• AlphaMed Inc., of Acton, Mass., received a $500,000 STTR grant from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., to develop a targeted radiotherapy for metastatic melanoma. AlphaMed is collaborating with the University of Missouri in Columbia on work related to the two-year, Phase II award. The therapy is based on a molecule labeled with the therapeutic radionuclide lead-212, which is selective to metastatic melanoma cells. Lead-212 decays to bismuth-212, which in turn emits an alpha particle that is designed to destroy tumor cells on contact.

• AtheroGenics Inc., of Atlanta, is proposing a new issue of $75 million of convertible notes due 2008 to qualified institutional buyers. The notes and common stock issuable upon conversion of the notes have not been registered. AtheroGenics is focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Its stock (NASDAQ:AGIX) dropped $1.75 Wednesday, or 12.3 percent, to close at $12.52.

• BioReliance Corp., of Rockville, Md., and Q-One Biotech Group Ltd., of Glasgow, Scotland, formed a definitive agreement for BioReliance to acquire Q-One's outstanding capital stock for about £42 million (US$67.5 million) in cash, subject to adjustments. BioReliance expects to fund the purchase price, excluding transaction costs, with about $48 million of borrowings under a new senior secured credit facility and about $20 million of existing cash resources. BioReliance entered into a credit agreement with Bank of America at the time of entering into the agreements with Q-One. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval, the closing of BioReliance's credit facility and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close late in the third quarter. BioReliance is a contract service organization. Q-One provides specialist safety testing and process validation services and contract manufacturing to the biopharmaceutical industry.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington said it would host BIO VentureForum West 2003 Oct. 14-16 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The investor conference's advisory board said it would screen and select 130 biotechnology companies seeking seed, early and late-stage private equity funding.

• Ecopia BioScience Inc., of Montreal, presented data on ECO-02301 at the Society for Industrial Microbiology annual meeting in Minneapolis. The data showed that the compound has in vivo antifungal activity in a Candida albicans mouse model of an invasive fungal infection. The result marks a proof-of-concept milestone that is expected to bring the compound into preclinical development. The animal studies compared ECO-02301 to amphotericin B, a standard therapy for fungal infections.

• Exact Sciences Corp., of Marlborough, Mass., achieved a $15 million milestone due to the national commercial availability of PreGen-Plus, a DNA-based stool assay for the early detection of colorectal cancer. It marks the second $15 million milestone achieved in connection with the licensing agreement between Exact and Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, entered in June 2002. PreGen-Plus is available for LabCorp's clients to order. (See BioWorld Today, June 28, 2002.)

• Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, received a $3 million advance loan payment from Phyto-Source LP, of Pasadena, Texas, which closed its $3 million term loan facility and $1.5 million line of credit with Southwest Bank, of Texas. The payment was made toward a $4 million loan made by Forbes during the formation of Phyto-Source, a 50-50 manufacturing joint venture between Forbes and Chusei (USA) Inc., of Houston.

• Genome BioSciences Inc., of Temecula, Calif., entered a nonexclusive technology sublicensing agreement with Prolume Ltd., of Pinetop, Ariz., for the use and marketing of Renilla green fluorescent protein (GFP) technologies. Genome BioSciences may use the technologies in the application of its Postive-Postive Selection gene targeting methodologies for the creation of genetically engineered cell lines and mice. Also, Genome BioSciences may market products and reagents containing components of the GFP technologies.

• Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said it began its cash tender offer for the outstanding shares of SangStat Medical Corp., of Fremont, Calif., for $22.50 per share. Genzyme and SangStat reported Aug. 4 that Genzyme would acquire SangStat in an all-cash tender offer worth about $600 million. Genzyme's offer is subject to certain conditions, including the tender of at least a majority of all outstanding shares on a fully diluted basis and the expiration or termination of the waiting periods. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 5, 2003.)

• ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., signed a license agreement that amends its current manufacturing license with Senetek plc, of Napa, Calif., to expand ICN's Kinerase product line. The new license covers kinetin-containing products in North America, Europe and Australia. The expanded contract adds five products to the Kinerase line, including new serum and cream formulations with stabilized vitamin C.

• ImmuneRegen BioSciences Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., a subsidiary of GPN Network Inc., submitted a request for a pre-investigational new drug application meeting with the FDA for dual indications. The company requested two meetings regarding Homspera: one with the pulmonary division for the indication of acute respiratory distress syndrome and the other with the division of radiopharmaceutical drug products to discuss their indication of acute radiation syndrome. Homspera is modified substance P, a naturally occurring immunomodulator.

• Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., reported supportive results from study 03-108, a Phase IIIb study of diquafosol for the treatment of dry eye. The study included assessments of both a conventional environmental component and an experimental controlled adverse environment chamber designed to exacerbate dry eye. Diquafosol was well tolerated with the incidence of adverse events similar to placebo. There were no treatment-related serious adverse events reported. Data from the study will be submitted to the FDA as part of the 120-day safety update. The new drug application for the product was filed in late June. Inspire's stock (NASDAQ:ISPH) gained $2.25 Wednesday, or 19 percent, to close at $14.10.

• MultiCell Technologies Inc., of Warwick, R.I., a subsidiary of Exten Industries Inc., was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to study metabolic pathways for its immortalized human liver cells. The award will be used to identify additional cellular metabolic functions that might be helpful in identifying chemical compounds for future drug development, thus augmenting current use of MultiCell's cell lines.

