5AM Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif., established a new fund focused on early stage life science companies. The fund closed a $25 million round of financing split between Bay City Capital LLC and Versant Ventures. 5AM said it plans on funding about seven to nine companies at an average of $4 million each.
BD Biosciences Clontech, of San Jose, Calif., licensed its reef coral fluorescent proteins as fluorescent markers to improve cell-based screening technologies for drug discovery to Evotec OAI, of Hamburg, Germany. Evotec will integrate BD Biosciences' proteins into its miniaturized high-throughput screening platform, EVOscreen technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.
BioStratum Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., signed an agreement granting Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., an option to obtain a worldwide license under BioStratum's patent rights pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of Alport syndrome. Terms of the option agreement were not disclosed. Under a separate agreement, Genzyme will fund ongoing research under the direction of Karl Tryggvason, a founder of BioStratum and professor of matrix biology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Tryggvason is studying a potential treatment of Alport syndrome using a gene perfusion technology.
Cortech Inc., of Bedminster, N.J., said it received a Nasdaq staff determination on Sept. 24 indicating that it fails to comply with the minimum market value of publicly held shares needed for continued listing and that its securities are subject to delisting from the Nasdaq National Market. Cortech has applied to transfer its securities to the Nasdaq SmallCap Market. The initiation of the delisting proceedings will by stayed pending the review of Cortech's transfer application.
Dendreon Corp., of Seattle, said its board approved a stockholders rights plan under which all common stockholders of record as of Oct. 2 would receive rights to purchase shares of a new series of preferred stock. The plan is intended to guard against abusive takeover tactics, but it was not approved in response to any specific attempt, the company said.
Direct Therapeutics Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., concluded patient enrollment and treatment for its multicenter Phase I/II study of DTI-015, a new chemotherapeutic drug designed for direct injection to brain tumors. DTI-015 contains the active ingredient carmustine dissolved in an ethanol solvent vehicle.
Dyax Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., presented interim data from a European Phase II study of DX-88, designed to treat patients with acute hereditary angioedema, at the XIX International Complement Workshop in Palermo, Italy. All five patients enrolled in the trial responded favorably and tolerated DX-88 well, except one patient who had a history of allergies and suffered an allergic response that was cleared up with standard medicine.
Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it received $975,000 through the issuance of 1.5 million special warrants at 65 cents per warrant through Dominick & Dominick Securities Inc., of Toronto. Each warrant will automatically convert into one common share, subject to adjustment, on the earlier of Jan. 24 or three business days following the issuance of receipts from the British Columbia and Ontario securities commissions for a prospectus qualifying the distribution of the common shares. If such receipts are not issued by Dec. 8, each special warrant will convert into 1.05 common shares. Forbes Medi-Tech issued broker's warrants to Dominick & Dominick entitling them to purchase 150,000 common shares at 65 cents per share until March 24, 2004.
Genaera Corp., of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., said the Nasdaq Stock Market notified Genaera that its stock has closed below $1 for more than 30 consecutive days. The company has 90 days to regain compliance with the minimum bid price. Genaera focuses on developing medicines from genomics and natural products.
GeneData AG, of Basel, Switzerland, said it launched version 4.0 of the GeneData Expressionist Suite, its software system for life science professionals involved in large-scale microarray processing.
Genopsys Inc., of Santa Cruz, Calif., reported the availability of patented molecular randomization technology on a royalty-free basis in cancer through the company's Project Against Cancer (PAC) program. Therapeutic and diagnostic products for use in oncology developed by companies or institutions with a PAC license will not be subject to royalties on sales of the products. The technologies covered are DISMAP technology, which is designed to allow for the random deletion, insertion or substitution of mono- or polynucleotides for the generation of optimized macromolecules; and RTRMAP technology, which is designed to permit the truncation of randomly sized fragments of DNA from ends of the gene to eliminate deleterious characteristics or functions.
Incara Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said it was informed that its common stock does not meet the requirements for continued listing on the Nasdaq National Market and will begin trading on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board under its current symbol, INCR. Incara is focused on disease therapies based on tissue protection, repair and regeneration.
InSite Vision Inc., of Alameda, Calif., said its antibiotic ISV-401 demonstrated safety and efficacy in treating acute bacterial conjunctivitis in a Phase II study. The study shows the product elicited both clinical resolution and bacterial eradication over both Gram-positive and Gram-negative strains of acute bacterial conjunctivitis. The company said it plans to begin a Phase III trial of the drug early in 2003.
MichBio, Michigan's biosciences industry association, said it launched an effort to attract top-notch talent to grow the state's biotech industry. Using a $1.6 million grant provided by the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, MichBio plans to help develop the work force needed to boost Michigan's biotech industry into a top five ranking in life science employment, it said. MichBio also plans to retain university graduates through undergraduate internships and enhanced Internet job postings.
Nanospectra BioSciences Inc., of Houston, entered an option agreement with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for the right to license technology developed through its ongoing collaborations. M.D. Anderson received a minority equity interest in Nanospectra, which gained a preferential right to license technology used in conjunction with its Nanoshell technology. Developed at Rice University in Houston, Nanoshells are submicron-sized particles designed to absorb or scatter desired wavelengths of light.
