• Acacia Research Corp., of Newport Beach, Calif., obtained commitments from buyers who will purchase $15 million of its Acacia Research-CombiMatrix common stock in a registered direct offering. Acacia will sell 3 million shares at $5 each to a group of institutional investors in an offering expected to close on or about April 15. CombiMatrix will receive $13.6 million through the sale, in which all the shares are being offered by Acacia. Thomas Weisel Partners LLC acted as the offering's exclusive lead placement agent, with Brean Murray & Co. as exclusive co-placement agent. CombiMatrix is developing a platform technology to produce biochips, with applications in DNA synthesis/diagnostics, small interfering RNA synthesis, drug discovery and immunochemical detection.

• Aegis Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Research Foundation entered an exclusive license agreement allowing Aegis to commercialize drug delivery technology for noninvasive administration of peptide and non-peptide drugs. Aegis has exclusive rights to further develop and commercialize the basic technology for which UAB holds two U.S. patents. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cheshire, Conn., filed a mixed shelf registration statement with the SEC to periodically sell up to $150 million worth of debt, stock and warrants. The company said it would use any resulting proceeds for general corporate purposes.

• AngioGenex Inc., of New York, completed an $875,000 convertible bridge note and warrant financing led by Atypical BioVentures Fund. The newly formed venture capital fund is affiliated with Aurora Capital LLC. AngioGenex is developing a platform based on Id genes, which inhibit differentiation and potentially represent targets for cancer treatment and diagnosis, the company said.

• Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, licensed a portfolio of biomaterial, drug delivery and medical device technologies from Poly-Med Inc., of Pendleton, S.C. The agreement will expand Angiotech's relationship with Poly-Med, a developer of biomaterial technologies, which it initially formalized in a June 2001 licensing agreement. The collaboration grants Angiotech exclusive rights to several of Poly-Med's technologies, including a portfolio of absorbable and biodegradable polymers and drug delivery technologies.

• Cytovax Biotechnologies Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, is reducing its staff by 80 percent as part of a plan to restructure its operations. The plan calls for the completion of work on the company's internal research and development activities by the end of next month, after which its product candidates might be further developed through partnerships and/or external resources. Cytovax's stock (TSX:CXB) fell C19 cents Wednesday, or 23.8 percent, to close at C61 cents (US45 cents).

• Eurand International SpA, of Milan, Italy, signed a research agreement with the University of Urbino Biotechnology Center in Italy to evaluate a potential new cancer compound derived from indol-3-carbinol, a natural substance present in cruciferous vegetables. They will collaborate to develop and evaluate the efficacy of the orally administered compound in treating a range of cancers. The university, which discovered the compound, will be responsible for its synthesis and preclinical evaluation. Eurand will be responsible for the product's development and will use its solubility enhancement technology, Biorise, to optimize the drug's absorption profile. Eurand has worldwide exclusive rights to the compound and would fund future development and commercialization upon exercise of its option. If exercised, Eurand would pay the university success-related milestones and royalties on any future sales.

• Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, said preclinical data published in Cancer Treatment Reviews describes a new mechanism to induce presentation of a full spectrum of antigenic epitopes by a tumor to T-helper cells of the patient. Remaining issues to initiating clinical trials with the new therapy in otherwise poor prognosis patients are outlined.

• Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., received shareholder approval to change its name to Oscient Pharmaceuticals Corp. to reflect its focus on drug development and commercialization and as a reflection of its recent merger with Genesoft Pharmaceuticals. The company is preparing to launch Factive (gemifloxacin mesylate) tablets this summer. Oscient headquarters will continue to be in Waltham, with west coast offices in South San Francisco. The company will continue to trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "GENE."

• GenVec Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it is offering to sell up to 4 million common shares at $3.15 apiece, prior to commissions, in a best-efforts offering. The placement agent, Stonegate Securities Inc., is not required to sell a minimum number or dollar amount of shares. GenVec, which said the offering is expected to close later this week, plans to use net proceeds for product development activities, including support of clinical trials, expansion of manufacturing capabilities and other general corporate purposes.

