• AmpliMed Corp., of Tucson, Ariz., raised $9.25 million after completing its Series A preferred stock offering. Last September, the company said it raised $5 million to open the round. Valley Ventures III LP led the financing, with added investments from Biotech Insight Management, InvestBio, Solstice Capital and Village Ventures. AmpliMed, which is developing cancer chemotherapies, said the funding would allow it to continue clinical development of its lead drug, Amplimexon (imexon), through Phase II studies in malignant melanoma and pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

• Anadys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, and LG Life Sciences Ltd., of Seoul, South Korea, completed a Phase I/IIa trial of ANA380. Data demonstrated that oral administration of the compound over 28 days was well tolerated and reduced HBV viral load by up to 4.0 log10 units, or nearly 100 percent, in the chronic hepatitis B virus-infected patients. ANA380 is a nucleotide analogue in Phase II trials to treat chronic HBV infection.

• Bavarian Nordic A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, reported positive results in the global development program of Imvamune as a third-generation MVA smallpox vaccine. Results from the Phase II trial in 165 healthy volunteers reconfirmed the strong safety and immunogenicity profile of the vaccine as reported from an earlier Phase I trial. All volunteers who received the highest dose level of Imvamune exhibited an immune response, the company said, demonstrated by a 94.2 percent seroconversion after one vaccination and 100 percent after two vaccinations.

• BioE Inc., of St. Paul, Minn., isolated and defined a population of stem cells with properties that distinguish them from embryonic, hematopoietic and bone marrow-derived stem cells, as well as other adult progenitor cells. The company confirmed the existence of the new multilineage progenitor cells by demonstrating their ability to self-renew, expand exponentially and differentiate into a variety of tissue types including bone, nerve and muscle, it said. The cells were isolated using BioE's PrepaCyte-CB cell-processing system.

• CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown, Pa., identified an application by IVAX Corp., of Miami, to list a generic form of Periostat (doxycycline hyclate) 20-mg tablets on the Illinois drug formulary. But CollaGenex noted that IVAX's generic form of Periostat has not been approved by the FDA, as a preliminary injunction was entered last July that prevents the agency from approving abbreviated new drug applications for generic versions of Periostat until the court has resolved the issue of whether the FDA should have classified Periostat as an antibiotic. The ruling is not expected until early next year.

• Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc., of Richmond, Va., received new contract awards totaling almost $1.7 million with government-related agencies related to biodefense and clinical trial laboratory-support activities. The company's work will range from production of select agent pathogens to immunogenicity assessment of select agent vaccines to clinical trial test analyses. It expects to begin the research late this quarter or early next quarter.

• Corautus Genetics Inc., of Atlanta, said 11 of its current or former directors and officers purchased an aggregate of 91,909 shares of unregistered common stock at $5.50 per share for aggregate proceeds to the company of $505,500. The subscription agreements were entered into effect May 7, and the price per share was the closing stock price on that date. Proceeds will be added to the cash of the company for future operating purposes, it said. Corautus is focused on developing gene transfer therapy products for the treatment of severe cardiovascular and peripheral vascular diseases.

• Epimmune Inc., of San Diego, received a two-year, $800,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., to support its analysis of the immune responsiveness of patients immunized with the multi-epitope cancer vaccine, EP-2101. Epimmune is conducting two Phase I/II trials with its vaccine, one in colorectal cancer and one in non-small-cell lung cancer, at various U.S. sites. Safety and initial immunogenicity results are expected in the third quarter.

• First Genetic Trust Inc., of Chicago, was awarded a two-year, $2 million Advanced Technology Program grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md. The funding will support its development of a secure information system that manages patients' medical and genetic data to enable surveillance of adverse drug reactions and pharmacogenomic research.

• Gene Network Sciences, of Ithaca, N.Y., said the Department of Energy awarded the company a $2.5 million, three-year grant to create a computational hypothesis-testing framework that will allow the company to use computer simulations to infer probable network architectures in cells in a massively parallel computing environment. The framework will include techniques to integrate data and to explore hypotheses about the functions of genes and proteins within pathways. The grant will further the company's methods to create a simulation of E. coli and Shewanella oneidensis.

• Gene-IT Inc., of Worcester, Mass., reported that Aventis SA, of Strasbourg, France, entered an agreement to license GenomeQuest for Aventis' intellectual property investigators worldwide. The license builds on a previous agreement between the companies that granted Aventis senior IP investigators access to the software to validate its use in production. The software is designed to complete sequence searches while maintaining compatibility with search methods used by major issuing patent authorities, it said.

• Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., reported clinical data that show Seprafilm Adhesion Barrier is effective in reducing the incidence of adhesive small-bowel obstruction following colorectal surgery. Seprafilm is a temporary, physical adhesion barrier for abdominal and pelvic adhesion prevention. Patients underwent one of several colorectal procedures, with the majority undergoing colon resection for inflammatory bowel disease. The incidence of bowel obstruction of any cause between the treatment and control groups (which did not receive Seprafilm) did not differ, the company said. Detailed analyses indicated that Seprafilm reduced the relative risk of a first adhesive small-bowel obstruction by 47 percent (p<0.05).

