• Acorda Therapeutics Inc., of New York, entered an agreement for marketing related to the possible launch of its Phase III product, Fampridine-SR, with Rxpedite, an alliance between inChord Communications Inc., of Columbus, Ohio, and Cardinal Health Inc., of Dublin, Ohio. Rxpedite will manage commercialization efforts for the oral, small-molecule, sustained-release drug, a candidate for spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis. Laboratory studies have shown that fampridine, the active molecule of Fampridine-SR, improves impulse conduction in nerve fibers in which the myelin has been damaged. If Fampridine-SR receives FDA approval, Cardinal will provide sales force deployment, medical education, publication planning, product warehousing, distribution and technical support. inChord will provide marketing strategy and implementation, professional and consumer advertising, web marketing and promotion, data analysis and product branding.

• Apogent Technologies Inc., of Portsmouth, N.H., said 97.5 percent of the holders of its $325 million aggregate principal amount of 8 percent senior notes consented to tender their notes. The company agreed to pay $1,177.75 per $1,000 principal amount of notes validly tendered and not properly withdrawn on or prior to Sept. 25, the consent date. It will pay $1,147.75 per $1,000 principal amount of notes validly tendered and not properly withdrawn after the consent date. The tender offer will expire Oct. 15. Lehman Brothers Inc. is the sole dealer manager for the tender offer. Georgeson Shareholder Services is serving as the information agent, and the depository is The Bank of New York.

• Asterand Inc., of Detroit, a human tissue research bank, is part of a team that received $2.3 million from the state of Michigan from the tobacco settlement for a joint research program to be carried out with Wayne State University. A university research team will use genomics technology to speed the discovery of treatments and diagnostics for cancers and other human diseases. Under an agreement with the Michigan State Life Sciences Fund, Asterand will repay a significant portion of the award to the state from future revenues. In addition, the state negotiated the right to buy an undisclosed number of shares in Asterand.

• Genelabs Technologies Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., updated its development program for Prestara (prasterone) for women with systemic lupus erythematosus. The company, which in August 2002 received an approvable letter that asked for a confirmatory trial, said it expects to complete enrollment in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study by the end of this quarter. To date, the trial has enrolled 103 patients, and 29 additional patients are either being screened or have been scheduled for screening. They have had their medical history reviewed by a clinical investigator, but must meet additional conditions in order to be enrolled in the trial. The 26-site study is being conducted in the U.S. and Mexico. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 18, 2002.)

• GlycoGenesys Inc., of Boston, said it received notification from Nasdaq that the company has regained compliance with the minimum bid price requirement for the Nasdaq SmallCap Market. The company regained compliance by maintaining a closing bid price above $1 for at least 10 consecutive trading days under its ticker symbol, GLGS.

• Medicure Inc., of Winnipeg, Manitoba, said data from the Phase II MEND-1 study were presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics meeting in Washington, demonstrating the potential for MC-1 to have cardioprotective effects by reducing the amount of damage to the heart in high-risk patients undergoing angioplasty. The randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study evaluated the extent of damage to the heart muscle caused by ischemia and ischemic reperfusion injury in 60 high-risk cardiovascular patients undergoing angioplasty.

• Meridian Bioscience Inc., of Cincinnati, filed a $60 million mixed shelf registration statement with the SEC to sell common and preferred stock, debt or other types of securities. The company, which develops diagnostic test kits, purified reagents and related products, said it would use proceeds for repayment or refinancing of debt, working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, or other business opportunities and general corporate purposes.

• Metabasis Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, reported the completion of a Phase IIa trial on its first-in-class oral gluconeogenesis inhibitor in patients with Type II diabetes mellitus. The results of the trial provide the first evidence that the new class of drugs is capable of reducing blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes. Metabasis' partner on the project since 1997, Sankyo Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, is funding and directing clinical development of the drug.

• Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its multiple myeloma drug Velcade, which was approved in May, was assigned a Medicare code. The code enables hospitals to obtain reimbursement for Velcade beginning Oct. 1. Velcade was approved in mid-May for multiple myeloma. (See BioWorld Today, May 15, 2003.)

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., is sponsoring the Early Randomized Surgical Epilepsy Trial (ERSET). The study is evaluating two standard therapies provided by epilepsy specialists - treatment with medications and treatment with surgery - to compare the ability of each to eliminate seizures and side effects as soon as possible, and to improve quality of life. The study is supported by a $30 million grant.

• Neose Technologies Inc., of Horsham, Pa., completed its private placement of about 2.7 million shares at $9 per share, raising $23.9 million. J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. acted as placement agent. The company announced it would conduct the private financing earlier this month. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 23, 2003.)

