AlphaRx Inc., of Richmond Hill, Ontario, secured private placement financing for up to about US$4.6 million through the sale of 3.5 million common shares at 18.5 cents apiece. For each share purchased, the subscriber will receive a total of two warrants to purchase one additional share at 37 cents each until Dec. 31. The second warrant bears a strike price of 75 cents per share until June 30, 2003, through which AlphaRx could raise an additional $3.6 million. Also, AlphaRx withdrew from a proposed March acquisition of a privately held U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturing company, shifting to a new marketing plan to establish strategic partners and alliances for manufacturing, licensing and distribution.
AVI BioPharma Inc., of Portland, Ore., said positive results of a preclinical study measuring its antisense drug Neugene in treating specific manifestations of polycystic kidney disease were published in Kidney International. Study results indicate that the cystic mice treated with the antisense oligomer that inhibits production of the c-myc protein showed significantly reduced enlargement of cysts in the kidneys and an inhibited decline in kidney function.
Bionomics Ltd., of Thebarton, Australia, entered a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Pty. Ltd., a unit of Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., to validate Bionomics' angiogenesis drug targets. The deal also allows J&J to license Bionomics' drug targets for pharmaceutical development and commercialization. Bionomics said it would receive revenues up to $50 million plus royalties if all milestones are met.
CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said an in vitro study presented at the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology meeting in San Diego showed the drug ranolazine appears to suppress one major predictor of arrhythmias and appears not to exacerbate another. Investigators found that ranolazine did not generate afterdepolarizations (EADs) and suppressed the occurrence of EADs generated by another compound. In addition, ranolazine did not exacerbate dispersion, suggesting that ranolazine is unlikely to provoke torsades de pointes.
Cytyc Corp., of Boxborough, Mass., extended its offer to purchase for cash and stock all of the outstanding shares of Digene Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md. The exchange offer, previously scheduled to expire May 9, is now scheduled to expire at midnight May 23, unless further extended. Cytyc can extend the offer period for one or more successive extension periods not in excess of 10 business days each if, at the scheduled expiration date of the offer or any extension thereof, any of the conditions of the offer have not been satisfied or waived. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 20, 2002.)
EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., filed a $50 million shelf registration statement with the SEC, allowing it to offer securities from time to time, in the form of common stock, preferred stock or warrants to purchase securities. EntreMed said it has no immediate plans to issue any securities, but expects the move to aid in taking advantage of market opportunities. The company is developing angiogenesis therapeutics.
Illumina Inc., of San Diego, received a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's Small Business Innovation Research program. The grant is designated for Phase II studies to further develop the company's BeadArray technology for parallel processing of array experiments, which it said is an important capability for high-throughput SNP genotyping, RNA profiling and proteomics applications.
Nutra Pharma Corp., of Seattle, said its major shareholders agreed to retire up to 20 million shares of restricted stock in order to facilitate its acquisition of Bio Therapeutics Inc., of Plantation, Fla. At the end of April, Nutra Pharma entered an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Bio Therapeutics in a cash and stock transaction worth about $50 million. Bio Therapeutics focuses on the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics and drug delivery systems for the treatment of human and companion animal diseases. Nutra Pharma is focused on making pharmaceutical-grade products from botanical extracts. (See BioWorld Today, May 1, 2002.)
ISTA Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., completed the acquisition of certain rights to three late-stage ophthalmology compounds and substantially all of the assets of AcSentient Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C. ISTA paid AcSentient $290,000 in cash and issued 100,000 shares of its common stock, which ISTA will register for resale. ISTA also agreed to issue up to an additional 200,000 shares of common stock over time and upon the achievement of certain milestones. The assets include U.S. product rights to bromfenac, U.S. marketing rights for a new formulation of timolol and worldwide marketing rights for Caprogel (aminocaproic acid). (See BioWorld Today, May 7, 2002.)
Praecis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Waltham, Mass., appointed William Heiden president and chief operating officer. Previously, Heiden was vice president of the oncology and biotech business unit of Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J. Praecis focuses on the discovery and development of pharmaceutical products using its LEAP (Ligand Evolution to Active Pharmaceuticals) technology.
Procyon Biopharma Inc., of Montreal, completed its previously reported public and private offering of about 6.9 million units at C$1.45 each, raising total proceeds from Procyon's public offering and the concurrent private placement of the units to C$10 million (US$6.38 million). Each unit consists of one common share and one-half a common share purchase warrant. Each whole purchase warrant entitles the holder to purchase one additional common share of Procyon at a price of $ 1.75 at any time up to Nov. 10, 2003. Underwriters included Dundee Securities Corp., of Toronto; Research Capital Corp., of Toronto; Yorkton Securities Inc., of Toronto; and Desjardins Securities Inc., of Montreal.