• AnorMED Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, began its fourth Phase II trial to evaluate AMD3100 as a new stem cell transplantation drug candidate for cancer patients. Previous data has shown AMD3100 increases the number of stem cells available for transplantation. The U.S.-based trial will be conducted at multiple centers and will enroll up to 30 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma patients.

• Antares Pharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., received a milestone payment from Pfizer Inc., of New York, stemming from a European licensing agreement originally established with Pharmacia Corp. for a product using Antares' Advanced Transdermal Delivery gel technology. It was paid when the licensee achieved regulatory approval for the product in Sweden.

• Barrier Therapeutics Inc., of Princeton, N.J., filed with the SEC for an initial public offering of shares to raise $86.25 million. Proceeds would be used for advancing the company's product candidates through preclinical studies and clinical trials, the commercialization of product candidates, and general corporate purposes. The company expects to list its stock on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol "BTRX." Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., Banc of America Securities LLC and JP Morgan Chase & Co. are underwriters for the proposed IPO. Barrier focuses on dermatology and has products in development for candida-associated diaper dermatitis and fungal infections, among other indications.

• Cambrex Bio Science Walkersville Inc., of East Rutherford, N.J., reported the availability of the Poletics Human Visceral Pre-adipocyte Cell System for use in research related to obesity, insulin resistance, Type II diabetes and certain related cardiovascular disorders. The system consists of human pre-adipocyte cells isolated from visceral fat surrounding the kidney or bladder and media for their proliferation and differentiation into mature lipid-accumulating adipocytes.

• Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., filed a $1 billion universal shelf registration statement with the SEC covering the issuance and sale, from time to time, of common and preferred stock, debt securities and warrants. Net proceeds from any offering might be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes, which could include the acquisition of other businesses, products, product rights or technologies or the retirement of debt. Cephalon is focused on the discovery and development of products to treat sleep and neurological disorders, cancer and pain.

• Ciphergen Diagnostics, a division of Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said a research team led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine used the company's ProteinChip technology to discover panels of serum biomarkers that are able to differentiate patients with pancreatic cancer from patients with other pancreatic diseases and from healthy individuals. The study was published in the Feb. 6, 2004, edition of the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research.

• Genta Inc., of Berkeley Heights, N.J., and Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bridgewater, N.J., said the FDA accepted the new drug application for Genasense (oblimersen sodium), the first systemic antisense therapy for cancer. The NDA proposes the use of Genasense in combination with dacarbazine for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma who have not previously received chemotherapy. In addition, the FDA granted priority review status to the application. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 11, 2003.)

• Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., reported the early release of market-trading lockup restriction on about 17.5 million shares of its common stock plus 977,800 unit purchase options. The lockup restriction, which had been scheduled to expire on April 4, will instead be released at the opening of the market on Feb. 6. Immune Response is developing products to treat and prevent HIV and AIDS.

• Invitrogen Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said the offer by its wholly owned subsidiary, Baseball Acquisition Corp., to purchase all of the outstanding shares of BioReliance Corp. for $48 per share in cash expired at 11:59 p.m., EST on Feb. 5. Invitrogen said its subsidiary accepted for purchase all the BioReliance shares tendered in the offer and said payment will be made shortly. According to American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, the depositary for the offer, as of the expiration of the offer, about 8.1 million BioReliance shares were validly tendered in the offer and not withdrawn out of about 8.4 million shares then outstanding, or about 95.6 percent of all outstanding shares of BioReliance.

• Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of New York, completed its previously reported acquisition of Access Oncology Inc., also of New York. The acquisition was approved by both companies' boards and the shareholders of Access, a privately held cancer-focused company. The purchase brought on board three Phase II products for Keryx. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 9, 2004.)

• Nabi Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Boca Raton, Fla., signed an international distribution agreement for the hepatitis B drug Nabi-HB with Kamada Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel. Kamada will purchase finished Nabi-HB and will coordinate the regulatory approval process, as well as exclusively sell and distribute the drug in Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and India. Nabi expects a response from the FDA in the first half of this year concerning its biologics license application for the intravenous formulation of Nabi-HB. It also plans to apply for approval in Europe in the first half of this year.

• Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, began an offering of about 3.2 million common shares under existing shelf registration statements. Of those being offered, about 2.9 million shares will be offered by the company and 315,000 will be offered by selling stockholders. It is expected that the underwriters will be granted an overallotment option by both sellers for an additional 474,750 shares. Credit Suisse First Boston will act as the offering's lead manager, with co-management from Needham & Co. Inc., Thomas Weisel Partners LLC and Fortis Securities Inc. Rigel's stock (NASDAQ:RIGL) dropped 83 cents Friday to close at $22.83.

• Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, completed a public offering of about 10.9 million shares of its common stock at $2.35 per share to institutional investors, for gross proceeds of about $25.5 million and net proceeds of about $23.7 million. The shares were offered under the company's shelf registration statement. Targeted Genetics develops gene-based products for preventing and treating acquired and inherited diseases. The company announced the pricing last week. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 3, 2004.)

• Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, filed a shelf registration statement to sell up to $50 million of its common or preferred stock. Net proceeds will be used for product development activities and for general corporate purposes.

• Vivus Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., said Phase II data of TA-1790 evaluated by erectile dysfunction subjects at their homes showed comparable results of the drug to Viagra, developed by Pfizer Inc., of New York. With each product, subjects had erections on about 80 percent of attempts within an average of 20 minutes after dosing. TA-1790, an oral phosphodiesterase Type 5 inhibitor, did not outperform Viagra as was seen in the in-clinic study. The company plans to continue clinical development, initiating in the first half of this year another Phase II study and safety studies of TA-1790.

• Xigen SA, of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Auris Medical AG, of Lohn, Switzerland, entered an agreement for the development of therapies for ear disorders. Auris Medical obtained a worldwide exclusive license to use Xigen's intracellular peptides for the development and marketing of pharmaceutical products in the area of ear disorders. In addition, the partners agreed to collaborate in the development of new compounds for the treatment of ear disorders and in preclinical and clinical programs. Auris made an undisclosed up-front payment to Xigen, and Xigen is entitled to milestone payments based on progress and sales. Financial terms were not disclosed.