• Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it will pay $23 million in cash to buy STS Biopolymers Inc., of Henrietta, N.Y. Angiotech has developed a process for coating stents used in angioplasty, which it licensed to two U.S. medical device firms. Its purchase of STS is expected to close by the end of December. STS develops and manufactures biocompatible coatings for medical devices. Last month, Angiotech raised $339.3 million in a share offering.

• Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., released study results for AP23573, its lead oncology candidate, demonstrating that low doses reduced the growth of brain tumor cells (known as glioblastoma) by 40 percent. The reduction of tumor cell growth was achieved in both brain cancer cells overexpressing the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and in brain cancer cells without EGFR overexpression, suggesting applicability for treating those tumors. The Cleveland Clinic Brain Tumor Institute conducted the study.

• AVI BioPharma Inc., of Portland, Ore., withdrew its supplementary prospectus covering the sale of 7.5 million shares of common stock, citing a recent short-term deterioration in the market for biotechnology financings. The company announced the planned sale in late October. AVI focuses on its Neugene antisense drugs and cancer immunotherapy program. Its stock (NASDAQ:AVII) rose 53 cents Friday, or 11.9 percent, to close at $4.99.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, presented efficacy results from a malaria vaccine at the Viral Vectors & Vaccines conference in Las Vegas. The study is part of collaboration between Crucell and the Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology at New York University to provide proof of principle that a vaccine based on Crucell's AdVac technology can protect against malaria. The study shows a single shot of a recombinant adenovirus 35 (rAd35) vector-expressing circumsporozoite protein protects mice from infection by the mouse malaria parasite Plasmodium yoelii.

• Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., and certain officers and directors are the subject of a class-action lawsuit from Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, of New York. The suit alleges that in an effort to allow Gilead insiders to sell Gilead stock at artificially inflated prices, the defendants falsely represented that strong sales of Viread, the company's HIV drug, during the second quarter of 2003 were due to an increase in prescriptions and not to inventory build-up by distributors stocking up ahead of a price increase.

• Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Baltimore, presented five posters at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting last week in New Orleans. The presentations included results from projects under way at Guilford, including its neuroimmunophilin and NAALADase inhibitor programs. The company said preclinical data presented suggest that a separate class of neuroimmunophilins, known as cyclophilin ligands, might also have potential use in the treatment of degenerative disorders of the nervous system, including retinal disorders, such as age-related macular degeneration.

The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., of New York, performed its semi-annual re-ranking of the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, which will become effective Nov. 24. The re-ranking resulted in 55 securities being added to the index. Those 55 securities are aaiPharma Inc., Able Laboratories Inc., Adolor Corp., AtheroGenics Inc., Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc., Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., Axcan Pharma Inc., Biopure Corp., Biosite Inc., Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., Connetics Corp., DeCode Genetics Inc., Digene Corp., Dendreon Corp., Eon Labs Inc., Encysive Pharmaceuticals Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc., EPIX Medical Inc., Esperion Therapeutics Inc., Exact Sciences Corp., First Horizon Pharmaceutical Corp., Flamel Technologies SA, Gen-Probe Inc., Harvard Bioscience Inc., Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc., Indevus Pharmaceuticals Inc., Idexx Laboratories Inc., Introgen Therapeutics Inc., Impax Laboratories Inc., Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc., Kos Pharmaceuticals Inc., Lexicon Genetics Inc., La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co., Martek Biosciences Corp., Vicuron Pharmaceuticals Inc., Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, Noven Pharmaceuticals Inc., Neurochem Inc., Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., Priority Healthcare Corp., Pozen Inc., Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co., Perrigo Co., Parexel International Corp., Pain Therapeutics Inc., Sepracor Inc., SFBC International Inc., Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., SuperGen Inc., Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc., Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Techne Corp. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

• SuperGen Inc., of Dublin, Calif., said preliminary data from a study of the cancer compound Nipent (pentostatin for injection), in combination therapy, reveal a response rate of 100 percent in patients with B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL). The interim results from the study, which is ongoing at the Mayo Clinic and the Ohio State University, were presented at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium in New York. Separately, the company presented preliminary data from a multicenter clinical study of Dacogen (decitabine) for injection that suggest the drug is active against Gleevec-refractory chronic myelogenous leukemia. Results involving the subset of patients in the study who enrolled at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center were presented. Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) was developed by Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland.

• The Genetics Co Inc., of Zurich, Switzerland, raised CHF14 million (US$10.5 million) in a Series B round of financing. The total amount includes CHF5.5 million from debt financing granted in connection with its recent acquisitions of core assets of CallistoGen AG, of Berlin, and Abeta GmbH, of Heidelberg, Germany, which has now been converted into equity. The round was led by Nextech Venture and Novartis Venture Fund. Other investors included Najeti Capital, Heidelberg Innovation and a number of individuals. The company plans to use the funds to progress its therapeutic lead projects in Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

• Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, of Costa Mesa, Calif., formerly INC Pharmaceuticals Inc., began trading under the New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol "VRX." It previously traded under "ICN." Separately, the company said it priced $200 million principal amount of convertible subordinated notes due 2010 and $200 million in convertible notes due 2013. The notes are being sold to qualified investors in a private placement. Valeant said it intends to use a portion of the proceeds to enter convertible note hedge and written call option transactions with respect to VRX common stock.

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