• Nova BioGenetics Inc., of Atlanta, acquired a controlling interest in Healthcare Network Solutions Inc. through a reverse merger, with Nova being the surviving business entity. Healthcare Network's officers and directors resigned in favor of a new management team and board nominated by Nova, whose officers and directors now own or control more than 60 percent of the combined company's issued and outstanding stock. Effective today, all shares will begin trading on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol "NVBG," and all pricing should be adjusted to a 1-for-8.9 reverse split. Nova is developing therapeutics for infectious diseases.

• Patent Discovery Corp., of San Francisco, acquired exclusive rights to a drug delivery technology from Latitude Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego. Called advanced drug delivery emulsion, the technology is designed to reduce problems associated with intravenous administration of numerous macrolide drugs, including clarithromycin and other broad-spectrum antimicrobials. Such problems include local tolerability issues such as phlebitis, vein inflammation and vein irritation. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tustin, Calif., and MediPharm Biotech Inc., of Shanghai, China, said MediPharm received marketing approval for Iodine-131 radiolabeled tumor necrosis therapy monoclonal antibody in the People's Republic of China for the treatment of advanced lung cancer. It represents the first radiolabeled monoclonal antibody approved for cancer therapy in China, the company said. Prior to its market launch, the State Food and Drug Administration of China must inspect and approve the cGMP manufacturing facility, the timing and specific requirements of which Peregrine said are unknown. Peregrine's stock (NASDAQ:PPHM) rose 35 cents Wednesday, or 26.1 percent, to close at $1.69.

• Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said an investigational new drug application was filed for a p38 kinase inhibitor by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York. The compound was discovered through a collaboration between the companies. The filing of the IND triggers a milestone payment to Pharmacopeia, and Pharmacopeia could receive additional milestone payments as the program progresses. Pharmacopeia also is entitled to royalties.

• PharmaMar SA, of Madrid, Spain, said it filed to appeal against the negative opinion from the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products issued July 24 that recommends against granting initial marketing authorization in the European Union for Yondelis for the treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcoma. PharmaMar's chairman said the company appealed because it believes that Yondelis has shown benefit in patients suffering from the difficult-to-treat tumor.

• Pierce Biotechnology Inc., of Rockford, Ill., and Amphioxus Cell Technologies, of Houston, formed a co-marketing agreement involving two complementary platform technologies used in high-throughput drug discovery. Pierce and Amphioxus will co-market products used in the sequential process of target identification and validation specific to kinases, phosphatases and ADME-TOX. The Pierce IQ Kinase Assay Platform provides high-throughput analysis of protein kinases for drug discovery. The ACTIVTox Drug Discovery Platform of Amphioxus Cell is a human liver cell line that reproduces normal hepatocyte function. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• PrimaBioMed Ltd., of Victoria, Australia, said its Panvax subsidiary and Prana Biotechnology Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, will collaboratively develop a therapeutic vaccine for Alzheimer's disease. The project also is being supported by a $250,000 Biotechnology Innovation Fund grant from the Commonwealth government. Panvax has been developing its DCtag vaccine adjuvant, which induces high levels of antibodies and T-cell responses required for protection against a range of diseases. Prana has identified protein fragments of the beta-amyloid protein as potential targets for Alzheimer antibody therapy.

• SciTegic Inc., of San Diego, reported the licensing of its lead product, Pipeline Pilot, to Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Ridgefield, Conn. Boehringer is initially using Pipeline Pilot to optimize its compound acquisitions. Pipeline Pilot is designed to allow researchers to capture and automate their data processing and analysis objectives in a graphical data-pipelining environment.

• SomaLogic Inc., of Boulder, Colo., appointed Patricia Scheller CEO. In addition, Scheller also will serve on the company's board. Most recently, Scheller managed several business units at Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company. SomaLogic develops proteomic systems and applications based on its aptamer technology.

• ViaCell Inc., of Boston, obtained a worldwide exclusive license from Gamete Technology Inc., of North Kingstown, R.I., and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for use of patented technology to cryopreserve unfertilized human oocytes. ViaCell will control the patent rights and clinical applications of Gamete oocyte cryopreservation technology for use in in vitro fertilization clinics around the world. Gamete retains rights for applications related to other human cells and all veterinary applications.

• ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, reported that the SEC terminated its preliminary investigation into the company's handling of its 2001 and 2002 revenue guidance. The company had reported that the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California had terminated its preliminary investigation into the matter. The allegations that precipitated those investigations were previously raised by a former employee and investigated by the company's audit committee with the assistance of independent third party experts, ViroLogic said. That prior investigation had concluded that the allegations were unfounded and without merit, the company said.

• Xerion Pharmaceuticals AG, of Martinsried, Germany, entered a license agreement with XOMA Ireland Ltd., a division of XOMA Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif. Xerion receives rights to use the XOMA antibody expression technology for developing antibody products derived from phage display libraries for itself and Xerion collaborators. Xerion also has an option to license the production of antibodies under the XOMA patents. XOMA will receive license and royalty payments from Xerion. In addition, Xerion and XOMA have a co-development and commercialization option on antibody products generated by Xerion.