• Access Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Dallas, said the American Stock Exchange accepted its plan to regain compliance with the continued listing standards by Nov. 23, 2004. In May, the company received notice from AMEX indicating that the company is below certain AMEX continued listing standards, due to losses in its last two fiscal years with shareholder equity below $2 million.

• Aerogen Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., closed the first round of a planned two-round convertible debt financing, which, when completed, would result in gross proceeds to Aerogen of between $1.45 million and $2.95 million from SF Capital Partners Ltd. The first $950,000 of the investment was made available to the company immediately; the remaining investment of between $500,000 and $2 million is expected to close upon receipt of stockholder approval at a meeting tentatively scheduled for November.

• AlgoNomics NV, of Ghent, Belgium, and Pepscan Systems BV, of Lelystad, the Netherlands, reported positive results in the rational design of antibody binding peptides. The companies said they intend to exploit their "peptide-design-cycle" platform in the vaccination field. AlgoNomics' Tripole technology combines protein modeling know-how with the latest peptide design techniques to explore the interaction between peptides and proteins. Pepscan Systems' peptide array platform offers an assay system for studying protein-protein interactions as well as protein-peptide interactions.

Boston Life Sciences Inc., of Boston, said the FDA weighed in on its request for a special protocol assessment in connection with plans for another Phase III trial of its radioimaging agent, Altropane, as an aid in the diagnosis of Parkinsonian syndromes. The agency recommended alternatives for inclusion criteria for the clinical indication sought by the company, and guidance concerning the primary and secondary endpoints proposed in the statistical plan. The FDA also provided advice on further clarification of the SPECT imaging criteria. The company said it continues discussions with the agency to reach an agreement on the final protocol design.

• BresaGen Ltd., of Adelaide, Australia, acquired the XeriJect drug delivery platform from AlgoRx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cranbury, N.J. AlgoRx will assign XeriJect to BGen Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of BresaGen. AlgoRx retains rights to the technology for pain applications. The advantage of the XeriJect technology is that it enables a small amount of concentrated drug to be injected into the upper layer of skin using a fine needle, BresaGen said.

• Chesapeake Perl Inc., of College Park, Md., said it received a $2 million, three-year National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program grant to genetically transform caterpillars so they produce humanized glycoprotein modifications. The company currently manufactures recombinant proteins using an orally infective baculovirus expression system in whole insect larvae.

Chimerix Inc., of San Diego, licensed rights from Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., to develop oral derivatives of Gilead's antiviral compound, cidofovir (Vistide), for smallpox infections. Chimerix's initial focus will be to continue the development of its oral smallpox drug, CMX-001, which is a chemically modified derivative of cidofovir. The license permits Chimerix to sell CMX-001 to governments worldwide. The license also includes the rights to develop and sell oral derivatives of cidofovir for treatment of infections caused by related viruses such as vaccinia virus (the virus used for smallpox vaccinations) and monkeypox virus. Chimerix will pay Gilead royalties. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

• Genitope Corp., of Redwood City, Calif., set its price-per-share range and number of shares for its intended initial public offering. The company expects to sell 4.6 million shares at between $9 and $13 per share. The company focuses on developing cancer drugs. It filed for its IPO in early August. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 8, 2003.)

• Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said that, through its wholly owned subsidiary, it completed its tender offer to acquire outstanding shares of SangStat Medical Corp., of Fremont, Calif., for $22.50 per share. About 26 million shares, or 98 percent of shares outstanding, were tendered and accepted for payment. The tender offer and withdrawal rights expired at midnight Wednesday. Genzyme reported in August that it had entered an agreement to acquire SangStat for $600 million in cash, or about $22.50 per share. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 5, 2003.)

• GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said that new data on its anticancer monoclonal antibody 1D09C3 were to be presented Friday at the Biotherapy Development Association's International Meeting and First World Congress. 1D09C3 is a human monoclonal antibody that has been shown to selectively induce cancer cell death in a variety of xenotransplant lymphoid tumor models. It was evaluated in combination with Rituxan (rituximab, Genentech Inc.) in an in vivo non-Hodgkin's lymphoma model, and the two antibodies demonstrated a clear synergistic effect.

• MacroChem Corp., of Lexington, Mass., raised about $3.25 million in gross proceeds from a private placement of its securities, primarily to institutional investors. The company said the funds would support its development programs, which include topical products for testosterone deficiency and erectile dysfunction. MacroChem, which issued about 4.6 million common shares priced at about 71 cents apiece, also provided investors three-year warrants to purchase an additional 910,736 common shares at an exercise price of $1.173. J.P. Carey Securities Inc. served as the transaction's placement agent and received warrants to purchase 150,000 common shares on the same terms. The company needed to complete the financing as part of a plan to continue listing its common stock on the Nasdaq National Market. Other conditions include compliance with the minimum $10 million stockholders' equity requirement by Oct. 15, and filing a year-end report with such evidence.

• MGI Pharma Inc.'s President and CEO, Lonnie Moulder, opened today's NASDAQ Stock Market trading session. The event recognizes 20 years of listing for the Minneapolis-based company, which trades under the symbol "MOGN" and recently received FDA approval of Aloxi (palonosetron hydrochloride) for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

• Northfield Laboratories Inc., of Evanston, Ill., presented a paper at the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma meeting that extends earlier work in critically injured trauma patients identifying a potential benefit of PolyHeme, an oxygen-carrying blood substitute, in modulating the post-injury immune response. Increased levels of pro-inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-8 have been implicated in the development of multiple organ failure. The study was designed to explore the underlying mechanisms responsible for the difference in IL-8 levels using a laboratory model of simulated transfusion to assess gene expression. The results demonstrated a significant increase in IL-8 gene expression in response to red blood cells that was not seen with PolyHeme.

• Peplin Biotech Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, said it saw positive results from independent research into the potential of its lead drug, PEP005, for the treatment of leukemia. PEP005 was shown to be effective against a number of established leukemic cell lines at very low concentrations of drug. The reported effects include induction of growth arrest, differentiation (reversion to normal shape and behavior) and apoptosis of the cancer cells. Also, primary blast cells extracted from two patients with relapsed acute myelogenous leukemia showed significant responses to PEP005 within 24 hours at similar low drug concentrations.

• Samaritan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Las Vegas, said its philanthropic arm, the Samaritan Innovative Science Foundation, and A Harvest Biotech Foundation, Africa, formed a collaboration to provide free drugs to children with AIDS in Africa. The purpose of the collaboration is to concentrate on alleviating the challenges facing those with AIDS in Africa. Samaritan's HIV drug proved promising, safe and effective through proof-of-concept Phase II trials.

• Scynexis Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., broadened the scope and extended the term of its research agreement to discover and develop compounds for central nervous system and metabolic diseases with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland. The transaction gives Roche access to the Scynexis Medchem-Factory technology and HEOS Hit Explorer Operating System software. Specific financial terms were not disclosed. However, Roche will receive exclusive worldwide rights to products developed through the collaboration in exchange for technology access fees and other compensation for Scynexis technologies and services.

• Zen-Bio Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to develop visceral preadipocytes and adipocytes. Zen-Bio, which is researching the link between obesity and Type II diabetes, is looking to develop a diagnostic kit as an indicator of the disease. Its research will use patient-matched subcutaneous and visceral adipocytes from normal and Type II diabetic patients in a comparative screen to determine what aspects of visceral obesity lead to the disease.