• Antares Pharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., entered a collaboration to use its current and future injection devices to support GeneMedix plc, of Newmarket, UK, and its introduction of generic biopharmaceuticals in certain territories. Specific details regarding the biopharmaceutical products, territories and future financial terms were not disclosed.

• Biovitrum AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, began a Phase II trial of BVT.3498, its lead compound for Type II diabetes. The placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, which will involve more than 100 patients in Finland and Sweden, is designed to study the product's safety, tolerability and several additional parameters related to the metabolic syndrome. Biovitrum called BVT.3498 a highly selective inhibitor of the enzyme 11betaHSD1, yielding reduced tissue levels of cortisol.

• Boston Life Sciences Inc., of Boston, said its principal collaborating scientists at Harvard Medical School discovered a means to stimulate nerve fiber regeneration over long distances following injury to the optic nerve in rats. The discovery, part of the company's program in axonal regeneration, is described in the current issue of Journal of Neuroscience. Its lead product for the platform, Inosine, is for the treatment of central nervous system conditions.

• Cellegy Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, was told the FDA extended the target date under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act for an approval date of Cellegy's NDA for Tostrex testosterone gel to July 3. The FDA said the extension would allow time to review data from a required study submitted by Cellegy this year. In January, Cellegy signed PDI Inc. to a $25 million deal to market the product in North America. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 3, 2003.)

• Chiasma, of Netanya, Israel, received $2 million in seed financing from InnoMed, the Jerusalem Global Ventures life sciences fund. The company, which is working to develop noninvasive delivery vehicles for protein drugs, was established last year by Guy Yachin and Shmuel Ben-Sasson through Yissum, the Hebrew University's research and technology commercialization company.

• Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Watertown, Mass., presented data on its microlide program at the Antibacterial Drug Discovery and Development Summit in Princeton, N.J. Data were presented on a new class of antibacterial agents effective against antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, and are being developed for respiratory tract infections, the company said.

• Genaissance Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., signed an agreement with Wayne State University to support the university's research contract with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Perinatology Research Branch (PRB), located in Detroit at the WSU School of Medicine. The university will gain access to specific HAP markers and receive a limited license to use Genaissance's DecoGen Informatics System. Genaissance will develop assays for the selected HAP markers and provide high-throughput genotyping on clinical samples provided by the university and the PRB. Genaissance will receive a license fee and other undisclosed payments from the university.

• GeneGo Inc., of New Buffalo, Mich., said it launched MetaCore, a computational platform for systems biology that combines analytical tools, data content and algorithms for understanding the pathways affected by human diseases.

• Gen-Probe Inc., of San Diego, received $2.47 million in supplemental contract funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to continue development of its nucleic acid test for the detection of West Nile virus in donated blood and organs. The FDA already accepted Gen-Probe's investigational new drug application for the product, developed in partnership with Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif. The first stage of testing will begin with a banked sample-prevalence study using Gen-Probe's assay. Testing is planned to coincide with this summer's mosquito season.

• Imaging Research Inc., of St. Catharines, Ontario, said version 8.0 of its ArrayVision software is available. Features of the software include background subtraction options for protein arrays; new weighing functions for curve-fitting, flexible graphing tools; and simplified import/export functions, the company said.

• Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., said its underwriters exercised their overallotment option to purchase 750,000 additional common shares in relation to Inspire's previously announced stock offering. The company's net proceeds from the overallotment totaled about $9.5 million. Inspire netted $63.1 million through the sale of 5 million shares in a public offering completed earlier this month. Deutsche Bank Securities, of New York, acted as the offering's book-running manager and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, of Minneapolis, acted as co-lead manager. (See BioWorld Today, March 17, 2003.)

• Kalypsys Inc., of San Diego, entered an agreement with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., giving Merck access to Kalypsys' high-throughput lead discovery system. The companies will collaborate to extend the system's capabilities. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kalypsys uses automation technologies to evaluate drug candidates in cellular models of disease and then to optimize the safety and efficacy of select candidates.

• Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, presented four posters at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting in San Francisco. The company presented clinical data showing that Targretin (bexarotene) and Panretin (alitretinoin) provide benefit against hand dermatitis, psoriasis, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and photo-aging. Both products are designed to bind to and activate retinoid X receptors.

• MetriGenix Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., entered an agreement to integrate its MGX 4D Array System technology from Waban Software Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Specifically, MetriGenix will integrate Waban Explorer into its microarray architecture for gene expression analysis. The technology partnership is designed to improve the information management capabilities of MetriGenix's 4D Array System. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Mitokor Inc., of San Diego, withdrew its proposed, year-old introductory public offering. The company, which said it was pulling its registration statement because of unfavorable market conditions, originally estimated the offering to net a maximum of $60 million. Mitokor is working to develop drugs to treat diseases and conditions associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. (See BioWorld Today, March 12, 2002.)

• NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., reached an agreement with Pharmacia Corp., of Peapack, N.J., and its subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc. NeoPharm will continue with its ongoing arbitration claim against Pharmacia & Upjohn, but will not proceed against the parent companies in the arbitral forum. NeoPharm, though, has reserved the right to pursue claims against Pharmacia and Pharmacia & Upjohn in a court proceeding. The arbitration proceedings, which arose out of a dispute from a four-year-old licensing agreement between NeoPharm and Pharmacia & Upjohn in which the latter assumed development of liposomal paclitaxel and liposomal doxorubicin, two of NeoPharm's anti-cancer compounds, are scheduled to begin May 28.

• NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Salt Lake City, and Enzon Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bridgewater, N.J., filed a registration statement on Form S-4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission with respect to their previously announced merger. The registration statement was filed in the name of Momentum Merger Corp., a newly organized Delaware corporation formed by NPS and Enzon to effect the merger. Momentum's name will be changed prior to the completion of the merger reported last month. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 21, 2003.)

• Oxford GlycoSciences plc, of Oxford, UK, said it added its 10th antigen believed to be particular to breast, colon, pancreatic and lung cancers to a joint program with Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J. Oxford GlycoSciences said four previously submitted protein targets have generated promising immunoresponses, while fully human antibodies have been selected for the two most advanced antigens and a lead selection process is under way. OGS-MDX-001, the collaboration's lead antibody targeted against Heparanase 1, has entered preclinical safety assessment. Production for use in the initial Phase I trial also has begun. Separately, Oxford GlycoSciences submitted to the FDA an amendment to its new drug application for Zavesca, an oral treatment for Gaucher's disease previously known as Vevesca. The FDA said the original NDA, submitted in August 2001, might be approved only if a number of issues were addressed and further clinical studies were conducted. The company, which said its amendment addresses the agency's concerns, added that a further review cycle has begun. (See BioWorld Today, June 25, 2002.)

• Pfizer Inc., of New York, said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has completed the review of its planned acquisition of Pharmacia Corp., of Peapack, N.J. Pfizer said it expects to close the transaction next month.

• Repligen Corp., of Waltham, Mass., is planning to begin an open-label extension of its ongoing Phase III trials of synthetic human secretin (RG1068) in children with autism. In the extension phase, all patients who complete the Phase III trial will be offered the option of further RG1068 treatment once every three weeks for an additional year. The extension study's goal is to provide patients access to RG1068 and to collect additional, longer-term safety data. Each patient will be monitored for adverse events and changes in a variety of blood parameters throughout the extension. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 19, 2002.)

• SignalGene Inc., of Montreal, said its shares continue to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, though it must meet the exchange's original listing requirements by Sept. 12. If the company is unable to do so at that time, it would be subject to a suspension review process, after which its securities may be suspended or delisted. SignalGene expects its shares to continue to trade on the exchange at least until that date.

• Tranzyme Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., is receiving a $500,000 grant from the Institute for the Study of Aging in New York. Tranzyme's focus is a platform that enables the creation of in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo model systems for drug discovery. The company is expected to use its TranzVector gene delivery system to create neuronal cell lines expressing single or multiple Alzheimer's disease-related genes for use in high-throughput assays of beta-amyloid production. Tranzyme also is expected to create non-transgenic mouse models for Alzheimer's disease drug discovery and create a transgenic rat model for Alzheimer's disease.

• Tularik Inc., of South San Francisco, enrolled the first patient in the registration trial of T67, being developed for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Tularik is conducting a two-arm, randomized, global study to compare the survival of patients who receive T67 vs. those receiving doxorubicin, the current systemic chemotherapy standard of care for HCC, though the FDA has not approved it for that indication. Tularik, which plans to enroll up to 750 chemotherapy-naive patients in up to 75 sites in the U.S. and abroad, received FDA approval on the study's design last summer. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 28, 2002.)

• West Pharmaceutical Services Inc., of Lionville, Pa., entered a development and worldwide licensing agreement to produce and commercialize a diphtheria and tetanus nasal vaccine using its ChiSys nasal drug delivery technology with Chiron Vaccines, the vaccine division of Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif. West, which will receive development fees and milestone payments, also will receive royalties based on Chiron's commercial sales of a resultant product. Chiron will be responsible for regulatory filings, marketing and commercialization activities. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.