Accelrys Inc., of San Diego, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., reported a unified global licensing agreement with AstraZeneca plc, of London. AstraZeneca scientists at 10 research sites worldwide can now collaborate using Accelrys’ simulation software for life science research. Researchers at these sites can access any of Accelrys’ current libraries of modeling and simulation software for pharmaceutical discovery and development applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.
American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., said it is changing its name to Wyeth to better match its current focus, highlight its key division and try to build name recognition. Starting in March, the 47,000-worker company will be known simply as Wyeth, for its biggest division, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. The company’s New York Stock Exchange symbol will switch from AHP to WYE.
Argenta Discovery Ltd., of Harlow, UK, entered into a collaboration with H. Lundbeck A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, involving lead compounds within one of Lundbeck’s central nervous system programs. Full financial details were not disclosed, but the agreement involves potential downstream revenues and payments. Argenta’s scientists will work closely with Lundbeck to generate a series of compounds as candidates for progression into Lundbeck’s development pipeline.
BioImage A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, signed a collaborative agreement with Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, to identify small molecules that address selected proprietary drug targets from Lexicon’s pipeline of in vivo validated targets. Lexicon will provide validated drug targets, as well as compound libraries and medicinal chemistry expertise. BioImage will build high-throughput, cell-based Redistribution assays against these targets and screen to identify compounds with a novel mode of action. The number of targets and the financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
BioVisioN AG, of Hanover, Germany, secured second-round financing of EUR15 million (US$12.9 million). Heidelberg Innovation, of Heidelberg, Germany, was lead investor, with other participants including Nextech Venture, of Zurich; IVEC; and MPC Group, as well as first-time investors Venture Vision, IMH and BioMed Venture. BioVisioN operates in the field of proteomics.
Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., closed on the second $800,000 pursuant to a $1.6 million financing reported Jan. 4, bringing the total amount of financing raised during the past six months to nearly $4 million. Investors were not disclosed. Cel-Sci’s leading product is an immunotherapeutic, Multikine, which has been tested in 160 cancer patients for cancers caused by the human papillomavirus.
EluSys Therapeutics Inc., of Pine Brook, N.J., started human studies of its heteropolymer system, which marks the first time the technology will be evaluated in humans. The trial will evaluate the safety of a lupus heteropolymer, ETI-104, in normal, healthy human volunteers. Investigators will enroll the volunteers in a randomized trial that compares two doses of the HP drug to placebo.
Formatech Inc., of Andover, Mass., formed a strategic alliance with Profile Therapeutics plc, of the UK, to address the pharmaceutical and biotech industry needs in aerosol delivery and the formulation of aerosol products. The companies will offer pharmaceutical and biotech clients access to each other’s products and services in aerosol delivery system development, formulation, product development and CGMP aseptic manufacturing. Formatech focuses on cell culture and purification development, preformulation, dosage form development and clinical material supply. Profile’s drug delivery division has experience in working with companies requiring aerosol delivery technology.
Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, expanded the number of clinical trial sites and the number of physicians participating as principal investigators for its clinical trials designated 516, 719 and 720, involving the application of its experimental drug Ampligen to the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Interface Biologics Inc., of Toronto, a newly formed biotech company, said it secured C$1 million (US$625,212) in funding from the Discovery District Biotech Fund. Interface Biologics was created as a spin-off company of The University of Toronto Innovations Foundation and MMO.
Investec PMG, of New York, expanded its investment banking health care practice with the hiring of a life sciences team from Tucker Anthony Sutro Capital Markets, headed by Roger Kahn. The team will focus on biotechnology, specialty pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the emerging-growth, middle-market sector. Investec PMG is the U.S. investment-banking arm of the Investec Group, an international banking group that provides products and services to clients in 15 countries.
Mologen Inc., of Berlin, and Schering AG, also of Berlin, signed a contract to develop cell-based therapies, including treatments of cancer, with Mologen’s MIDGE technology. MIDGE provides Schering with a DNA vector system that may transfer into the cells of patients to deliver gene information, such as for the treatment of cancers or the regeneration of tissues. A third party in the project is SynerGene Therapeutics Inc., of Washington, which also develops solutions for targeted delivery of therapeutics. Terms were not disclosed.
Neurogenetics Inc., of San Diego, reported a research initiative with the University of California at Irvine, funded in part by a BioStar (Biotechnology Strategic Targets for Alliances in Research) award. The joint funding will support research aimed at characterizing a novel target recently linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Neurogenetics also began an independent drug discovery program to understand the mechanism by which certain ion channels modulate the levels of neurotoxic A-beta peptides, which should be helpful in discovering better drugs to treat AD.
Olympus Optical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, reported the successful development of a functional DNA computer for gene analysis. By taking advantage of the computational abilities of DNA which derive from the highly specific, base sequence-dependent chemical reactions between different strands the computer achieves the practical combination of huge computing power and massively parallel processing, Olympus said. After the development prototype has undergone performance testing for gene expression profiling, scheduled to start at the end of this month and continue for most of the remainder of the year, the company plans to begin offering full-scale analytical services.
Switch Biotech AG, of Munich, Germany, increased its third round of financing by US$3.1 million, bringing the total amount raised in this round to US$18.4 million. Three funds represented by Medical Strategy GmbH investing in the company include DG LUX Lacuna Apo Biotech, Medical BioHe@lth-Trends and Pharma/wHealth. Another new investor is Future Capital AG. Switch performs genetic research to identify target molecules in wound healing and skin diseases.
Synt:em, of Nimes, France, signed a research agreement with Baxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill., to develop mimetics of the binding regions of selected proprietary monoclonal antibodies. Synt:em will use its Para:mim technology to design the mimetics, which consist of small peptides exhibiting binding and activity similar to that of Baxter’s monoclonal antibodies. Terms were not disclosed.
U.S. Genomics Inc., of Woburn, Mass., and The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK entered a collaboration to examine the use of U.S. Genomics’ direct, linear DNA analysis technology in research on the human genome. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and U.S. Genomics will jointly employ their expertise to conduct genetic research using the GeneEngine technology and other aspects of U.S. Genomics’ technology platform. The research collaboration will explore the application of U.S. Genomics’ technology to human genetic analysis at the highest level of detail and complexity. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Visible Genetics Inc., of Toronto, said a registration statement filed Jan. 16 was declared effective by the SEC, relating to a $22 million private placement last month. The same day, the company filed a second selling shareholders registration statement with the SEC covering a total of 542,420 additional common shares, including 73,338 additional common shares which will become issuable upon future conversion of outstanding Series A convertible preferred shares and 5,322 additional common shares which will become issuable upon exercise of certain outstanding warrants. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 27, 2001.)