• Immunomedics Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., said collaborators at the University of Berlin in Germany reported initial Phase II results on 11 lupus patients given epratuzumab at the International Congress on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Related Conditions in New York. All showed initial evidence of symptomatic improvement, with the majority having at least a 50 percent decrease in British Isles Lupus Assessment Group scores. None showed infusion-related reactions or serious adverse events, and there was no evidence of antibodies evoked against the drug. Epratuzumab is in Phase II development by Immunomedics for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

• Incyte Corp., of Wilmington, Del., began a Phase I study to assess the safety and tolerability of INCB3284 in healthy volunteers. The trial is being conducted at one U.S. site and involves single and multiple doses of the oral CCR2 antagonist. The study's multiple-dose portion also will involve a delayed-type hypersensitivity test that is intended to serve as a pharmacological proof of principle for evaluating the potential anti-inflammatory properties of INCB3284.

• Isolagen Inc., of Houston, completed its analysis of data from a Phase I trial of the Isolagen Process in periodontal disease. That analysis included the examination of X-ray results of patients who received treatment. Isolagen also began a Phase II trial for the treatment of periodontal disease. Initial assessments of the Phase I results showed a positive response to the growth of papilla in the majority of patients treated with the Isolagen Process. Analysis of the X-rays also demonstrated that there was significant bone deposition in those patients treated with the process. The company said the Isolagen Process uses a patient's cells to create therapies to treat the underlying causes of a disease.

• La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, said data reported at the International Congress on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Related Conditions in New York detailed previously released findings on Riquent (abetimus sodium). Among the data were results of two studies that demonstrated reductions in 24-hour urine protein levels associated with treatment with the drug, and another study that showed an improvement in health-related quality of life following sustained reductions in anti-dsDNA antibodies after treatment with Riquent.

• Lonza Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, and AplaGen GmbH, of Baesweiler, Germany, closed a combined cooperation and licensing agreement for AplaGen's Correctly Folded Peptide Synthesis technology, a new method for the synthesis of longer mer peptides and proteins. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, said its board approved a 2-for-1 common stock split. Shareholders will receive one additional common share for each one held on June 2. The oncology-focused company had about 35.2 million shares outstanding.

• Neurochem Inc., of Montreal, moved all its employees to its new headquarters located in Shire BioChem Inc.'s former facilities in Laval, Quebec. Neurochem purchased the facilities for C$10.5 million (US$7.9 million) by asset-based funding and cash on hand. Neurochem is focused on the development and commercialization of drugs for neurological disorders, including Fibrillex to treat AA amyloidosis, and Alzhemed and Cerebril for Alzheimer's disease.

• Oscient Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Waltham, Mass., completed its offering of $125 million in principal amount of 3.5 percent senior convertible notes due April 15, 2011, in a private placement to qualified institutional buyers. The notes will be convertible into the company's common stock, at the option of the holders, at an initial conversion price of $6.64 per share. The notes may be redeemed by the company beginning on May 10, 2010. The company has granted the initial purchasers a 30-day right to purchase up to about an additional $18.6 million in principal amount of the notes. Oscient plans to use most of the net proceeds to launch Factive (gemifloxacin mesylate) tablets, accelerate aspects of the Ramoplanin and Factive development programs, pursue additional in-licensing opportunities and other general corporate purposes.

• Pain Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, filed a shelf registration statement with the SEC to periodically sell up to 15 million common shares. The company said it would use resulting proceeds for general corporate purposes and working capital requirements. Pain Therapeutics is focused on treating severe chronic pain.

• SemBioSys Genetics Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, entered an agreement with Dow AgroSciences LLC, of Indianapolis, for the Stratosome Biologics System and its application to animal health biologics. Both parties will collaborate to determine if the system can enable the commercialization of a plant-made vaccine from Dow. SemBioSys will receive up-front and milestone payments, though more specific terms were not disclosed.

• Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bethesda, Md., said the active treatment period of its randomized withdrawal study for treating constipation with SPI-0211 mimicked the positive results of its previous Phase III studies. The novel chloride-channel activator demonstrated rapid and sustained effectiveness in treating constipation, performing significantly better than placebo for all constipation variables tested. Results from the withdrawal period demonstrated no rebound effect after treatment discontinuation.

• TransTech Pharma Inc., of High Point, N.C., received two Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grants worth more than $700,000 from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The first, worth $665,000 over two years, will allow TransTech to use its technology to identify and optimize potential small-molecule drugs to treat smallpox. It supplements an ongoing collaboration with SIGA Technologies Inc., of Corvallis, Ore. The second award, worth $65,000 over six months, will be used to enhance TransTech's computational technology to generate molecular models and use them to design and identify new chemical inhibitors against specific targets of interest to the U.S. Army.

• Vicuron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of King of Prussia, Pa., completed enrollment in three Phase III trials involving more than 1,500 patients designed to support registration of once-weekly dalbavancin to treat skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTIs). The company expects to announce data in the second half of 2004, filing a new drug application with the FDA by the end of this year. The trials include patients with complicated SSTIs, uncomplicated SSTIs, and SSTIs caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Primary endpoints are overall clinical and microbiological response at the conclusion of therapy and an assessment of clinical response at the follow-up visit. Dalbavancin is a next-generation glycopeptide agent that belongs to the same class as vancomycin.