• Agenix Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, and Biosite Inc., of San Diego, a research-based provider of rapid medical diagnostics, said that Agenix subsidiary, AGEN BioMedical, and Biosite signed a license and supply agreement for D-dimer. Biosite intends to incorporate AGEN's 3B6 antibody, specific for D-dimer, into its Triage Profiler S.O.B. Panel, a potential diagnostic test intended to help physicians identify the cause of shortness of breath, a symptom common to congestive heart failure, heart attack and pulmonary embolism. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

• Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics BV, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, reported it confirmed the efficacy of its lipoprotein lipase gene therapy in a second animal model. The results, presented at the European Society of Gene Therapy meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, confirmed that intramuscular injection of AMT's LPL gene therapy product in a natural inherited feline model of LPL deficiency induced a greater than 90 percent reduction of plasma triglyceride levels. The product is an AAV vector expressing the human LPL gene.

• Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, completed enrollment in its 50-patient, Phase II study of the use of Paxceed (micellar paclitaxel) in treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The company expects to report preliminary results at the end of the second quarter in 2004. The open-label, multicenter study enrolled patients between the ages of 21 and 70 who failed treatments with at least one disease-modifying antirheumatic drug. Paxceed has the potential to reduce inflammation and inhibit an enzyme that breaks down cartilage, the company said.

• Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered a definitive agreement for an $8 million private placement of about 5.4 shares of its class A common stock at $1.49 per share. Investors will receive warrants to acquire about 3.3 million shares of class A common stock at $1.75 per share. The transaction is expected to close following customary review and approval by the American Stock Exchange. Rodman & Renshaw, of New York, acted as the placement agent for the offering.

• BioSpecifics Technologies Corp., of Lynbrook, N.Y., said it received a letter from Nasdaq indicating that it does not comply with the independent director and audit committee composition requirements set forth in the market's listing rules and its securities are subject to delisting. The company said it has two independent directors, one short of the requirement, and has begun a search for an additional independent director. The company focuses on wound healing and tissue remodeling.

• Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., said preliminary results from a Phase III trial (study FTCB-301) comparing emtricitabine 200 mg once daily vs. placebo in chronic hepatitis B demonstrated that emtricitabine for 48 weeks was associated with improvements in liver histology in 62 percent of patients who received the drug, compared to 25 percent of patients who received placebo (p<0.001). Improvement in liver histology was the primary endpoint in the study. Study FTCB-301 was conducted at 34 sites in seven countries in North America, Europe and Asia and involved 248 patients who had not previously received therapy with a nucleoside analogue. The company said it will "continue to evaluate the development path for this compound moving forward." The company's stock (NASDAQ:GILD) rose 48 cents Wednesday to close at $58.75. Emtricitabine, marketed under the name Emtriva, is approved in the U.S. and Europe to treat HIV. (See BioWorld Today, July 3, 2003.)

• Glycart Biotechnology AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, raised CHF 18 million (US$13.6 million) in its Series A financing. The company said it would use proceeds to advance its drug development programs against validated targets in cancer and autoimmune disorders by using its GlycoMAb platform, which is designed to enhance the activity of therapeutic antibodies. Privately held Glycart has several next-generation therapeutic antibody programs at various stages of preclinical development. The private placement was led by Global Life Science Ventures and co-led by Gilde Investment Management. Other participating investors included DVC Deutsche Venture Capital, ABN AMRO Capital, Quester Capital Management and BioMedinvest. An existing investor, Novartis Venture Fund, also participated.

• Innogenetics NV, of Gent, Belgium, said it is planning to raise funds through a secondary public offering of new shares, worth a maximum of 11 percent of its currently issued share capital. The company said any proceeds, coupled with incoming revenue, would allow it to reach a goal of sustained profitability by 2006. Innogenetics features a diagnostic division that produced 2002 sales of €48 million, as well as a research division developing a therapeutic vaccine for hepatitis C.

• Inveresk Research Group Inc., of Cary, N.C., reported the closing of a public offering of 11.5 million shares of stock, including 1.5 million shares that were sold upon the exercise in full of the underwriters' overallotment option. The public offering price was $20 per share. The offering included 10.5 million shares sold by various selling stockholders, including the 1.5 million shares sold pursuant to the underwriters' overallotment option, and 1 million shares sold by Inveresk.

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