the long-chain forms. Researchers at Bristol University in the UK introduced three genes involved in converting PUFAs into LC-PUFAs into mouse ear cress (arabidopsis thaliana).

• Maxygen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., completed its sale of its plant sciences subsidiary Verdia Inc. to DuPont, of Wilmington, Del., for $64 million in cash. All Verdia employees have accepted offers of employment with DuPont. The companies announced plans for the transaction in June. Maxygen is focused on bringing together molecular biology and protein modification to create biotechnology products. (See BioWorld Today, June 4, 2004.)

• Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research in New York awarded a grant to a research team led by Olle Lindvall at the University of Lund in Sweden to develop a neuroprotective therapy based on the implantation of encapsulated cells that produce the growth factor GDNF (glial-derived neurotrophic factor) directly into the brain. The project will receive $3 million in funding over four years, assuming all milestones are met. The first milestone is to generate human cell lines capable of secreting small amounts of GDNF and place those cells in retrievable fiber capsules.

• Molecular Devices Corp., of Sunnyvale, Calif., completed its acquisition of Axon Instruments Inc., of Union City, Calif., which was announced in March. Axon stockholders are receiving 0.00734 of a share of Molecular Devices common stock and about 14 cents cash for each share of Axon common stock. Molecular Devices is issuing about 3.6 million shares and paying about $68 million in cash in exchange for all of Axon's outstanding shares. Molecular Devices develops bioanalytical measurement systems that accelerate and improve drug discovery.

• Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, submitted an application for the European approval of Xolair, a treatment for allergic asthma. The application is based on clinical trials of about 5,500 patients showing the drug's efficacy in controlling symptoms and reducing asthma attacks. The drug blocks the action of immunoglobulin E and is administered by subcutaneous injection every two or four weeks. Xolair received FDA approval in June 2003 and is jointly developed by Novartis, South San Francisco-based Genentech Inc. and Houston-based Tanox Inc. (See BioWorld Today, June 23, 2004.)

• Orthovita Inc., of Malvern, Pa., closed the sale of about 5.7 million shares of its common stock to Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, for gross proceeds of $25 million. The price was a 5 percent discount to the five-day average closing price when the sale was announced in June. Orthovita will use the proceeds to increase product inventory, expand its sales force and for general corporate purposes. First Albany Capital Inc. acted as financial adviser to Orthovita.

• Pharmion Corp., of Boulder, Colo., said its underwriters exercised in full their overallotment option for an additional 690,000 shares of common stock at $48 each in the company's public offering. They purchased a total of about 5.3 million shares to raise $253.9 million for the company. The underwriters are Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. acting as bookrunner and lead manager, with Pacific Growth Equities LLC, JP Morgan Securities Inc. and Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. acting as co-managers. (See BioWorld Today, July 2, 2004.)

• Swedish International Development Agency and the World Health Organization's office in Beijing signed an agreement under which SIDA will fund a three-year WHO project on HIV/AIDS prevention and care in China. SIDA committed $3.3 million to the project and an additional $1.2 million through Swedish institutions. The main objective of the WHO project is to provide support to develop policies and planning for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, support and treatment.

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