• Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it introduced the first tool to measure RNA quality and grade it on a quantitative scale of one to 10.

• Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp., of San Diego, entered definitive purchase agreements for the private placement of 31.4 million shares, raising about $11 million. The price per share will be 35 cents per share. The company also will issue to investors warrants to purchase an aggregate of 23.57 million additional shares of Alliance common stock at an exercise price of 50 cents per share.

• Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the underwriters of its recent initial public offering of 5 million shares of common stock, through which the company raised $30 million, exercised in full their overallotment option to purchase an additional 750,000 shares of stock at the IPO price of $6 per share. Alnylam is focused on developing and commercializing therapeutics based on RNA interference. (See BioWorld Today, June 1, 2004.)

• Anadis Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said it is in a joint project with a U.S. institute to further develop and conduct clinical trials of its inhaled spray that offers protection against anthrax and plague. The company also is working with the Australian Defense Department on development.

• Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, said it will regain all development and commercialization rights to the cancer vaccine Theratope from Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany. The decision does not impact the companies' collaboration to develop BLP25 liposome vaccine for non-small-cell lung cancer. Merck decided not to pursue Theratope because additional trials likely are to be required to support registration. The parties plan to negotiate terms and conditions under which the rights will be returned over the next 30 days. Theratope failed in a Phase III breast cancer trial last year. (See BioWorld Today, June 18, 2003.)

• Caprion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Montreal, acquired therapeutic antibodies now in Phase I trials for the treatment of hemolytic uremic syndrome resulting from Escherichia coli infection, as well as technologies for the generation and production of humanized monoclonal antibodies. Caprion will apply the technologies to develop its pipeline of tumor-antigen targets discovered with CellCarta, its proteomic profiling technology.

• Compugen Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, disclosed two potential therapeutic proteins that it recently added to its research pipeline. CGEN M-3, a soluble kinase receptor, has potential applications in various types of cancer. CGEN P-4, a peptide, has potential applications in obesity and eating disorders. The proteins are naturally occurring molecules and each is a splice variant of a previously known protein.

• Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., and Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., provided an update on the intended strategy to file for regulatory approval of Cubicin (daptomycin for injection) in Europe. By the end of 2004, Chiron expects to submit a marketing authorization application to the European Medicines Evaluation Agency under the centralized filing procedure for approval to market Cubicin for complicated skin and soft-tissue infections. Cubicin, a first-in-class bactericidal antibiotic, is approved in the U.S. and marketed by Cubist for that indication.

• Depomed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., acquired the 19.9 percent stake owned by Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, of Depomed's 80.1 percent-owned subsidiary, Depomed Development Ltd., for $50,000. The acquisition gives Depomed 100 percent ownership of the subsidiary. The DDL subsidiary has performed early stage development on extended-release formulations of gabapentin, baclofen and losartan.

• Encysive Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Houston, filed a shelf registration statement with the SEC to offer from time to time up to $150 million of its debt securities, common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares, warrants, purchase contracts and units.

• Galapagos Genomics NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, identified, validated and filed patent applications on several drug targets in Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Galapagos recently initiated small-molecule drug development programs based on the targets.

• Genetronics Biomedical Corp., of San Diego, was granted fast-track designation by the FDA for its MedPulser Electroporation System clinical development program for patients with head and neck cancer.

• Incara Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said that following discussions with the FDA, it mutually was agreed that Incara would revise the Phase I trial protocol submitted April 30 with its AEOL 10150 investigational new drug application and proceed directly to patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Incara expects to revise and submit to the FDA the revised protocol in the next two weeks. Incara said it expects the Phase I trial will evaluate a series of single doses of AEOL 10150 in ALS patients.

• Integrated Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boston, said an investor group that was the largest participant in the company's recent private placement exercised its option to purchase up to an additional 1.25 million shares at $1 each. The investor group also gets warrants to purchase 625,000 shares at $2.50 each. In a separate transaction, holders of about $1.27 million in principal of notes converted them into shares of common stock at an average conversion price of about $1.17 per share.

• Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, said that final data from a Phase I trial of INGN 241 in patients with solid tumors were presented at the 7th annual meeting of the American Society of Gene Therapy in Minneapolis. Those data show that direct injection of INGN 241 into tumors activated programmed cell death pathways, stimulated the immune system and reduced the levels of proteins associated with cell migration and tumor metastasis.

