• Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif, and Microscience Ltd., of Berkshire, UK, said they will collaborate to discover, develop and commercialize "passive" immunotherapies against certain infectious disease targets using fully human monoclonal antibodies. Microscience will provide infectious disease target antigens and Abgenix will use its XenoMouse technology to generate fully human antibodies. Both companies will screen and identify antibodies with therapeutic potential. Selected antibody products would then be jointly developed. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Acacia Research Corp., of Newport Beach, Calif., said its unit, CombiMatrix, produced pools of small interfering RNA molecules directed at specific genes of the SARS coronavirus. CombiMatrix is collaborating with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases to conduct initial screening of the siRNA samples.

• Allos Therapeutics Inc., of Westminster, Colo., said its board approved a shareholders rights plan under which all stockholders as of May 28 will receive rights to purchase shares of a new series of preferred stock. The adoption of the plan is intended as a means to guard against abusive takeover tactics and is not in response to any particular proposal, it said. Allos focuses on drugs for improving cancer treatments.

• Argenta Discovery Ltd., of Harlow, UK, entered a multiyear collaboration with Corcept Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., for the discovery and optimization of a second-generation drug candidate from one of Corcept's psychiatric disorder programs. Argenta and Corcept scientists will work in an interdisciplinary team to integrate biology and chemistry. Financial details were not disclosed.

• ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., began enrollment of cancer patients at cancer centers in two Phase I studies of AP23573, its lead cancer product. The AP23573 class of cancer drugs inhibits the protein mTOR and shrinks tumors by cancer cell starvation through inhibition of nutrient uptake to tumor cells, as well as inhibition of growth factor stimulation. Gene markers will be used to explore the relationship between the antitumor activity and genetic mutations of the patients' tumors.

• ARUP Laboratories, of Salt Lake City, said it secured a sublicense to several U.S. patents from InVivoScribe Technologies LLC, of Carlsbad, Calif. The patents cover PCR-based testing of immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor loci, technology, ARUP said, required to detect and monitor leukemias, lymphomas and other lymphoproliferative diseases in many patient samples. Techniques covered by the patents also are used to identify the tumor- and patient-specific genetic sequences necessary for ultrasensitive minimum residual disease testing. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Axonyx Inc., of New York, said an article in the May 2003 issue of Journal of Alzheimer's Disease included preclinical data that provided details on Phenserine's mechanism of action to reduce production of amyloid precursor protein (APP). APP is the precursor of beta amyloid, the substance involved in the death of nerve cells in Alzheimer's disease. The study examined the structure of the 5' UTR of APP messenger RNA and revealed how the 5' UTR is acted on by cytokines such as IL-1 and TNF.

• Bavarian Nordic A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said the German authority for the review of public procurement awards decided on a complaint regarding the German government's award of a vaccine contract to Bavarian Nordic in February. Baxter Deutschland GmbH filed the complaint, claiming the government did not observe the rules regarding public tendering procedure. The authority found that the government did observe the rules and rejected the complaint, Bavarian Nordic said.

• BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lincolnshire, Ill., said results of a Phase II/III trial pointed to an effective dose of Bio-E-Gel (estradiol topical gel) for moderate to severe hot flushes in menopausal women. The 161-patient U.S. and Canadian-based study was designed to identify a dose to study in Phase III development. BioSante said a Phase III trial is expected to begin this year.

• Camstar Systems Inc., of Campbell, Calif., said that Caliper Technologies Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., selected Camstar's InSite system to manage the production of Caliper's LabChip product line. The Camstar system is designed to streamline operations, improve quality and improve yield performance.

• Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The $162,000 grant will be used for the development of CEL-1000 against herpes. CEL-1000 is a modified version of a human immune-based protein known to bind to human and mouse immune cells.

• ChemAxon, of Budapest, Hungary, released Jchem 2.0, the latest version of the Java database engine enabling chemical communication across networks. The release also enabled the addition of five tool sets for pharmacophore screening, structure standardization, RECAP fragmentation, reaction modeling and metabolite prediction.

