• Advectus Life Sciences Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, acquired an option from Immune Network Ltd., also of Vancouver, which, if exercised, would give the company an exclusive worldwide interest in a new nanotechnology-based formulation for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease based on compositions that penetrate the blood-brain barrier with existing drugs. Advectus will begin development and commercialization work on the new nonpharmaceutical product upon satisfactory completion of its due diligence process. Advectus will pay option fees over a period of up to six months of due diligence, during which it may enter into a worldwide exclusive license on the joint technology. The terms include an up-front licensing fee of C$100,000 (US$73,000), a milestone payment of C$100,000 upon first clinical trial commencement, and C$5 million in cash or equity upon first marketing approval.

• CIMA Labs Inc., of Minneapolis, said it and its directors have been named as defendants in at least three putative class action lawsuits filed last week in the Chancery Court of the State of Delaware. The lawsuits, which were filed by purported holders of CIMA common stock on behalf of all holders of CIMA common stock, generally allege that the defendants breached fiduciary duties in connection with CIMA's pending merger with aaiPharma Inc., of Wilmington, N.C., and with CIMA's response to the Aug. 20 unsolicited proposal by Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., to acquire CIMA. Among other things, the plaintiffs seek to enjoin completion of the merger and to compel CIMA's board to further consider Cephalon's acquisition offer. CIMA called each of the suits "without merit." The company said in the later part of August that the Cephalon offer did not represent a superior proposal over the aaiPharma bid. Cephalon is offering $26 per share for CIMA, while aaiPharma's offer is stock only. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 22, 2003.)

• eXegenics Inc., of Dallas, received notice that AVI BioPharma Inc., of Portland, Ore., terminated the agreement to merge with eXegenics. The termination also served to terminate AVI's previously announced exchange offer for all shares of capital stock of eXegenics. The initial offer period, as extended, expired at midnight Aug. 29. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 3, 2003.)

• Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, reported that it raised US$4.65 million by way of a private placement, resulting in the issuance of about 3.13 million common shares at US$1.48 per share, with about 1.16 million warrants attached. Each warrant entitles the holder to purchase one common share at US$1.85 for three years from the date of closing. A final subscription for an additional 109,090 shares and 38,182 warrants for gross proceeds of US$162,000 was accepted by the company, which will bring the total placement to US$4.81 million.

• Genzyme Genetics, of Westborough, Mass., a business unit of Genzyme Corp., entered two licensing agreements that provide access to its cancer diagnostic patent rights related to the APC and p53 genes. Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, of Burlington, N.C., and Baylor College of Medicine in Waco, Texas, were granted nonexclusive diagnostic rights to the APC and p53 genes for use in diagnostic testing services that detect increased risk for certain colon cancers. Genzyme Genetics receives an up-front licensing fee and will earn royalties on each diagnostic test performed. Additional financial details were not disclosed.

• IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said the FDA granted fast-track status for iseganan in patients receiving mechanical ventilation to reduce the risk of pneumonia, also referred to as ventilator-associated pneumonia. IntraBiotics has designed a pivotal efficacy and safety trial, the first of two trials planned to support registration of iseganan for the prevention of VAP. The company is in discussions with the FDA to finalize the protocol. The company's stock (NASDAQ:IBPI) rose $4.10 Friday, or 110.8 percent, to close at $7.80. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 10, 2003.)

• Isto Technologies Inc., of St. Louis, appointed Mitchell Seyedin president and CEO. Most recently, Seyedin was co-founder, president and CEO of Cbyon, a medical technology company that develops and markets advanced visualization and navigation systems for minimally invasive surgery. Seyedin succeeds Joseph Feder, who had served in the position since co-founding Isto in 1997. Feder will continue as chairman.

• Senesco Technologies Inc., of New Brunswick, N.J., and its joint venture partner, Rahan Meristem Ltd., of Israel, reported results from their banana field trials. The trials indicated that Senesco's technology significantly extends the shelf-life of bananas. Five years of co-development work culminated in the first round of field trials in which Senesco bananas lasted twice as long as control fruit. The Senesco bananas ripened normally, but the onset of spoilage and blackening that follows ripening was significantly delayed.

• SuperGen Inc., of Dublin, Calif., said Joseph Rubinfeld, co-founder, chairman and CEO of the company, will retire and assume the post of chairman emeritus. He will continue as a member of the board after completing his employment contract on Dec. 31, 2003. The company also said the board voted to appoint James Manuso, currently a member of the board, as chairman and CEO effective Jan. 1. In the interim, Manuso will serve the company as a full-time consultant.

• Viventia Biotech Inc., of Toronto, entered an agreement with a European wholly owned subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Kansas City, Mo., providing for a private placement equity financing of C$2.8 million (US$2 million). Teva will purchase about 14 million units issued by Viventia. Each unit is one common share and one common share purchase warrant. Each warrant enables the holder to purchase one common share at C20 cents for up to five years after the closing. The unit price is equal to the company's closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange Aug. 21. Teva also will receive a preemptive right to participate in any future public share issuance of the company for five years. Teva also has been granted certain first rights of negotiation for future products. The proceeds of the financing will be used to finance ongoing research and product development initiatives and corporate operations.

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