• Avid Bioservices Inc., of Tustin, Calif., a wholly owned subsidiary of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., said it completed its initial manufacturing contract with Inhibitex Inc., of Atlanta. Avid produced clinical trial material for Aurexis, a humanized monoclonal antibody being developed by Inhibitex to treat Staphylococcal aureus infections. The companies also finalized a manufacturing supply agreement for two additional cGMP manufacturing runs for Aurexis. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., of Novato, Calif., reported positive results from its Phase II open-label study of Aryplase, recombinant human arylsulfatase B (rhASB), an enzyme replacement therapy for the treatment of mucopolysaccharidosis VI, also known as Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome. Results from the study indicate that Aryplase is well tolerated and associated with improvements in several clinical endpoints. On average, subjects experienced improvements in endurance as measured by the distance walked at the six and 12-minute time points of a 12-minute walk test, and the number of stairs climbed in three minutes.

• BioTransplant Inc., of Medford, Mass., said its common stock on Friday began trading on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol "BTRNQ." Its securities were delisted from the Nasdaq National Market March 11, the result of its voluntary petition to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization late last month. (See BioWorld Today, March 3, 2003.)

• Cangene Corp., of Toronto, entered a European marketing and distribution agreement for its WinRho SDF with Baxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill. Baxter will market and distribute the product in Europe, excluding Portugal, for treating a blood clotting disorder called immune thrombocytopenic purpura. Cangene intends to launch in the UK in the near term. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown, Pa., reported encouraging data from four studies evaluating the use of Periostat to treat patients with dental and medical disorders at the American Association for Dental Research's annual meeting in San Antonio. Two independent studies demonstrated that the addition of Periostat to a conventional treatment regimen of scaling and root planing not only improves clinical periodontal parameters in patients with diabetes, but also improves markers of diabetic control. A third abstract described the impact of Periostat on biomarkers of systemic inflammation in patients with acute coronary syndrome. A fourth paper described the use of Periostat to modulate wound healing in patients undergoing access flap surgery.

• Dyax Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., entered agreements to raise about $8.8 million through the sale of about 4.7 million common shares to selected institutional and other accredited investors for $1.86 apiece. Funds from the offering, priced 10 percent above Dyax's average closing price for the five days preceding the agreement, will be used for general corporate purposes, including funding ongoing clinical trials and operations. The shares are being issued under a shelf registration statement filed last April to sell up to 5 million shares. Lancet Capital and Federated Kaufman Fund led the offering, for which Pacific Growth Equities LLC acted as exclusive placement agent.

• Embrex Inc., of Laurinburg, N.C., held a groundbreaking ceremony to highlight planned construction of a biological manufacturing facility near the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport. The facility will be used to manufacture the company's Inovocox in ovo coccidiosis vaccine upon approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

• Hemosol Inc., of Toronto, saw its stock plunge 63 percent Friday following disclosure Thursday after market close that it would suspend enrollment prior to continuing its cardiac trial (HLK 213/304) based on a recommendation by its data safety monitoring board. Its shares (NASDAQ:HMSL) fell $1.33 to close at 72 cents following its decision to review safety data from the trial, which involves the use of Hemolink (hemoglobin raffimer), an oxygen therapeutic designed to improve oxygen delivery via the circulatory system, in patients undergoing cardiac bypass grafting surgery. As a precaution, Hemosol also voluntarily suspended enrollment in its Phase II study of Hemolink in orthopedic surgery patients (HLK 210).

• Oxford GlycoSciences plc, of Oxford, UK, said its board plans to attempt to revise a merger proposal put forth by Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc, of Melbourn, UK. The board, which is being advised by Goldman Sachs, also said it would consider offers from other interested parties. The board said it believes that a merger with CAT represents the best alternative for Oxford shareholders, though it does not believe the current CAT offer is sufficient. Oxford initially had been in talks with CAT for an all-share acquisition that valued Oxford at £109.6 million (US$177 million). The board also said it does not recommend an offer put forth by Celltech Group plc, of Slough, UK. It said the Celltech cash offer does not fully reflect the value of Oxford's business and cash. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 24, 2003.)

• Prana Biotechnology Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, reported an expansion to its agreement with the University of Melbourne to lengthen the collaboration by two years, until 2006, while intensifying research into new drug candidates. The original agreement was signed in May 1999 with the objective of furthering Prana's research program into the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders.

• SuperGen Inc., of Dublin, Calif., was the subject of a warning from the FDA to consumers and health care practitioners about misrepresentations in a SuperGen press release dated Nov. 15, 2002, in connection Mitozytrex (mitomycin for injection). The FDA said the release, among other things, exaggerated the efficacy of Mitozytrex and failed to include risks associated with using the drug. The FDA said the releases didn't mention acute adverse reactions that can result from using Mitozytrex, including fever, anorexia, nausea, and vomiting, as well as it being associated with myelosuppression and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The release also made unsupported claims that Mitozytrex is a "supergeneric," the FDA said. The FDA also said no data submitted by SuperGen provided "evidence that Mitozytrex is superior to existing marketed formulations of mitomycin." SuperGen's stock (NASDAQ:SUPG) fell 54 cents Friday, or 17.5 percent, to close at $2.55.

• TheRyte Ltd., of Liverpool, UK, signed a technology license and commercialization deal with Randox Laboratories Ltd., a provider of clinical diagnostic test systems based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The deal is for the development of proteomics-based early stage diagnostic and theranostic marker tests for cancer using TheRyte's technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.