Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said it will receive a milestone payment of an undisclosed amount from Pfizer Inc., of New York, triggered by Pfizer's filing of an investigational new drug application with the FDA. The IND filing by Pfizer represents the second antibody product candidate to enter clinical studies from the companies' antibody research collaboration. Abgenix and its partners have now entered into clinical trials a total of six fully human antibodies generated by Abgenix's XenoMouse technology, Abgenix said.

• Amersham Biosciences, of Piscataway, N.J., a division of Amersham plc, entered an exclusive agreement with Geneva Bioinformatics SA, of Geneva, to develop a 2-D gel image analysis tools for proteomics research. The collaboration will integrate the Melanie 2-D Gel Analysis Software developed by the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics into the ImageMaster image analysis software platform from Amersham. Resultant imaging software will be developed collectively. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• AntiCancer Inc., of San Diego, said its unit, A/C Diagnostics, received FDA clearance to market its A/C Enzymatic Homocysteine Assay. The assay uses a genetically engineered enzyme specific for homocysteine, a risk factor for cardiovascular and other diseases, and will be able to test for the presence of it, the company said.

• AtheroGenics Inc., of Atlanta, reported Phase II results from a 27-patient study of AGIX-4207 for rheumatoid arthritis showing that the oral treatment inhibited by 92 percent the increase in erythrocyte sedimentation rate observed in placebo patients (p<0.03). AtheroGenics said the compound's effect on other biomarkers was not statistically significant, although some showed trends toward benefit. Also, treatment with AGIX-4207 was safe, well tolerated and resulted in no serious adverse events. AtheroGenics added that planning is under way for a multicenter, 12-week, 220-patient Phase II trial called OSCAR (oral suppression of cellular inflammation attenuates rheumatoid arthritis), scheduled to begin later this year in Europe.

• Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Ridgefield, Conn., reported data at the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment in Paris, showing that HIV patients who switched to a Viramune (nevirapine)-containing regimen from a protease inhibitor-containing regimen maintained long-term virological suppression while increasing their CD4+ cells and improving their mean triglyercide and serum cholesterol levels. More specifically, among the 68 patients that switched to Viramune, those that maintained efficacy showed a significant increase in total mean CD4+ count from 574 to 703 cells/uL, while viral load remained undetectable in 95.7 percent of all of them.

• CancerVax Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., presented at the 94th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington results of preclinical studies demonstrating that humanized monoclonal antibodies under development by its wholly owned subsidiary, Cell-Matrix Inc., suppress angiogenesis and inhibit tumor growth in animal models of melanoma and breast cancer. The company presented data that showed humanized monoclonal antibodies 2D4 and QH2B targeted binding sites on collagen that are exposed during the formation of new blood vessels at sites of tumor growth, it said.

• Caprion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Montreal, entered a collaboration to use its CellCarta proteomics discovery platform to identify biomarkers of the effects of pharmaceutical compounds belonging to Wyeth, of Madison, N.J. Caprion will profile plasma changes in a preclinical model of inflammation after administration of Wyeth's compounds. The companies said they expect to uncover new biological insights to augment the understanding of the mechanisms of action of such compounds, helping their optimization and that of other potential therapeutics. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., granted a license to its HIV and hepatitis C virus intellectual property in combination with plasma-screening technology belonging to Baxter AG, a subsidiary of Baxter International, of Deerfield, Ill., for use with plasma fractionation in Europe. The licenses will allow Baxter to continue to develop its own large-scale, plasma-testing technology for screening plasma. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Cognate Therapeutics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., entered an agreement to develop multiple nonviral, gene-based cancer products using a cell-loading system belonging to MaxCyte Inc., of Rockville, Md. MaxCyte will receive undisclosed up-front and milestone payments, research and development funding, as well as royalties from sales. More specific financial terms were not disclosed.

• Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, said it did not file its fiscal 2002 annual report with the SEC within a previously provided 15-day extension period. Elan said the SEC is questioning its historic accounting treatment, but it continues to work to complete and file its report "as expeditiously as practicable." Elan added that it could not provide assurances as to the timing. The company is in danger of defaulting on debt securities if it does not file its report on time.

• ICOS Corp., of Bothell, Wash., gained about $28.7 million through the exercise of an option on the part of the initial purchasers of $250 million of its 2 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2023. The closing is expected Friday. ICOS said it would use net proceeds from the offering for the anticipated U.S. commercial launch of Cialis (tadalafil), research and development activities, working capital and other general corporate purposes. (See BioWorld Today, June 17, 2003.)

• ImmuneRegen BioSciences Inc., a subsidiary of GPN Network Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., expanded its collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD). The expansion involves a research study on the effects of Homspera on tested mice after exposure to fatal doses of radiation. Based on the results from an earlier study, the DoD requested ImmuneRegen to conduct a similar study but with an increased sample size of 16 mice and a reduced number of control mice to four. ImmuneRegen's goal is to improve upon the 25 percent survival rate of the subject mice from the previous study. Homspera is a manufactured form of the naturally occurring immunomodulator Substance P.