• Osteotech Inc., of Eatontown, N.J., in an effort to improve efficiencies, last Wednesday implemented a selective reduction in the work force, which affected all domestic operational areas of the company and resulted in the elimination of 22 positions, or about 5 percent. It will record a pre-tax charge for severance costs in the third quarter of about $360,000, or an after tax effect of about 1 cent diluted net income per share. Osteotech's stock (NASDAQ:OSTE) dropped $1.47 Friday, or 13.46 percent, to close at $9.45.

• Pharmaxis Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, filed for an A$21 million (US$14.2 million) initial public offering and listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. The company expects to offer 42 million common shares at A50 cents each, with an overallotment option of up to 8 million shares for another $4 million. The transaction is being fully underwritten by Wilson HTM Corporate Finance Ltd. Pharmaxis said it would use the funds for clinical and preclinical development, commercialization efforts, the scale-up of its manufacturing capability and general corporate purposes. The company's lead products are Aridol, an inhaled non-ionic osmolyte to be used as a lung function test in Phase III testing, and Bronchitol, which is in Phase II development for respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and chronic bronchitis.

• SIGA Technologies Inc., of New York, and Innate Pharmaceuticals AB, of Umea, Sweden, formed a drug discovery collaboration using Innate's InnateTypIII platform to identify anti-infective compounds that inhibit the type III secretion system in Gram-negative bacteria and using SIGA's expertise in drug development to seek small-molecule therapeutics to neutralize potential biowarfare agents. The companies plan to develop an anti-infective to prevent or treat the plague.

• Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, reported positive results for the first cohort of patients in a pilot clinical study evaluating the safety and efficacy of Probuphine, Titan's product in development for the treatment of opiate addiction. Preliminary data, presented Friday at the International Society of Addiction Medicine in Amsterdam, demonstrated that all six patients treated with Probuphine at the first dose level were switched from daily sublingual buprenorphine therapy to Probuphine, with maintenance of therapeutic benefit and no significant adverse effects.

• Transgenomic Inc., of Omaha, Neb., agreed to provide an additional supply of modified nucleic acid building block compounds to Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., for use in the synthesis of one of Geron's thio-phosphoramidate-based telomerase inhibitor cancer drugs, GRN163L (formerly GRN719). Thio-phosphoramidate-based oligonucleotides represent a new class of synthetic nucleic acids that have demonstrated enhanced sequence-specific DNA and RNA binding activity, a resistance to nuclease degradation and improved cellular uptake and biodistribution.

• Trimeris Inc., of Durham, N.C., lowered estimates to a range of $9.5 to $10.5 million for net third-quarter U.S. sales of Fuzeon (enfuvirtide), its anti-HIV drug co-developed with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland. Drug shipments of the first HIV fusion inhibitor and first injectable HIV medication began in late March, but increased production has resulted in excess supply. Trimeris said new patient prescriptions have hovered at about 500 per month during this quarter. But Ronald Ellis, an analyst at Leerink Swann & Co. in Boston, wrote in a research note that longer-term issues surrounding pricing and reimbursement will need to be overcome for Fuzeon to be broadly accepted. "We believe that Fuzeon lacks any meaningful milestones to materially increase the new patient adds per month," he added. "Compounding this issue, we believe that the drug may have a yearly attrition rate approximating 30 percent." Trimeris' stock (NASDAQ:TRMS) fell $3.16 Friday, or 11.12 percent, to close at $25.26.

The Windber Research Institute in Seattle said it is using technology from the Teradata division of NCR Corp., of Dayton, Ohio, to create a central data warehouse with molecular and clinical information to help find the cause of breast and other forms of cancer. The Teradata technology will enable Windber to store, retrieve, analyze and manage data generated at the DNA, RNA and protein levels by using large-scale biology technologies. The biomedical research facility is studying the relationship between genes, proteins and disease.

• Xcyte Therapies Inc., of Seattle, said results from a Phase I trial of its Xcellerate technology for the treatment of patients with advanced kidney cancer were published in the Sept. 1, 2003, issue of Clinical Cancer Research. In the study, 25 patients with metastatic kidney cancer were treated with two infusions of Xcellerated T Cells, about four weeks apart. After each infusion, patients were treated with low doses of interleukin-2 for 10 days. Therapeutic effects were observed at sites of metastases to bone. Also, levels of lymphocytes increased with treatment and there was a trend to increased post-infusion survival in patients achieving higher lymphocyte counts.