¿ Anthrogenesis Corp., of Cedar Knolls, N.J., acquired Atlantic Stem Cells Inc., of New York. Anthrogenesis will form a new Cell Culture Division, which will integrate Atlantic¿s current operations with its existing business in living cell cultures, cell culture media and cell culture media supplements. The division will supply purified human cells and media systems to commercial and academic researchers. The division uses cells derived from the hematopoietic system that are non-embryonic and are for research purposes only. Atlantic Chief Operating Officer Barnett Feingold will assume a senior operating role at Anthrogenesis, and Atlantic employees will become Anthrogenesis employees.
¿ Axonyx Inc., of New York, raised gross proceeds of $6.4 million through the sale of its common stock at $3.26 per share to a group of accredited investors. Buyers also received two-year warrants to purchase an additional 985,000 shares at $3.91 per share. At its discretion, Axonyx can call these warrants if its common stock trades at or above $11.73 for 20 consecutive trading days. Axonyx plans to use the net proceeds to support strategic business objective that include completing pre-Phase III activities for Phenserine, its lead product to treat Alzheimer¿s disease. Resources also will go to support licensing initiatives involving the marketing and sales rights to Phenserine, as well as advancing at least one of its potential memory-enhancing compounds toward investigational new drug status.
¿ Bavarian Nordic A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, was appointed by the Greek government to supply smallpox vaccines in collaboration with the P.N. Gerolymatos SA, of Athens, Greece. Nordic will supply an undisclosed number of doses of MVA-BN (modified vaccinia akara ¿ Bavarian Nordic), which can be given to immune-compromised individuals.
¿ Biora AB, of Malmo, Sweden, licensed to Molnlycke Health Care AB worldwide rights, excluding Japan, to its development project in wound healing for chronic skin ulcers. The project belongs to Biora¿s subsidiary, BioEx. Biora will receive a lump sum of SEK10 million (US$953,781), as well as the right to milestone payments. Upon successful product registration in Europe and the United States, the total payments would be SEK45 million. Biora also would receive royalty payments.
¿ Biota Holdings Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said its head of virology has made the first public presentation of scientific data on Flunet, Biota¿s next-generation antiviral for influenza management, at the International Symposium on Respiratory Viral Infections in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. The data showed for the first time the higher potency exhibited by Biota¿s Flunet compounds and their potential for a much more convenient dosing regimen in comparison to all existing neuraminidase inhibitors, Biota said. In animal models, Flunet was shown to be 100 times more potent than Relenza.
¿ Chemeq Ltd., of Bentley, Australia, said that additional favorable test results of its drug, Chemeq (RTM) polymeric antimicrobial, moved it closer to approval by the FDA. The FDA already has proposed fast-track approval of the drug. The drug is an alternative to the use of human antibiotics in animals, and in piglets showed no adverse effects from either 10 times the recommended dose of polymeric antimicrobial for the dose period, or five times the recommended dose for four times the dose period. After presenting the agency with safety and efficacy data related to the drug earlier this year, the FDA required Chemeq to supply additional data related to accidental overdose, either by too high a concentration of the antimicrobial or by using it for too long a period.
¿ Conforma Therapeutics Corp., of San Diego, entered into an exclusive licensing agreement and research collaboration with Duke University Medical Center, which consolidates Conforma¿s position in the field of heat shock protein-90-directed drugs. Conforma obtained an exclusive license to screening technology, X-ray crystal structure information and a proprietary target for drug discovery. Also, Conforma initiated a research collaboration with a Duke associate professor that gives Conforma a five-year exclusive option to license all inventions that result from the research.
¿ Cureon A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Oxagen Ltd., of London, initiated a collaboration under which Cureon will validate a specified number of gene targets for Oxagen. Cureon will perform the work with its SmART-Validation target validation service based on locked nucleic acid technology. Oxagen obtained the right to exploit LNA within drug development directed against the validated targets. Terms were not disclosed.
¿ CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said underwriters exercised in full their overallotment option on 375,000 shares, bringing the public offering to 2.875 million shares at $52.50 each for total proceeds of about $151 million. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 5, 2001.)
¿ Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA to begin a Phase II trial of milnacipran, its candidate for fibromyalgia syndrome. Pending FDA review, the company will begin the study in the first half of 2002. In August, Cypress licensed the North American rights to develop and market milnacipran for FMS and related chronic pain syndrome from Pierre Fabre Medicament, the pharmaceutical division of bioMirieux Pierre Fabre, of Paris. The agreement gave Cypress an option to expand the terms to other indications.
¿ Cytos Biotechnology AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, entered an agreement with Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., for two deorphaning projects in biotherapeutics to search for new disease-relevant targets and drug candidates. Millennium will acquire the rights to screen for small-molecule compounds or other drug entities directed against the targets discovered. The exercise of its licenses also would entitle Millennium to develop and commercialize protein therapeutics resulting from the collaboration. Cytos will receive up-front payment and research milestones. If Millennium pursues exclusive commercialization of therapeutics, Cytos will receive pre-commercialization milestones and license fees, as well as royalties.
