• Antares Pharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., gained rights to a topical anesthetic product called Alevia after signing an exclusive development and license agreement with privately held NPMG. The product, which is based on Antares' ATD gel technology, will contain lidocaine and tetracaine at low levels to allow distribution and use without a medical prescription and will rely on the ATD gel technology to provide an anesthetic effect. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• BioMS Medical Corp., of Edmonton, Alberta, purchased an 18 percent interest in privately held BioCyDex Inc., also of Edmonton. At the same time, BioMS committed to purchase a 30 percent interest in the company over the next year, and it has an option to purchase up to a 50 percent interest over the next two years. BioCyDex is developing technology to deliver antiviral and chemotherapeutic compounds into cells to enhance their effectiveness, as well as technology for the delivery and imaging of genes in cells to be used in gene therapy treatments.

• Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd., of Petach-Tikva, Israel, reported preclinical study results in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the British Journal of Cancer and Oncogene. The results showed CF101 is active in inhibiting the progression of a variety of tumors, including colon and prostate cancer. They also show the drug modulates signaling pathways that play a role in cancer and autoimmune diseases. CF101 is in two Phase II studies to treat rheumatoid arthritis and colorectal cancer.

• Cepheid Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., entered a commercial relationship with bioMerieux SA, of Marcy-l'Etoile, France, an in vitro infectious disease diagnostics company that will develop DNA-testing products that use its NASBA (Nucleic Acid Sequence-Based Amplification) technology to be run on systems employing Cepheid's Smart Cycler and GeneXpert platform technologies. Cepheid will receive $15 million in up-front and milestone payments in addition to product purchases and royalty payments on end-user GeneXpert test cartridge sales. A $2 million option payment received in October will be credited toward the initial payment.

• Depomed Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., began a Phase II trial under its investigational new drug application approval for Furosemide GR, a once-daily, controlled-release formulation of the diuretic furosemide based on Depomed's Gastric Retention drug delivery system. The trial will evaluate the drug's effectiveness as a controlled-released diuretic in alleviating the build-up of fluid associated with congestive heart failure.

• D-Pharm Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, completed a year-long restructuring as part of its plan to focus on the development of DP-b99 and DP-VPA. The company plans to launch a Phase IIb trial for DP-b99 this year. DP-b99 is a neuroprotective agent to treat acute stroke. DP-VPA is a treatment for epilepsy, bipolar disease and migraine prophylaxis.

• Flamel Technologies SA, of Lyon, France, received a $2 million milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, related to a license agreement for the application of Flamel's Micropump technology. The controlled-release, taste-masking technology is used in the oral administration of small-molecule drugs.

• Fluidigm Corp., of South San Francisco, completed a $21 million financing. The funds will be used primarily to expand international sales, marketing and support Fluidigm's Topaz product line. The company's integrated fluidic circuit technology is part of the Topaz Crystallizer, which is used in drug discovery research.

• GB Therapeutics Ltd., of Mississauga, Ontario, said the FDA approved its first investigational new drug application, allowing GT 1061 to proceed to clinical trials. A Phase Ia trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 14. GT 1061 is planned ultimately for trials in Alzheimer's disease. It is a compound that specifically targets the brain and mimics certain activities of nitric oxide.

• Generex Biotechnology Corp., of Toronto, raised $2.5 million through a private placement of common stock and warrants to institutional investors. The company issued about 1.7 million shares and warrants to purchase 425,170 additional shares at $1.86 apiece. The per-share price was based on the closing price Dec. 18, the date prior to signing the definitive agreements, with an additional consideration of 4 cents for each warrant. Generex said it expects to use the proceeds to accelerate clinical development activities, for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

• GenVec Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., will receive about $12 million more than previously reported as part of an expanded, multiyear manufacturing subcontract with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The latest expansion, issued and managed by SAIC-Frederick Inc., increases the total potential funding from about $16 million to about $28 million. Previously, the funding grew from about $10 million to the $16 million range. GenVec, which will manufacture an HIV vaccine candidate based on its adenovector technology to support late-stage clinical development, plans to use the manufacturing capabilities and staff knowledge at its facility in Charlestown, Mass.

• Integrated BioPharma Inc., of Hillside, N.J., formed a collaboration with the Institute for Cancer Prevention Inc. in New York to research, develop and test compounds for anticarcinogenic activity. Integrated BioPharma gains exclusive rights to commercialize any compounds that result. The institute will receive a royalty for each commercialized compound. Initially, the collaboration will focus on selenium compounds as cancer preventive materials.

• Inyx Inc., of New York, reported that it secured a $3.5 million working capital credit facility from Laurus Master Fund Ltd., a New York-based financial institution. Under the financing, Inyx issued a revolving three-year convertible note to Laurus that bears interest at the greater of prime plus 3 percent or 7 percent annually. The $3.5 million in available funding is secured by Inyx assets. The initial advance of more than $3.1 million on the facility was used to pay off nearly $2.7 million in previous financing arrangements, with the balance to be used for working capital purposes. Inyx develops and manufactures specialized drug delivery pharmaceutical products.

• Matritech Inc., of Newton, Mass., is now listed on the American Stock Exchange in New York under the ticker symbol "MZT." Matritech is a developer of proteomics-based diagnostic products for the early detection of cancer.

• Norak Biosciences Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., entered an agreement with the National Cancer Institute to allow the institute to evaluate Transfluor for screening several G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) cancer targets to find potential drug leads. Financial terms were not disclosed. Transfluor is designed as a method for discovering ligands for GPCR targets, whether known or orphan. Norak exclusively licensed the technology in 1999 from Duke University Medical Center.

• Pharmos Corp., of Iselin, N.J., reported that the underwriters for its recently closed public offering exercised their overallotment option in full to purchase an aggregate of 1.6 million shares of Pharmos stock at $2.75 per share, less the underwriting discount. The company raised about $27 million in a public offering priced in December. Total net proceeds from the offering, including about $4.1 million from the exercise of the overallotment option, are now about $31.1 million. Pharmos discovers, develops and commercializes therapeutics to treat a range of indications, in particular neurological and inflammation-based disorders. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 17, 2003.)

• PPD Inc., of Wilmington, N.C., amended its dapoxetine license agreement with ALZA Corp., a subsidiary of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson. Certain sales-based payments will be abated for a period following the new drug application approval. ALZA will make a cash payment to PPD and agreed to a fixed-amount milestone payment to be paid to PPD upon NDA approval. Based on the amendment, PPD is increasing its first-quarter and full-year 2004 financial guidance, raising anticipated net revenue to up to $775 million.

• United Therapeutics Corp., of Silver Spring, Md., reported the French regulatory agency AFSSAPS issued an action letter for Remodulin injection requesting supplementary information. Remodulin (treprostinil sodium) is approved in the U.S., Canada and Israel as a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension. The General Commission of the French Regulatory Agency in September rejected Remodulin due to insufficient demonstration of clinical efficacy. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 24, 2003.)

• Xenova Group plc, of Slough, UK, sold certain premises at its Farnham research facilities together with related assets to Bioventix Ltd. The sale assets constitute part of the business acquired by the group upon the acquisition of KS Biomedix Holdings plc. The consideration for the sales assets was £800,000 (US$1.5 million) paid in cash. The sale includes certain rights to intellectual property relating to super high-affinity antibodies that are not being developed by Xenova and provides for the continuation of work on Bioventix on three-part proteins being developed under an option with Isis Innovations Ltd., of Oxford, UK. Xenova retained an option to develop any promising therapeutic candidates arising from the work. In addition, a team of seven research scientists is transferring to Bioventix.

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