• Agencourt Bioscience Corp., of Beverly, Mass., entered an alliance with Integrated Genomics Inc., of Chicago, to co-market a suite of library construction, sequencing and bioinformatics services. Agencourt will provide library construction and high-throughput sequencing through its Discovery Solutions suite of genomic services. Leveraging its ERGO bioinformatics package, Integrated Genomics will expand Agencourt's existing genome assembly capabilities with downstream genetic analysis software, bioinformatics services and a genome database. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, and GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, said the FDA approved Levitra (vardenafil HCl) for erectile dysfunction. The partners, who said the approval provides the first new erectile dysfunction treatment choice in five years, expect the phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor to be available in pharmacies within the next few weeks. Initially, it will enter a market cornered since 1998 by another PDE5 inhibitor, Viagra (sildenafil, from Pfizer Inc.), which last year generated sales of about $2 billion. Later this year, yet another PDE5 inhibitor, Cialis (tadalafil, from Lilly ICOS LLC), is expected to receive FDA approval.

• Bioenvision Inc., of New York, obtained UK marketing rights to Modrenal (trilostane), its approved compound for advanced post-menopausal breast cancer, from Stegram Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Sussex, UK. The rights were transferred to Bioenvision pursuant to an amendment to the companies' July 1998 co-development agreement. Bioenvision, which will receive all revenue from Modrenal sales as of Jan. 1, said it would begin further European clinical trials of Modrenal in order to increase its profile among physicians and patients.

• Carrington Laboratories Inc., of Irving, Texas, said data from an animal study of its GelSite technology demonstrated that the polymer undergoes resorption from the site of injection. The study, sponsored by its subsidiary, DelSite Biotechnologies Inc., and the Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Ala., demonstrated that the majority of the in situ gelled polymer was removed from the site in five to eight weeks. The researchers, using a GelSite formulation, added that data from an animal model demonstrated up to a seven-day delivery of an undisclosed bioactive protein.

• ChromaVision Medical Systems Inc., of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., said President and CEO Carl Apfelbach would resign effective Sept. 1, as the company laid off 30 employees in an effort to streamline operations. The company, which provides automated cell-imaging systems such as the ACIS digital microscope system, said the 30 percent work force reduction would result in an estimated $600,000 charge to its third-quarter earnings. Michael Schneider was named as interim replacement for Apfelbach as ChromaVision promoted him to chief operating officer from his position of senior vice president of operations.

• Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it received a letter from the Nasdaq Stock Market confirming that Forbes' securities were to be transferred to the Nasdaq National Market at the opening of business today. In July 2002, Nasdaq notified Forbes that it may be eligible to transfer back to the Nasdaq National Market without paying the initial listing fees if the company maintained compliance with the continued listing requirements and met the minimum bid price requirement for 30 consecutive trading days. Forbes Medi-Tech is focused on the research, development and commercialization of products for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and related diseases.

• Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., said it transplanted human cardiomyocytes derived from human embryonic stem cells into rats, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Histological examination one, seven, 14 and 28 days after transplant showed that the heart muscle cells had successfully engrafted in each animal, and chromosomal analysis at each interval verified that the engrafted cells were human cells. Also, the grafts progressively matured in situ over the 28-day observation period, forming homogeneous tissue containing human cells that strongly expressed molecular markers of cardiomyocytes, including multiple cardiac-specific proteins. The mature grafts did not express markers specific to non-cardiac cells. Also, up to 15 percent of the proliferative cardiomyocyte grafts exhibited markers of cell division at 28 days, in contrast to prior studies using mouse or rat cells. The findings were reported at the American Heart Association meeting on Growth, Death and Regeneration in Myocardium.

• ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., paid about $129.4 million after completing its cash tender offer of $6.25 per share for all of the outstanding common shares it did not already own in Ribapharm Inc., also of Costa Mesa. According to American Stock Transfer & Trust Co., the offer's depositary, about 20.7 million Ribapharm shares had been tendered and not withdrawn pursuant to the offer. That represents about 69.33 percent of the outstanding Ribapharm shares not owned by ICN, which accepted for payment all such shares and said payment would be made promptly. ICN said it would effect a short-form merger in which any shares it does not already own or just purchased will be acquired at the same $6.25-per-share cash price.