• Imcor Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, said it received binding commitments for $10 million in a private placement equity financing. Purchasers will receive one common share and half a warrant to purchase its common stock. Shares will be sold at 75 cents apiece, and the warrants will be exercisable for five years at an exercise price of $1 per full warrant, subject to a call for a mandatory exercise of the warrants under certain conditions. Formerly known as Photogen Technologies Inc., the specialty pharmaceutical company is developing and marketing a platform of imaging products, including FDA-approved Imagent for use in patients to opacify the left ventricle.

• ImmuneRegen BioSciences Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., said it is establishing a bioterrorism advisory board to move the company in that direction. Company executives expect the advisory board will better enable them to go through the FDA and marketing requirements necessary to make its product, modified Substance P, widely available.

• IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., filed with the SEC for a proposed public offering of 3 million common shares. The company, which is offering all the shares, also granted underwriters an overallotment option to purchase up to an additional 450,000 shares. The offering's book-running manager is Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., while Piper Jaffray & Co. and Lazard Freres & Co. LLC also will act as managers.

• Jerini AG, of Berlin, reported positive results from a bioavailability study of its lead compound, Icatibant, to assess the subcutaneous formulation in comparison with intravenous infusion. The study demonstrated a good bioavailability, rapid absorption and low variability, the company said. In the study of 24 healthy subjects, icantibant demonstrated bioavailability of about 90 percent combined with low variability, and the maximum concentration Cmas was reached after about 30 minutes.

• Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, licensed exclusive rights in the U.S. to detect mutations in a new colon cancer gene, called Mut Y Homolog (MYH). Myriad believes the gene will provide improved sensitivity and predictive use to the company's Colaris product line for detecting all major forms of hereditary colon cancer. Myriad plans to introduce the enhanced test during the next quarter. MYH is a DNA repair gene that corrects DNA base-pair mismatch errors in the genetic code prior to replication.

• Neurochem Inc., of Montreal, reported additional positive interim data at the International Mon-treal/Springfield Symposium on Advances in Alzheimer Therapy, detailing cognitive function in 18 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). The results relate to patients who have completed both the three-month randomized Phase II trial and an additional 13 months of treatment in an open-label Phase II extension study with Alzhemed. The 18 patients showed an average ADAS-cog score of +2.33 points, as opposed to +9.65 points on average in comparable historical controls with AD patients. Eleven mild patients responded the best and showed a change from baseline in their average ADAS-cog score of -0.09 points, which compares favorably with a score of +7.62 points on average in comparable historical controls. The data are based on cognitive function as measured by the ADAS-cog test.

• NicOx SA, of Sophia Antipolis, France, said preclinical results showed that HCT 1026 significantly reduced beta-amyloid deposition in the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. The treatment produced a significant decrease in beta-amyloid peptide42 (Ab42) deposition in the dorsal hippocampus, a cognitive function area that is affected by beta-amyloid deposits early in the disease process. The effects were significant for both diffuse and dense plaques. The beta-amyloid deposits were reduced in size and had fewer inflammatory markers surrounding them, an indicator of decreased toxicity of those amyloid deposits that were present. No signs of side effects were observed.

• Orphan Medical Inc., of Minneapolis, filed a shelf registration statement with the SEC to sell 4 million common shares. The company said it would use net proceeds for general corporate purposes.

• Raven biotechnologies inc., of South San Francisco, entered an agreement for process development and manufacturing of its RAV12 monoclonal antibody with AppTec Laboratory Services Inc., of St. Paul, Minn. The work will be performed at AppTec's facility in the Philadelphia Naval Business Center. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., began a Phase I trial of VEGF Trap in cancer in collaboration with Aventis SA, of Strasbourg, France. An initial Phase I study, which is nearing completion, will help determine the optimal dose of the VEGF Trap, which was administered subcutaneously to patients with solid tumors or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The new study will evaluate increasing dose levels of the VEGF Trap, evaluating safety and tolerability and to determine the pharmacokinetics of the molecule. Preclinical research has shown that the VEGF Trap might play a role in treating diseases in which the growth of new blood vessels is a contributor to the disease process.

• SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., is conducting a clinical trial in Taiwan of high-dose Zadaxin in combination with lamivudine to explore the possibility of increased efficacy when used to treat chronic hepatitis B. SciClone holds a U.S. patent set to expire in 2018 to use Zadaxin in combination with lamivudine to treat hepatitis B. In the combination study, one group of patients is receiving Zadaxin twice weekly for six months plus a standard once-a-day dose of lamivudine for 12 months, while the other group is receiving the lamivudine dose plus a placebo. Endpoints are the disappearance of hepatitis B virus DNA and the achievement of sustained seroconversion.

• Sigma-Aldrich Corp., of St. Louis, acquired Ultrafine, of Manchester, UK, a transaction that Sigma-Aldrich said enhances its fine chemicals capabilities to serve pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers. Ultrafine supplies contract chemistry services for all phases of drug development, with capabilities ranging from fundamental research to GMP manufacturing, including the ability to supply active ingredients for clinical trials.

• Syngenta AG, of Basel, Switzerland, expanded its use of Geospiza Finch Sequencing Center Enterprise Edition as the company enters its second year rolling out Geospiza systems on both sides of the Atlantic. The Geospiza system has provided Syngenta with a flexible means to track samples and archive data. It was first installed at Syngenta's Jealott's Hill International Research Centre in the UK to reduce turnaround times for investigative biotechnology.

• The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said preclinical data of IR103 showed an HIV-1 specific immunogenecity in a mouse model. The company plans to continue development of IR103 as a potential therapy for HIV, starting clinical studies later this year. IR103 is an immune-based therapy comprised of a gp120-depleted HIV-1 immunogen (Remune) and a second-generation immunostimulatory oligonucleotide adjuvant (Amplivax, Hybridon Inc.).

• Transgene SA, of Strasbourg, France, reported Phase I/II data of Ad-IL2, an immunotherapy product, in 26 patients with melanoma and other solid tumors that encourage expansion of the trial. Analysis of 26 patients showed that treatment is well tolerated up to the highest dose level tested, with injection site reactions, fever, headache and transient lymphopenia as the main side effects.

• Trimeris Inc., of Durham, N.C., and F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, said that Fuzeon (enfuvirtide) would be available through retail and specialty pharmacies across the U.S. beginning April 26. The development is designed to afford enhanced and simplified access to Fuzeon for patients and their health care providers. Fuzeon was previously available only through a Progressive Distribution Program using Chronimed Inc., of Minneapolis.

• U.S. Genomics Inc., of Woburn, Mass., and Exiqon A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, entered a worldwide license agreement to incorporate Exiqon's Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) chemistries into reagent kits for the U.S. Genomics Trilogy platform. Introduced into the market in early March, the Trilogy platform is designed to directly detect and quantitate individual molecules of DNA, RNA and proteins without the need for amplification. U.S. Genomics plans to have the reagent kits that include LNA chemistries commercially available in the third quarter.

• VaxGen Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., said preclinical data of its attenuated smallpox vaccine candidate, LC16m8, demonstrated that a single dose was as effective as DryVax in protecting against a lethal poxvirus challenge. LC16m8 is a live attenuated vaccinia vaccine that has been licensed for use in humans in Japan since 1980. VaxGen is developing LC16m8 in collaboration with the Chemo-Sero-Therapeutic Institute of Japan. They plan to begin a Phase I/II trial in humans, a large-scale safety trial, and additional animal studies later this year.

• Xenon Genetics Inc., of Burnaby, British Columbia, was awarded C$4.7 million (US$3.5 million) in funding from Genome Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, and Genome British Columbia in Vancouver to develop improved screening, diagnostic tests and therapeutic treatments for common iron metabolism disorders. Matching funds for the three-year project will be provided by Xenon. To support the project, Xenon has organized an international group of experts from the U.S., France and Canada.