• Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, reported that sales of its new asthma drug, Xolair, a first-in-class monoclonal antibody that was approved in June for moderate to persistent asthma in adolescents and adults, were $25.3 million for the year. Tanox Inc., of Houston, is partnered with Genentech on the drug and receives a 10 percent royalty on U.S. and European sales.

• GTx Inc., of Memphis, Tenn., set its share price for its initial public offering at between $13 and $15 and its number of shares at 5.4 million, which would gross between $70.2 million and $81 million at that range. The company filed for the initial public offering on Oct. 15. GTX is in a Phase III study with Acapodene (toremifene citrate) tablets for reducing skeletal fractures and other complications of androgen deprivation therapy in men with prostate cancer. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 11, 2004.)

• LOF Partners LLC, of New York, closed Life Sciences Opportunities Fund II LP, with committed capital of $107 million. The fund will invest in companies in the life sciences and health care industry. It will invest $2 to $10 per transaction in smaller life sciences companies. The sectors of greatest interest to the new fund include generic and specialty pharmaceutical companies, drug delivery businesses and firms that provide services to pharmaceutical companies.

• Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, and Transgenomic Inc., of Omaha, Neb., entered an agreement allowing Transgenomic to distribute Nanogen's NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation in selected western European countries. Transgenomic's European marketing and sales organization will market, sell and service the instrument. The NanoChip Workstation is an automated, open-architecture instrument that facilitates routine detection of known genetic variation, complementing the Transgenomic Wave System's ability to scan for unknown genetic variation. Transgenomic stock (NASDAQ:TBIO) rose 40 cents Friday, or 17.4 percent, to close at $2.70.

• Neurogen Corp., of Branford, Conn., consummated its previously reported alliance with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., to discover and develop next-generation drugs for pain. The deal received clearance from the Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and the companies have now begun the collaboration. The alliance, reported Dec. 1, enables Merck, through a subsidiary, and Neurogen to pool drug candidates targeting the vanilloid receptor and combine their ongoing VR1 programs to form a global research and development collaboration. Neurogen received $30 million from Merck, including a $15 million up-front license fee payment and a $15 million equity investment in Neurogen stock. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 2, 2003.)

• Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Union City, Calif., entered a definitive agreement with existing shareholders to issue about 4.9 million shares of common stock in exchange for about $2.4 million in cash and the surrender of outstanding warrants to purchase about 3.9 million shares of Questcor's common stock. The warrants to be retired represent about 46 percent of Questcor's outstanding warrants prior to the private offering. The warrants had exercise prices ranging from 64 cents to $1.70 per share and were issued as part of private placements over the last three years.

• RecomGenex Ltd., of Budapest, Hungary, entered a research collaboration with AstraZeneca plc, of London, to produce functional nuclear receptors to be used for research purposes. Applying their RefoldAll protein renaturation technology to inclusion bodies provided by AstraZeneca, RecomGenex will determine optimal conditions needed to properly fold the complex proteins so they demonstrate full functionality. Resulting proteins will be owned exclusively by AstraZeneca.

• Scitegic Inc., of San Diego, reported the sale and installation of Pipeline Pilot to Novartis Pharma AG, of Basel, Switzerland, for use by researchers in the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. The Pipeline Pilot software system employs an approach to processing drug discovery data through flexible automated pipelines for faster data processing and analysis.

• Sepracor Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., said that in connection with the initial purchasers' exercise of their option to purchase additional 0 percent convertible senior subordinated notes, it closed its sale of $150 million principal amount of 0 percent notes. Such amount consisted of $50 million principal amount of 0 percent Series A convertible senior subordinated notes due 2008 and $100 million principal amount of 0 percent Series B convertible senior subordinated notes due 2010.

• Serologicals Corp., of Atlanta, completed the sale of its therapeutic plasma business to Gradipore Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, with the effective date of sale Dec. 28. The company said the sale of that business marks a major milestone in the transformation of Serologicals to an innovation-based company providing products in support of the life sciences. Serologicals is a provider of biological products and enabling technologies.

• Sicor Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said its stockholders voted to approve the proposed merger with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem. Sicor would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Teva. The merger is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year.

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