¿ Entelos Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., will integrate its PhysioLab disease stimulation platform with the distributed computing software, Platform LSF and Platform LSF ActiveCluster, of Toronto-based Platform Computing Inc. This will allow Entelos to harness underutilized computer power across the enterprise, enabling its scientists to run faster simulations and accelerate the in silico discovery and development of new drugs, they said.
¿ Endovasc Ltd. Inc., of Montgomery, Texas, completed the FDA-suggested Phase III revisions for its nicotine receptor agonist and scheduled the pre-investigational new drug meeting within the month. The final meeting for the IND submission will be completed by Jan. 31, it said. NRA trials for chronic myocardia ischemia are scheduled to begin in April. On the advice of the FDA, Endovasc lowered the study population and reduced the end points needed to demonstrate significant efficacy.
¿ Inhibitex Inc., of Atlanta, entered into a 10-year manufacturing agreement with Nabi, of Boca Raton, Fla., to manufacture Inhibitex¿s lead product, INH-A21, at Nabi¿s Boca Raton facility. INH-A21 is an antibody-based product for the prevention of both Staphylococcal aureus and Coagulase-negative staphylococcal infections in very low birth weight infants. In June, Inhibitex received orphan drug status for INH-A21. The company plans to file an investigational new drug application in the first quarter of 2002.
¿ IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., completed enrollment of 544 patients in the second of three planned pivotal Phase III trials of iseganan antibiotic to reduce the severity of oral mucositis, a painful and debilitating condition resulting from cancer treatment. The trial is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of iseganan oral solution in reducing the severity of oral mucositis in patients receiving radiation therapy with and without concurrent chemotherapy to treat cancers of the head and neck.
¿ MetaPhore Pharmaceuticals Inc., of St. Louis, and University of Messina of Italy research on the inflammation and joint damage characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis using small-molecule enzyme mimetics was described in research published in the Dec. 6, 2001, issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism. Researchers showed that a superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic substantially reduced the erosion of cartilage and bone, as well as chronic inflammation, in a standard animal model. The SOD mimetic also was shown to reduce elevated levels of two proinflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-1-beta, involved in the development of arthritis in humans.
¿ Nanogen Inc., of San Diego, and RationalDiagnostics LLC, of Seattle, initiated research under a development site agreement entered into earlier this year. The agreement is intended to expand the applications of the NanoChip Molecular Biology Workstation with a focus on developing a gene-based microarray designed to diagnose a variety of lymphomas. RationalDiagnostics will provide its expertise in identifying genes that serve as novel disease markers in exchange for access to a NanoChip Workstation. Nanogen has certain rights to commercialize any assays developed by RationalDiagnostics.
¿ Orchid Biosciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., completed its acquisition of Lifecodes Corp., of Stamford, Conn. The deal, valued at $12.7 million, is structured as a tax-free stock-for-stock transaction under which Lifecodes shareholders will receive an aggregate of about 6.6 million newly issued shares of common stock. Most of these shares are subject to lock-up agreements that have extended, staggered expiration dates and trading volume limits. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 3, 2001.)
¿ PerkinElmer Life Sciences Inc., of Boston, opened PerkinElmer Life Sciences European Technical Center in Cambridge, UK. The facility will expand genomics and proteomics research capabilities and offer sales and technical support, field engineer training and instrument demonstration to PerkinElmer Life Sciences customers. The center enables scientists to take their research from genomics through to proteomics and beyond into functional proteomics by providing live cell imaging capability using the UltraView LCI.
¿ PSMA Development Co. LLC, a joint venture of Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., and Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., reported new findings on the molecular structure of prostate-specific membrane antigen, which the companies said may have implications for development of PSMA-targeted cancer immunotherapies. Scientists from the joint venture reported for the first time that PSMA exists on human cancer cells as a homodimer, a protein complex consisting of two identical PSMA chains. The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research, New Discoveries ¿ Prostate Cancer Biology and Treatment meeting in Naples, Fla.
¿ Pyrosequencing AB, of Uppsala, Sweden, said its Molecular Diagnostics business unit entered a research agreement with the University of California at San Francisco to analyze genes involved in the development and potential progression of multiple sclerosis. Using Pyrosequencing¿s PSQ 96 System, UCSF researchers will analyze the genotypes of about 2,500 people, including MS patients, their affected siblings and unaffected family members.
¿ Recombinant Capital, of San Francisco, said it moved part of its website from a free service to a subscription-based service in order to continue expanding its offerings. The site has multiple databases on biotechnology alliances, trials, valuations and other areas. The $1,000 subscription fee also includes the biotech revenue and employment agreements databases, and the first-year subscription fee is creditable against a choice of deal analyses, valuation histories and/or access to rDNA.com. ReCap¿s online magazine Signals remains free. Also, ReCap¿s retained clients and subscribers to its secure site, rDNA.com, will continue to have access to the entire site.
¿ Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., and Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., are collaborating to accelerate process development for Geron¿s lead telomerase inhibitor, GRN163. RPI will use its expertise in nucleic acid technology and will assist Geron in the scale-up and optimization of the manufacturing process. GRN163 is a short, modified oligonucleotide designed as a telomerase template antagonist. Also, the companies will collaborate to explore the potential for a ribozyme-based telomerase inhibitor, which Geron will have the first right to commercialize.