• Accelrys Inc., of San Diego, said it released Materials Studio 2.2, featuring new tools in the polymer, crystallization and catalysis areas. The program is used in the chemicals, petrochemical, polymer, cosmetics and personal care industries, the company said.

• Agilix Corp., of New Haven, Conn., introduced the GenCompass whole genome universal microarray at the Chips To Hits meeting in Philadelphia. The technology is meant to overcome cost and sequence barriers for researchers, the company said.

• Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said its board approved the adoption of a stockholders rights plan for all shareholders as of Nov. 13. The plan is designed to enable all Arena stockholders to realize the full value of their investment and to provide for fair and equal treatment in the event that an unsolicited attempt is made to acquire Arena. Arena focuses primarily on drugs that target G protein-coupled receptors.

• Bioniche Life Sciences Inc., of Belleville, Ontario, said the company's pharmaceutical business unit, Bioniche Pharma, began marketing and selling amiodarone hydrochloride injection vials, its recently approved FDA product, through a nonexclusive distribution agreement with Baxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill., for the U.S. market. Amiodarone hydrochloride injection is used in the treatment of recurring ventricular fibrillation and hemodynamically unstable ventricular tachycardia.

• Cambria Biosciences LLC, of Woburn, Mass., received a $2.7 million cooperative agreement grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to develop strategies to control the mosquito insect vectors that transmit malaria and other infectious diseases. Cambria expects to partner with academic laboratories and Dow Agrosciences LLC, of Indianapolis.

• Dendreon Corp., of Seattle, said Mitchell Gold will be promoted to CEO, effective Jan. 1. Christopher Henney, the company's CEO since 1995, will remain active as chairman. Dendreon, after a six-month delay, this week received FDA clearance to resume enrollment in its second Phase III trial of Provenge, a therapeutic vaccine for hormone-resistant prostate cancer patients. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 29, 2002.)

• Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., said the first peer-reviewed study evaluating the use of the orally administered combination of Thalomid (thalidomide) and dexamethasone for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma was scheduled for publication in today's issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The article reports that 32 of 50 patients, or 64 percent, achieved a greater than 50 percent reduction in M-protein and an additional 14 patients, or 28 percent, achieved a reduction in M-protein of between 25 and 50 percent. The primary endpoint of the study was to determine if Thalomid plus dexamethasone is a less toxic, oral alternative to chemotherapeutic regimens as pre-stem cell transplantation induction therapy for multiple myeloma.

• Evotec OAI AG, of Hamburg, Germany, extended its long-term screening technology partnership with Pfizer Inc., of New York, in a deal potentially valued in excess of $25 million. The partnership, which began in June 1999, covers biology services, technology development and the delivery of screening systems. Under the terms of the new three-year agreement, Evotec OAI will provide Pfizer with additional and newly developed ultra-high-throughput screening instrumentation. In addition, Evotec OAI will develop certain technologies and biological assay systems as a service to Pfizer.

• Ferring Pharmaceuticals, of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston signed an agreement to discover and develop drugs for osteoporosis. The agreement will focus on the role of the parathyroid hormone and its receptor in bone metabolism. The medical center will receive compounds from Ferring to test as activators or suppressors of the PTH pathway. The parties will then collaborate in the design and testing of new peptide therapies for the treatment and prevention of bone loss.

• Genencor International Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said it made significant technological progress toward its second-year goal on a U.S. Department of Energy contract supporting an economically viable enzymatic process for converting biomass to ethanol. The contract is managed through DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. As part of the three-year, $17 million program, Genencor is using its integrated technology platforms in an effort to deliver enzyme systems enabling a tenfold improvement in the economics of breaking down biomass and complex carbohydrates into fermentable sugars.

• Oxigene Inc., of Watertown, Mass., signed a funded research agreement with The Foundation Fighting Blindness Inc. in Hunt Valley, Md., that Oxigene said will significantly advance vision-related research of its lead vascular-targeting compound, Combrestatin A4 Prodrug. The agreement is conditioned upon certain regulatory and institutional review board approvals. Pending these approvals, the foundation agreed to fund a physician-sponsored Phase I/II trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of CA4P as a treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration.

