Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said it intends, subject to market and other conditions, to sell about $200 million principal amount of its convertible subordinated notes due 2007, through a private placement. Abgenix expects the terms of the offering to include an overallotment option for up to $50 million principal amount of notes. Abgenix intends to use proceeds of the offering for research and development, capital expenditures, working capital and other corporate purposes, which may include the acquisition of other businesses, products, product rights or technologies.
AM-Pharma BV, of Bilthoven, the Netherlands, closed its second round of financing, led by ABN AMRO Capital and including existing investor BioPartner Start-up Ventures and other private investors. The company plans to use the proceeds to expand its operations as well as move its lead compounds into preclinical development.
AnorMED Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said clinical data presented at the ninth Conference on Retroviral and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle are the first clinical proof of principle of CXCR4, a chemokine receptor, as a new target in the treatment of HIV. Results demonstrate that AnorMED’s first CXCR4 inhibitor, AMD-3100, completely eliminated a specific strain of HIV in nine of 19 patients and that the activity is dose-dependent. The data were generated from a retrospective analysis of AnorMED’s HIV Phase Ib/IIa trial of AMD-3100.
Applied Biosystems Group, of Foster City, Calif., and Amersham plc, of London, reached a court-mediated settlement to end patent litigation between the companies. The settlement, reached in the Northern District of California, includes a cross-licensing agreement covering all patents involved in the litigation, and a co-development arrangement for the joint development, supply and commercialization of certain new DNA analysis technologies. Both companies’ current product offerings will continue to be available. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Arthur D. Little, of Cambridge, Mass., a consulting firm, merged its inhalation drug delivery technology, Aspirair, into the European drug delivery company Vectura Ltd., of Bath, UK. In return, Cambridge Consultants Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, ADL’s European technology arm, will acquire a stake in Vectura and hold a seat on the company’s board in a deal worth approximately $5 million.
Collateral Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, reported publication of results of a Phase I/II trial of Generx (Ad5-FGF4) in the online edition of Circulation, in advance of the March 19 issue of the journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers reported on the Angiogenic Gene Therapy (AGENT) trial, which evaluated the safety and anti-ischemic effects of double-blind, one-time intracoronary infusion of ascending doses of Ad5-FGF4 gene transfer or placebo in 79 patients with CCS class 2 or 3 stable angina. Ad5-FGF4 appeared safe and well tolerated with no immediate adverse effects, or adverse effects 311 days later.
Compugen Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, released Z4000, a fully automated system for designing, analyzing and controlling large-scale experiments of proteins as they appear on 2-D gels. The product was unveiled at the Genome Tri-Conference in Santa Clara, Calif.
EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., named the University of California at San Francisco as a second location for a Phase II trial of Endostatin for neuroendocrine tumors. UCSF began enrolling patients, who will self-administer Endostatin at home using pre-filled syringes. The trial is designed to determine the rate of tumor response or stable disease when patients with locally advanced or metastatic neuroendocrine tumors are treated with twice-daily subcutaneous injections of Endostatin.
Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, filed a shelf registration statement with the SEC to sell up to 3 million common shares and warrants from time to time. The company said it intends to use the net proceeds, up to $26.13 million, from the offering for research and development and for general corporate purposes.
The Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., presented data at the ninth Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, suggesting that its envelope-depleted, killed HIV-1 virus induces potent immune responses in mice that are capable of protection against intravaginal virus challenge. Female mice immunized intranasally with the company’s HIV-1 antigen plus CpG ODN immune stimulant had enhanced levels of anti-p24 IgA antibodies in serum and vaginal washes. The intranasal immunization provided protection, a 93 percent reduction in virus titer compared to non-immunized animals, against intravaginal challenge with recombinant vaccinia virus expressing HIV-1 gag.
Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, installed a NanoChip molecular biology workstation at ARUP Laboratories, of Salt Lake City, a full-service reference laboratory owned by the University of Utah, to develop novel gene-based assays. Nanogen provided the workstation in exchange for certain commercialization rights to assays developed by ARUP under the collaboration. The collaboration may eventually lead to the development of molecular diagnostic test protocols to be performed on the NanoChip cartridge and the NanoChip molecular biology workstation.
Novirio Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Montpellier, France, said the Institut Pasteur in Paris, set up a program to evaluate Novirio’s library of compounds for antiviral activity against several hemorrhagic fever viruses (HFV) including ebola, marburg and lassa. Novirio has selected multiple antiviral drug candidates from its library of compounds for application against the hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and HIV/AIDS. Among these programs, Novirio has advanced two drug candidates for the treatment of HBV into Phase II testing.
Open Channel Software Inc., of Chicago, and researchers from Wayne State University in Detroit released Onto-Express, a software program that automatically correlates gene expression profiles with key biological functions. The bioinformatics tool was designed to reduce the amount of time required to interpret the biology of genetic profiles. The product was unveiled at the Genome Tri-Conference in Santa Clara, Calif.
Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., selected a humanized form of its PRO 140 antibody for clinical testing as a new HIV therapy. PRO 140 blocks CCR5, a receptor on the cell surface that HIV uses to enter and infect cells. Humanization of the PRO 140 monoclonal antibody was accomplished under a collaborative agreement with Protein Design Labs Inc., of Fremont, Calif. Progenics also identified small-molecule CCR5 inhibitors with novel antiviral properties, which were identified in collaboration with the Roche Group, of Basel, Switzerland, using Progenics’ approach to identifying CCR5 inhibitors. Both findings were presented at the ninth Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.
The HIV Vaccine Trials Network, of Seattle, and its collaborators including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of Bethesda, Md.; Aventis Pasteur, of Lyon, France; and VaxGen Inc., of Brisbane, Calif. reviewed data from HVTN 203, a trial to test a prime-boost strategy combining Aventis’ AlVac-HIV (vCP1452) and VaxGen’s AidsVax B/B. The group decided not to pursue HVTN 501, a planned Phase III trial to test how participants’ immune responses would correlate to protection from HIV-1 infection. The AlVac and AidsVax vaccines met the safety requirements required to move forward, the network said, but data indicate that the AlVac product did not induce a sufficient CD8 T-cell immune response. HVTN 203 was designed to determine what levels of CD8+ T-cell response could be achieved in participants and if the frequency of such responses was high enough for a Phase III trial. HVTN 203 also sought to identify what dose and schedule of the two vaccines, alone and in combination, would best achieve these levels. The network is conducting other trials of the combination in the U.S. and abroad. The National Institutes of Health said it still supports the plans to conduct a Thai combination trial of AlVac-HIV (vCP1521) and AidsVax B/E, which both incorporate envelope antigens from the predominant circulating HIV in Thailand. VaxGen’s independent Phase III trials in the U.S. and Thailand are ongoing. (See BioWorld Today, April 16, 2001.)
Zyomyx Inc., of Hayward, Calif., entered an agreement with Specialty Laboratories Inc., of Santa Monica, Calif., granting Specialty early access to Zyomyx’s Protein Profiling Biochip platform. Zyomyx will collaborate with Specialty on a diagnostic marker discovery program.
Triad Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, said its technique for using NMR in structure-based drug discovery, a process referred to as NMR Solve, was published in the February issue of The Journal of Biomolecular NMR. The paper describes using NMR to characterize the interaction of small molecules with binding sites on large proteins in the absence of a 3-dimensional structure of the target protein.