¿ AVAX Technologies Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., said its joint venture in Australia, AVAX Australia Pty. Ltd., agreed with Australian Vaccine Technologies, its joint venture partner, to buy back 90 percent of AVT¿s interest. After the transaction, AVAX, through a wholly owned subsidiary, will maintain a 95 percent interest in the joint venture with AVT holding 5 percent. Terms of the deal include that AVAX Australia will pay AVT about A$1.8 million (US$818,000), which represents about one half of the joint venture, net cash on hand on the closing date of the transaction. The transaction is subject to AVT shareholder approval, expected on or about Jan. 18.
¿ Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its 2001 revenues will exceed $1 billion. It is the first time Biogen has reached this level of sales and royalty revenues, the company said.
¿ Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., filed a universal shelf registration on Form S-3 with the SEC that will allow Celgene to offer and sell common stock, debt securities and convertible debt securities, separately or together, up to a total value of $500 million. The company also said Thalomid (thalidomide) was granted orphan medicinal product designation by the European Medicines Evaluation Agency of the European Commission for the treatment of multiple myeloma and erythema nodosum leprosum, an inflammatory condition of leprosy, giving the company 10 years of market exclusivity in the European Union.
¿ Cepheid Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., filed a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 with the SEC that will permit the company, from time to time, to offer and sell up to $35 million of its common stock, preferred stock, debt securities and warrants. The company filed the registration statement to gain additional flexibility in accessing capital markets for general corporate purposes. Cepheid develops miniaturized, fully integrated instrument systems for rapid, on-site detection of DNA.
¿ Diversa Corp., of San Diego, entered a collaboration to evaluate selected biocatalysts and biological processes with BASF, of Ludwigshafen, Germany. Biocatalysts developed by Diversa will be integrated with BASF¿s proprietary processes for development and commercial evaluation. Any commercialized products will generate license revenues and royalties for Diversa. Further financial details were not disclosed.
¿ DOR BioPharma Inc., of Chicago, presented data on the oral delivery of the peptide leutinizing-hormone releasing hormone (LHRH), at the 6th U.S.-Japan Symposium on drug delivery technology in Maui, Hawaii. Results from rat studies showed an intra-duodenal bioavailability of LHRH of 8 percent to 10 percent was consistently achieved with the DOR¿s LPM system. The company said it plans to initiate a clinical program with leuprolide shortly.
¿ Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., expanded its business relationship with Pfizer Inc., of New York, focused on Pfizer¿s adoption of additional GeneExpress Suite information products and services for use in drug development initiatives. Specifically, Pfizer has licensed Genesis the GeneExpress Enterprise System, Gene Logic¿s software and professional services for enterprise-wide data integration initiatives. Also, the companies entered into a predictive toxicology program agreement to generate a database related to the safety profile of compounds selected by Pfizer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
¿ GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc., of Irvine, Calif., and its subsidiary, GenSci OrthoBiologics Inc., filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, Calif. GenSci Regeneration, through its subsidiaries, develops approaches to bone repair and regeneration.
¿ GlycoGenesys Inc., of Boston, raised $5.3 million in net proceeds from institutional and accredited investors. The company issued about 4.2 million shares based on the trailing closing average price of its common stock, and warrants to purchase 168,231 shares at 1 cent per share and warrants to purchase 2.1 million shares at an average weighted price per share of $1.86, exercisable for five years. The company intends to use the proceeds, in part, to further advance development of GBC-590, being developed in the oncology field with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland. GlycoGenesys develops and licenses pharmaceutical and agricultural products.
¿ Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., and Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., said they reached a comprehensive settlement of all existing infringement litigation between the companies. The first lawsuit involved several of Affymetrix¿s microarray-related patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 5,445,934; 5,744305; 5,800,992; 5,871,928; and 6,040,193). The second lawsuit involved Incyte¿s RNA amplification patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 5,716,785 and 5,891,636). The companies have agreed to cross-licenses under their respective intellectual property portfolios. Financial terms were not disclosed. Affymetrix and Incyte also are investigating possible future commercial agreements between the companies.