• Corus Pharma Inc., of Seattle, named Kirby Cramer chairman and promoted Melissa Yeager to vice president of regulatory affairs and quality assurance. The chairman emeritus of Hazleton Laboratories Corp., of Vienna, Va., Cramer has been a Corus board member since 2001. Corus is developing respiratory and infectious disease therapies.

• Diatos SA, of Paris, received €2.5 million from NIF Ventures, raising its total for the round announced in February to €9 million and effectively completing it. Diatos uses its drug-targeting and intracellular-delivery technologies to develop therapies for cancer and other diseases.

• DOR BioPharma Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia for an intellectual property portfolio relating to development of vaccines to combat intoxication by botulinum toxin. More than $2.1 million of grant support from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., was invested in developing the vaccine candidates and related work on the mechanisms of botulinum toxin. DOR gains access to U.S. Patent No. 6,051,239 and corresponding international equivalents describing the oral use of detoxified botulinum toxin as a vaccine and patent applications that describe the pulmonary routes of delivery of the genetically detoxified version.

• Dragon Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, received market approval from the Chinese State Drug Administration for the use of rHU Erythropoietin (EPO) in surgical patients in China. It also received approval for a new dosage presentation of 6000 IU, which will be used for the indication. Dragon's EPO helps increase the body's supply of erythropoietin, the company said.

• Endovasc Inc., of Montgomery, Texas, said it relocated its corporate headquarters within Montgomery. All phone numbers will remain the same. Endovasc focuses on cardiovascular and metabolic drug therapies.

• Exact Sciences Corp., of Maynard, Calif., and Genzyme Genetics, a division of Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass, said they signed a royalty-free, cross-license agreement covering 15 technology patents that might be useful in developing diagnostic products and services. Also, the companies will jointly develop specific molecular diagnostic tools in the field of hematologic oncology. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

• Genteon Inc., of San Diego, said it sold its Capella 400 genetic analysis system to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing. The academy will use the product, a fully automated, 384-channel capillary electrophoresis system that does not require fluorescent dyes, in connection with its China Agricultural Plant Gene Resources and Gene Melioration Engineering Project. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Baltimore, entered an $18.8 million term loan with Wachovia Bank to restructure the synthetic lease on its research and development facility. The lease, established in 1998 to fund construction, required Guilford to maintain $40 million in unrestricted cash and about $13.8 million in restricted cash. The loan requires Guilford to repay principal based on a 20-year amortization, together with interest fixed at 5.36 percent per year. Also, Guilford now is required to maintain restricted cash equal to the outstanding principal balance of the loan, providing an additional $40 million of working capital and allowing the company to consolidate the associated asset and liability on its balance sheet beginning this quarter.

• Helix BioMedix Inc., of Bothell, Wash., said it sold about 3.8 million shares of stock and warrants in a private placement to individual investors. The placement includes the sale of about 1.5 million shares announced in January, and generated total gross proceeds of $3.8 million. The proceeds will be used to fund development of Helix BioMedix's peptides for applications in skin care, wound healing and antimicrobial therapeutics.

• Hycor Biomedical Inc., of Garden Grove, Calif., received clearance from the FDA to market its Anti-Cardiolipin (ACA) IgA autoimmune test. ACA is used in the diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome, which can occur as a complication of various autoimmune diseases. The company now has 30 autoimmune tests cleared by the FDA and 37 available internationally. Its stock (NASDAQ:HYBD) rose 56 cents Wednesday, or 18.9 percent, to close at $3.53.

• IBEX Technologies Inc., of Montreal, said it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Oncotherapeutics Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., a private company with exclusive rights to several cancer biomarkers. The acquisition is valued at $730,986 plus milestone payments and is expected to close in 30 days. IBEX focuses on molecular biomarkers and therapeutics for the management of cancer and arthritis.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International in New York said researchers at the JDRF Center for Immunoregulation at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, reported a method for preventing Type I diabetes in mice, which signals the immune system not to attack insulin-secreting beta cells. The finding was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on May 1, 2003.

