Inspire Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., achieved a milestone under its agreement with Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif., for INS365 ophthalmic for dry eye, triggering a payment by Allergan. The payment is for the completion of the first Phase III study and submission of data. The amount of the payment was not disclosed. Inspire and Allergan entered into the partnership in June for Inspire’s INS365 ophthalmic and Allergan’s Restastis, both for the treatment of dry eye. (See BioWorld Today, June 28, 2001.)

Oncolytics Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, and Synsorb Biotech Inc., of Calgary, received approval from the Alberta Securities Commission to have the previously issued 4.7 shares of Oncolytics held in escrow by Synsorb released without any trading restrictions provided that at least 4 million of the shares are distributed to Synsorb shareholders. The remaining shares will be released to Synsorb for its account without any trading restrictions.

Xcyte Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, initiated a Phase I/II trial evaluating the use of its Xcellerated T cells in patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer. Patients with the disease have limited treatment alternatives and poor prognosis, the company said. Xcyte is developing a therapeutic approach to stimulate the patient’s own immune system by activating and growing T cells to fight cancer and infectious diseases, such as HIV.

Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the SEC declared effective the registration statement on the Form S-3 registering the resale of its 4.5 percent convertible senior notes due June 15, 2006, and the shares of its common stock issuable upon their conversion. Millennium assumed these notes as a result of its merger with COR Therapeutics Inc. and initially filed the Form S-3 following the closing of the merger. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 7, 2001.)

RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Bethesda, Md., appointed J.J. Finkelstein president and CEO. Finkelstein also joined the board. He was one of the founders of the company, having helped finance it during its start-up in 1992. He was appointed president and CEO in 1984 and remained in that position through 1989, during which time he was responsible for several rounds of financing, including the company’s initial public offering.

Icagen Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., signed a research and development agreement with Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., to discover and develop small-molecule drugs for a specific ion channel target for the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain. The companies will collaborate exclusively on the Icagen molecular target, as well as new compounds discovered by the collaboration, into preclinical and clinical development. Icagen formed the original collaboration in 1997 to focus on central nervous system and urological drugs. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 9, 1997.)

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., elected Gary Frashier as chairman of Merrimack’s board. Before Merrimack, Frashier served as CEO and chairman of the board at OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Melville, N.Y. Prior to joining OSI, Frashier was CEO of Genex Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md.