• ISTA Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said the FDA approved the company's new drug application for Istalol, a once-a-day liquid formulation of timolol to treat glaucoma. Istalol is ISTA's second approved product, behind Vitrase, which was approved in May for use as a spreading agent to facilitate the dispersion and absorption of other drugs. ISTA plans to launch the drug within the next few months. ISTA holds exclusive marketing rights in the U.S. under an agreement with the Japanese company Senju Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

• Matritech Inc., of Newton, Mass., and Wampole Laboratories LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Inverness Medical Innovations Inc., formed an agreement for the distribution of Matritech's NMP22 test kit. Wampole will receive exclusive rights to distribute the NMP22 ELISA test kit to hospitals and clinical reference laboratories in the U.S.

• Microbia Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., of New Delhi, India, reported the successful pilot-plant validation of a higher-yielding biomanufacturing process using Microbia's Precision Engineering technology. Attaining that milestone triggered an undisclosed payment from Ranbaxy to Microbia, as Ranbaxy prepares to move the strain into commercial manufacturing.

• Nuvelo Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., presented preliminary data from the first 87 patients in its Phase II alfimeprase trial in acute peripheral arterial occlusion, showing that there was a clear dose response, increasing the rate of recanalization as the trial moved from the 0.1-mg/kg dose to the 0.6-mg/kg dose. Alfimeprase was generally safe and well tolerated.

• Pall Corp., of East Hills, N.Y., said recent data demonstrated that its membrane technologies, validated to remove a host of viral and bacterial pathogens, also can remove prions for a range of applications. That includes removing prions from animal growth factors and serum that are used to manufacture drug therapies, as well as prion clearance from breathing filters used in medical procedures and from blood prior to transfusion.

• ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, said its therapeutic unit confirmed the oral efficacy of two of its new compounds to treat chronic inflammatory conditions. Current treatments for autoimmune disease use proteins such as antibodies, which are not orally active and must be administered by injection.

• Proneuron Biotechnologies Inc., of Los Angeles, and Cell Design LLC, of Atlanta, entered an agreement to establish a new human cell-processing facility in Atlanta to support the current Phase II study of Proneuron's Procord autologous incubated macrophages for spinal cord injury.

• Sirna Therapeutics Inc., of Boulder, Colo., said it has demonstrated reproducible and robust preclinical systemic efficacy using its chemically modified and formulated short interfering RNAs. Company researchers achieved a reproducible one-log reduction of hepatitis B viral DNA and S-antigen in a preclinical animal model using modified siRNAs. Sirna expects to select a clinical candidate by the end of this year.

• Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, presented preclinical results supporting the use of its product candidate to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies evaluating the long-term effect of TNFR:Fc expression on disease showed a complete suppression of RA over a three-month observation period in animal models. The product candidate, tgAAC94, uses the company's recombinant adeno-associated viral vector technology platform to deliver the DNA sequence encoding an inhibitor of tumor necrosis factor directly into affected joints.

• The Biotechnology Industry Organization, of Washington, launched BIO Ventures for Global Health, a nonprofit organization that will work to enlist the biotechnology industry in the fight against neglected diseases. BVGH has received a $1 million start-up grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

• The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., presented research results suggesting its lead product candidate, Remune (HIV immunogen), might produce an HIV-1-specific immune response in drug-na ve infected patients. The company also produced laboratory evidence that its second product candidate, IR103, which combines Remune with the immunostimulatory oligonucleotide adjuvant Amplivax, generated HIV-1-specific immune responses in a number of assays.

• Theratechnologies Inc., of Montreal, said its subsidiary, Celmed BioSciences, is acquiring San Diego-based NewBiotics Inc. in an all-share transaction. The acquisition is part of Theratechnologies' strategy of establishing independent subsidiaries to develop noncore programs. NewBiotics will complement Celmed's existing expertise in hematology. Theratechnologies' ownership in Celmed will be reduced from a controlling interest of 59.7 percent to 42 percent.

• Xcellsyz Ltd., of Newcastle, England, formed a nonexclusive deal to license its human skeletal muscle-cell lines to Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, of Ingelheim, Germany, for evaluation and drug discovery research. The cell lines are produced using a technology that allows the cells to proliferate while being able to revert to their original phenotype.

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