• Lynx Therapeutics Inc., of Hayward, Calif., entered a service agreement with the National Institute on Aging, a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to study stem cell gene expression using Lynx's Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing technology. Lynx will receive payments for the genomics discovery services it performs on samples provided by the NIA. The study aims to understand the ability of stem cells to divide for indefinite periods and give rise to specialized cells.

• Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc., of Bothell, Wash., was expected to make three presentations this week on its automated tangential flow filtration system, DCVax-TFF, as the basis for less complicated and more cost-effective dendritic cell-based therapies. The information is scheduled to be presented at the 90th annual meeting of the American Association of Immunologists in Denver.

• Oncolytics Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, said enrollment resumed in the Phase I study of Reolysin in recurrent malignant glioma. Changes in the protocol were suggested by an independent data safety monitoring board, study investigators and Oncolytics itself. The changes were reviewed and approved by Health Canada. Reolysin is Oncolytics' formulation of the human reovirus.

• Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., received approval from the American Association of Blood Banks to use single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as stand-alone genetic markers in its Orchid GeneScreen paternity testing operations. Orchid is replacing conventional short tandem repeat techniques with methods that use its SNP genotyping technology, it said. Its stock (NASDAQ:ORCH) rose 43 cents Wednesday, or 86 percent, to close at 93 cents.

• Orphan Medical Inc., of Minneapolis, said abstracts incorporating its Xyrem (sodium oxybate) oral solution were published in Sleep, a supplement to next month's Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting in Chicago. The abstracts deal with the product's effects on nocturnal REM sleep, cataplexy, narcolepsy and fibromyalgia, among other topics. Xyrem was approved last summer as the only treatment for cataplexy associated with narcolepsy. (See BioWorld Today, July 19, 2002.)

• PamGene International BV, of S-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, said it granted further rights to market its flow-through microarray technology to Olympus Optical Co. Ltd., of Japan, which now has paid €6 million. Olympus gained a nonexclusive worldwide right to sell the product for pharmaceutical and biotech research and development, diagnostics and diagnostic testing. PamGene will focus on the launch of its fully automatic 96-array system for high-throughput applications and the development of biomarkers. Olympus will focus on low-to-medium throughput applications with its FD10 4-array system.

• Panacea Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., entered an agreement to develop an array of assays using the MF20 system recently released by Olympus Optical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo. Olympus, which developed the biomolecular interaction analysis system with Evotec Technologies GmbH, of Hamburg, Germany, will make it available to overseas markets by the end of the year.

• Repligen Corp., of Waltham, Mass., reported the publication of a study in a recent issue of Neuroscience demonstrating an injection of secretin activates neurons in the amygdala in rats. The company said it is the first published evidence that intravenously administered secretin can modulate the activity of the brain. In the study, activation of the central amygdala was observed after two hours in secretin-treated rats that was significantly greater than was observed in placebo-treated rats (p<0.001).

• Simulations Plus Inc., of Lancaster, Calif., reported that GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, licensed an expanded suite of Simulations Plus software and also engaged Simulations Plus to provide on-demand support for simulation and modeling projects. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Stressgen Biotechnologies Corp., of San Diego, reported preclinical data on its chronic hepatitis B CoVal fusion compound, HspBcor, at the Conference on Vaccine Research in Arlington, Va. Data showed that mice immunized with the HspBcor fusion protein activate cellular immunity by generating cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Stressgen and Utah State University performed the studies under a collaborative agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

• TheraCom Inc., of Bethesda, Md., was selected as a preferred provider of Fabrazyme and Aldurazyme by the Genzyme General division of Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass. TheraCom, a specialty pharmacy subsidiary of AdvancePCS, will provide services related to distribution, reimbursement and billing to support the recent approval and introduction of the products into the U.S. market. (See BioWorld Today, April 25, 2003, and May 1, 2003.)

• TransForm Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., received a $1 million milestone payment from its partner, Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, for attaining several success factors by the end of 2002. The companies entered the collaboration in June 2002 to enhance the process by which Lilly selects and optimizes early lead candidates. Transform has a set of high-throughput automated platform technologies.