• Pieris Proteolab AG, of Freising, Germany, completed a €12 million Series A financing. The round was led by Global Life Science Ventures, co-led by Gilde Investment Management BV, and had Bay Tech Venture Capital, ABN AMRO Capital, BioM Venture Capital and TransConnect also participating. The company focuses on the development and commercialization of Anticalin therapeutics, engineered proteins with antibody-like ligand-binding functions.

• Ribapharm Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said it submitted an investigational new drug application to the FDA to initiate Phase I trials of Hepavir B in hepatitis B patients. Ribapharm licensed Hepavir B from Metabasis Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, in October 2001.

• SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., reported that Zadaxin, in addition to previously observed immunological effects, for the first time has shown direct antiviral effects on cells infected with the hepatitis B virus and human immunodeficiency virus in in vivo cultured cells. Zadaxin is SciClone's lead immune system enhancer and is in multiple Phase II and Phase III trials for viral diseases and certain cancers. The results of the in vitro studies were presented Wednesday at the Therapies for Viral Hepatitis Conference in Boston.

• Serono SA, of Geneva, and Genset SA, of Paris, said the offering period in Serono's U.S. and international cash tender offers for Genset securities expired Thursday. The combined results of the offers will be announced on or about Nov. 8, following the announcement by the French Conseil des Marches Financiers of the final results of the international offer. Serono made the €107.4 million offer to Genset in June. (See BioWorld Today, June 27, 2002.)

• STMicroelectronics NV, of Geneva, unveiled a prototype silicon chip for DNA analysis that integrates both DNA amplification and detection on the same chip. The primary end use targeted by the DNA analysis chip is in medical diagnostics to detect genetically related disease directly at the point of care, the company said.

• Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, presented preclinical and research data from its hemophilia program, which is being developed in collaboration with Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth, at the 54th annual meeting of the National Hemophilia Foundation. Data were presented from a preclinical study using adeno-associated virus vectors to deliver a B-domain-deleted human Factor VIII gene to mice lacking the mouse version of the gene. A decrease in bleeding time was observed in those knockout mice within seven days after treatment with AAV-hFVII. The company said the results suggest that administration of an AAV vector carrying B-domain-deleted human FVIII may correct the underlying genetic defect that causes hemophilia A. Targeted Genetics' stock (NASDAQ:TGEN) gained 18 cents Thursday, or 24 percent, to close at 93 cents.

• The Medicines Co., of Parsippany, N.J., and Oryx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Missassauga, Ontario, signed a marketing and promotion agreement under which Oryx will market Angiomax (bivalirudin) in Canada. Angiomax is a small-molecule, reversible, direct thrombin inhibitor that has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the incidence of death, myocardial infarction and the need for revascularization in patients undergoing balloon angioplasty, as compared to heparin.

• The University of Toronto at Mississauga in Ontario opened its Centre for Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology. The C$7.5 million (US$4.8 million) project includes a 9,200-square-foot facility. The project is part of the university's research plan with a thrust in the areas of biosciences and biotechnology.

• Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the European Commission expanded the summary of product characteristics of Replagal (agalsidase alfa) enzyme replacement therapy for Fabry's disease to support its use in females, which is the first time any country has included females in the label of a product to treat the disease, TKT said. The expansion of the SPC is effective in the 15 countries of the European Union. Data from an open-label safety and efficacy study involving 15 females at the University Hospital in Mainz, Germany, supported the expansion of the SPC. Data from the study indicated that female patients experienced an improvement in cardiac function, including clinically significant reductions in cardiac mass and improvements in cardiac conduction system function.

• University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researchers reported progress in identifying the first susceptibility gene for clinical depression. Research results were published Thursday in the American Journal of Medical Genetics. The results show significant evidence for linkage of unipolar mood disorders to a specific region of chromosome 2q33-35. The findings suggest that a gene in that region contributes to the vulnerability of certain women to developing mood disorders of varying severity. Men with the same genetic background did not have any more chance of developing mood disorders than normal.