Neurochem Inc., of Saint-Laurent, Quebec, filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA for Cerebril, the company's candidate for the treatment of hemorrhagic stroke due to cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). The IND submission precedes the initiation of a Phase II trial in the U.S. Cerebril is a small organic molecule that has been designed to modify the course of hemorrhagic stroke due to CAA by interfering with the association between glycosaminoglycans and AB amyloid protein in the blood vessels of the brains of CAA patients.
New Drug Associates Inc., of Framingham, Mass., changed its name to Phaedrus Pharmaceuticals Inc. The company said the name change was made to more accurately reflect the company's mission. Phaedrus was a character in writings by Plato. Phaedrus Pharmaceuticals specializes in identifying and moving promising early stage technologies through the development process using an integrated development paradigm called Essential Product Development.
Nymox Pharmaceutical Corp., of Maywood, N.J., said one of its leading Alzheimer's disease drug candidates showed progress in preclinical studies. Nymox has made formal plans to target the drug NXD-9062 for human trials. Nymox specializes in the research and development of therapeutics and diagnostics for the aging population.
Organogenesis Inc., of Canton, Mass., said it filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts. Organogenesis will continue scaled-down business operations during the reorganization in order to preserve the live cell lines used to produce the company's living skin substitute product, Apligraf, and to maintain its manufacturing facility in compliance with FDA regulations. Under protection of Chapter 11, the company will seek to implement transactions that will return the product to marketplace. The company has acknowledged its financial trouble and reduced its work force while severing its distribution ties to Novartis Pharma AG for Apligraf. (See BioWorld Today, April 18, 2002.)
PanaMed Corp., of Indianapolis, said it completed "stage one" of the first human treatment program for its immunomodulating therapeutic to treat HIV patients. The company said patients appeared to tolerate dosages of the product and it plans to move into "stage two." Further details were not disclosed.
Pharmacyclics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., said final results of a Phase I trial of phototherapy with Antrin (motexafin lutetium) injection indicated the treatment is feasible and well tolerated in patients with coronary artery disease. The results of the trial were presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference in Washington. The study enrolled 80 patients at seven medical centers in the U.S.
PharmQuest Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., said it executed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the FDA to develop a toxicology and carcinogenicity data management system. PharmQuest will collaborate with the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to develop a database for animal data equipped with electronic submissions and software tools to assist reviewers in the evaluation of data. Financial data on the two-year agreement were not disclosed.
ProSanos Corp., of La Jolla, Calif., and the Windber Research Institute in Windber, Pa., formed a partnership to apply ProSanos' knowledge in data integration and analysis to information derived from the institute's array of biological samples. The companies initially will focus on heart disease. Financial details were not disclosed.
SciTegic Inc., of San Diego, said Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., is a customer of SciTegic's Pipeline Product for drug discovery research informatics. Millennium is using the product in cheminformatics research, SciTegic said. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Tanabe AAI LLC, a joint venture between aaiPharma Inc., of Wilmington, N.C., and Tanabe Holding America Inc., of Hackensack, N.J., signed a development agreement with aaiPharma and a product licensing agreement with Tanabe Seiyaku Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan. Tanabe will provide compounds from its R&D discovery pipeline to the joint venture, with a focus on U.S. development. In return, aaiPharma will apply its product development knowledge to move the compounds through the development process. Three candidates were named the first to enter development at the joint venture - ecabet, a gastric mucosal protectant; a candidate to treat intermittent claudication; and a candidate to treat acute pancreatitis.
Theratechnologies Inc., of Montreal, said it would expand its peptide portfolio in endocrinology with the addition of GLP-1 analogues for the treatment of diabetes. The analogues, one of which will be selected for development in 2003, emerged from internal discovery research at Theratechnologies, the company said. Concurrently, the company entered a partnership agreement with ALZA Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., to develop a transdermal formulation of the peptide using its Macroflux technology. Under the agreement, Theratechnologies holds full marketing rights to the transdermal product.
Triangle Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., filed with the SEC to periodically sell up to $80 million in common and preferred stock. The company said it plans to use any proceeds to fund development programs, for sales and marketing efforts and general corporate purposes. Triangle filed a new drug application for Coviracil, a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor designed to treat HIV, in early September. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 6, 2002.)
Trinity Biosystems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., closed its first round of venture funding of $1.5 million. The funding represents the first tranche of an approximate $4.5 million Series A round. Sanderling Ventures and Tenex Greenhouse Ventures provided the financing. Trinity is developing a platform technology for the delivery of peptides across intact mucosal surfaces.
Vasogen Inc., of Toronto, presented data from its double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of its immune modulation therapy in chronic heart failure at the scientific meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America in Boca Raton, Fla. The results demonstrated a reduction in the risk of death and hospitalization, improvements in a clinical composite score and improvements in electrocardiogram measures among advanced chronic heart failure patients receiving Vasogen's immune modulation therapy. The trial enrolled 73 patients.