• IGI Inc., of Buena, N.J., said the FDA approved its plan to begin Phase I/II trials for the topical use of PTH (7-34) encapsulated in a Novasome cream to prevent chemotherapy-induced alopecia in breast cancer patients. Researchers at Boston University Medical Center said animal studies showed that the parathyroid hormone-related peptide antagonist stimulated epidermal proliferation and hair growth in mice. IGI, which also is studying PTH (1-34) for psoriasis, said potential partners have shown an interest in its encapsulation technology.

• Illumina Inc., of San Diego, said it has developed and is making available its new SNP-based Linkage III Panel, a third-generation, genome-wide set of single nucleotide polymorphism-based markers and validated assays optimized to provide statistically powerful information for linkage mapping. The Linkage III Panel assay was developed to interrogate more than 4,600 SNP loci distributed evenly across the human genome.

• Incara Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The grant is for the study of antitumor and radiation-protective effects of Incara's catalytic antioxidants and is anticipated to be funded in two segments. Phase I is for $100,000 and will begin immediately. Phase II is contingently approved by the NIH upon meeting Phase I objectives.

• ISTA Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., reported that the FDA granted priority review status for ISTA's new drug application for Vitrase (ovine hyaluronidase) pending the FDA's formal acceptance of the application filing. The priority review applies to a new drug application submitted by ISTA Aug. 5 seeking approval for the use of Vitrase as a spreading agent to facilitate the dispersion and absorption of other drugs. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 6, 2003.)

• NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., said the first patient was dosed as it began a Phase I bridging study of LEP-ETU, its NeoLipid liposomal formulation of paclitaxel, which is approved for breast, lung and ovarian cancer. NeoPharm designed LEP-ETU in an easy-to-use (ETU) formulation to minimize preparation time and improve administration of the drug.

• Nymox Pharmaceutical Corp., of New York, said various published independent studies pointed to its AlzheimAlert urine test as an accurate diagnostic aid for Alzheimer's disease. Neural thread protein - the protein measured by AlzheimAlert that is implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease - was shown to correlate with the degree of dementia measured by psychological testing, according to studies carried out at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

• Photogen Technologies Inc., of New Hope, Pa., entered an agreement with Xmark Fund LP and Xmark Fund Ltd. to cure its default under promissory notes held by Xmark. Photogen will make an immediate $1.25 million cash payment to Xmark, which will rescind its default notice. Photogen remains obligated to make a second $1.25 million payment as set forth in the original promissory notes held by Xmark, but it can extend the due date monthly until April 3 for a fee ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per month. Other revisions include changing Xmark's demand registration rights to piggyback registration rights and modifying the definition of event of default in the agreements securing Photogen's obligations to Xmark. Other terms remain in effect.

• SuperGen Inc., of Dublin, Calif., reported that results of a Phase I/II trial of its anticancer agent Dacogen (decitabine) in patients with sickle cell anemia were published in the current issue of the journal Blood. Researchers reported that the subcutaneous regimen was well tolerated, with the only significant toxicity being neutropenia. The primary mechanism of action for Dacogen in sickle cell anemia is thought to be reactivation of fetal hemoglobin by demethylation of the gamma globin gene promoter.

• Targeted Molecules Corp., of San Diego, raised $3.5 million in a private round of financing to advance its lead compound, TMC-2001, into clinical development. The product is the first of a new class of drugs designed to prevent and treat thrombosis without causing bleeding. The financing, which is expected to add $500,000 next month, also will be used to advance preclinical development of several other products. Neuro Discovery Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its Neuro Discovery Ltd. Partnership led the round with a $2 million investment. The financing also included Inglewood Ventures LP and Linkagene LP, both of San Diego, as well as Trian Equities Ltd., of Burnaby, British Columbia.