• Insmed Inc., of Richmond, Va., grossed about $13.9 million after closing a previously announced private placement of about 5.1 million common shares to a group of institutional investors for $2.70 apiece. The total proceeds were $1.9 million more than expected, a bonus Insmed attributed to "stronger-than-expected investor interest." The company also issued warrants to purchase an additional 1.54 million common shares with an exercise price of $4.10 apiece. Wells Fargo Securities LLC served as the transaction's lead placement agent. (See BioWorld Today, July 14, 2003.)

• Ionix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, Mass., completed Phase I studies for its IX-1003 product candidate. IX-1003 is an intranasal formulation of the opioid agonist buprenorphine, designed to treat post-operative pain and other acute pain conditions. Ionix also said it had received £10 million (US$15.9 million) of venture capital in a Series B financing in March. Investors included Apax Partners and The Wellcome Trust. Proceeds have accelerated the development of its programs in ion channel blockers for the treatment of chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain, it said.

• Kosan Biosciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif., said it achieved a goal in the production of KOS-862 (epothilone D), a compound being co-developed with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland. KOS-862 is a polyketide natural product designed to inhibit cancer cells by the same mechanism as paclitaxel, and has shown activity against paclitaxel-resistant tumor cell lines, Kosan said. Kosan and Roche plan to initiate a Phase II program for KOS-862 in the second half of 2003.

• Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said its European business was awarded an exclusive contract by the Norwegian government to provide DNA testing services to confirm the identity of individuals immigrating to Norway. The 18-month contract, which is renewable for an additional year, follows Orchid's extendable three-year contract award from the U.K. government signed last year to provide DNA relationship-testing services to that country's visa department. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Peninsula Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Alameda, Calif., elected Paul Truex CEO. Truex becomes the company's first CEO and also is president. Most recently, he worked at Versicor Inc., of Fremont, Calif., where he was vice president of commercial development. Peninsula is focused on licensing and developing clinical-stage, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents.

• Pozen Inc., of Chapel hill, N.C., said it would receive $25 million in initial payments from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, related to their agreement to develop a migraine therapeutic after receiving antitrust clearance. Last month, they entered an agreement to develop combinations of a triptan (5-HT1B/1D agonist) and a long-acting non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that might improve the effectiveness of acute treatment and provide sustained pain relief for patients suffering from migraine headaches, a combination Pozen refers to as MT 400. (See BioWorld Today, June 13, 2003.)

•Ribapharm Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a memorandum of decision and order that granted defendants Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals LLC, of Cranberry Township, Pa.; Geneva Pharmaceuticals, an affiliate of Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland; and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem, their motion for summary judgment of non-infringement of the asserted patents in the ribavirin patent infringement suit brought by Ribapharm and ICN Pharmaceuticals. The court did not issue a decision or order on the validity of the Ribapharm and ICN patents. Ribapharm said it expects to appeal the decision through the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and also is considering other alternatives. Ribavirin is marketed as Rebetol for hepatitis C in the U.S., Europe and Japan by Kenilworth, N.J.-based Schering-Plough Corp. Ribapharm's stock (NYSE:RNA) fell $1.37 Wednesday, or 20 percent, to close at $5.47.

• SciNova Informatics Pvt. Ltd., of Pune, India, said it will develop software for structure elucidation of natural compounds for AstraZeneca Research Foundation India, of Bangalore, India. SciNova will use its abilities in data mining and machine learning for the product, it said, and will retain international rights to market it. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Scynexis Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., broadened the scope and extended the term of their multiyear research collaboration that began last year, to discover and develop anti-infective compounds. Scynexis will use its Medchem-Factory and Heos technologies to help accelerate the identification of drugs active against Merck's screening targets. Merck would receive exclusive worldwide rights to any products developed through the collaboration. Scynexis would receive milestone payments on developed products and royalties on sales. The original deal was signed in June 2002. (See BioWorld Today, June 27, 2002.)

• ViroPharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., said a Phase Ib study of HCV-371 in chronic hepatitis C virus infection did not show the desired effect. Results from the U.S. study indicated that HCV-371 was safe and well tolerated but had no impact on hepatitis C virus RNA levels at the doses tested. The company said the development terminates the HCV-371 project but said it plans to move another product into the clinic by 2004. ViroPharma said the next compound "is from a different chemical series than HCV-371" and has demonstrated in preclinical studies "significantly greater antiviral activity than HCV-371." ViroPharma's stock (NASDAQ:VPHM) fell 63 cents Wednesday, or 22.7 percent, to close at $2.15.