¿ Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Richmond, British Columbia, said that existing shareholders exercised all outstanding warrants, resulting in the issuance of 795,736 common shares. The first 623,780 common shares were issued for cash proceeds of approximately C$711,000 (US$449,000). The remaining 171,956 shares were issued in exchange for 389,684 warrants that were exercised in accordance with a cashless exercise provision. Inflazyme focuses on developing therapies to treat chronic inflammatory diseases.
¿ Ligand Pharmaceutical Inc., of San Diego, said that 47 percent of patients with severe psoriasis who were treated with a low-dose regimen of Ontak (denileukin diftitox) had a clinically meaningful response and fewer, less severe side effects than patients in previous Ontak studies. The Phase II trial results were published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. In the study, 35 patients with severe psoriasis who had been treated aggressively with multiple prior therapies received one of three doses of Ontak for three consecutive days, every other week, for eight weeks.
¿ NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., set the price range for its initial public offering at $12 to $14 and its number of shares to 6.2 million. In that range, the offering would raise between $74.4 million and $86.8 million. The company filed for its IPO on Nov. 16, estimating in its prospectus a top value for the offering of $115 million. NeoGenesis discovers small-molecule drugs on a proteome- and genome-wide scale. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 20, 2001.)
¿ NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., entered into an agreement with Akorn Inc., of Buffalo Grove, Ill., to provide NeoPharm with the capacity to manufacture over 2 million vials of cGMP material annually, beginning in 2003. NeoPharm will loan $3.25 million to complete Akorn¿s lyophilization facility in Decatur, Ill. The loan is due and payable on Dec. 6, 2006. In return for the loan, NeoPharm has the option to secure at least 15 percent of the manufacturing capacity for up to 15 years. NeoPharm also gets preferred pricing on all NeoPharm products manufactured by Akorn.
¿ Neose Technologies Inc., of Horsham, Pa., entered a research, development and license agreement ¿ potentially valued at $17 million, if all milestones are met ¿ with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, the pharmaceutical division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., for the use of Neose¿s GlycoAdvance technology to develop an improved production system for Wyeth¿s product, P-selectin glycoprotein ligand (rPSGL-Ig). Neose will develop processes for the commercial-scale manufacture of enzymes and sugar nucleotides to be used in the production of rPSGL-Ig and will license GlycoAdvance to Wyeth for commercial production of the drug. Neose will receive ongoing payments tied to yield improvements achieved using GlycoAdvance in the production of rPSGL-Ig. Also, Wyeth has the option to use GlycoAdvance to develop a next-generation rPSGL-Ig, in which case Neose would receive royalties on sales. rPSGL-Ig is in Phase II trials with patients being treated for heart attack. Wyeth is evaluating GlycoAdvance in the production of rPSGL-Ig for Phase III trials and commercial launch.
¿ Performance Plants Inc., of Kingston, Ontario., completed $2.7 million in additional financing to support its plant biotechnology program to develop genetically enhanced crop plants. Supporting partners include VentureLink Fund, Dynex Capital Ltd. Partnership, Saskatchewan Opportunities and Queen¿s University¿s Parteq Innovations. Performance was founded in collaboration with Parteq and is focused on modifying plant metabolism for crop protection.
¿ Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said a stockholders meeting will take place on Jan. 18, when shareholders will be asked to approve the proposed merger of Pharmacopeia and Eos Biotechnology Inc., of South San Francisco. The companies announced their intended $197 million merger in August. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 23, 2001.)
¿ Sepracor Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., said the initial purchaser exercised in full the $100 million overallotment option granted in connection with the issuance and sale in a November private placement of 5.75 percent convertible subordinated notes with auto-conversion provision due 2006. The sale of notes pursuant to exercise of the overallotment option is expected to close on or about Dec. 27.