¿ 5 Starliving Online Inc., of Seattle, closed its acquisition of Viral Genetics Inc., of Pasadena, Calif. About 29.7 million shares of 5 Starliving stock were issued to the former stockholders of Viral in exchange for all the issued and outstanding shares of Viral. Former stockholders of Viral now own 79 percent of the total issues and outstanding stock of 5 Starliving.
¿ Affibody AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, completed a private placement, raising $28 million from an investment consortium led by Schroder Ventures Life Sciences, HealthCap and Investor Growth Capital. Other investors include International Biotechnology Trust plc. Affibody uses protein-engineering technologies to create protein ligands that mimic antibodies in a variety of biological and functional applications.
¿ BioDiscovery Inc., of Marina Del Rey, Calif., released version 3.0 of its GeneSight software of statistical analysis and visualization of data from microarrays. The company focuses on integrated microarray solutions.
¿ COR Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, said sales of Integrilin will be lower than previously anticipated in the third quarter. Sales to wholesalers are expected to total $53 million in the U.S. and $59 million worldwide due to less than anticipated demand in September. The company provided new earnings-per-share guidance for the third quarter of 1 cent. For 2001, COR said its new guidance for worldwide sales is $240 million to $250 million and that earnings per share are expected to be 11 cents to 13 cents.
¿ Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Doylestown, Pa., completed a private placement, raising about $7.7 million in gross proceeds. It sold units consisting of approximately 3.5 million shares of common stock and warrants to purchase about 700,000 shares. The offering price of about $2.18 represented an at-market price based on the average of the daily closing bid price of the common stock for the five trading days immediately preceding the closing date of the offering, plus a nominal price per warrant. The warrants are exercisable for five years from the date of issuance at about $2.37 per share. Proceeds will be used for funding development programs and other working capital and general corporate purposes. Safeco led the offering through its Growth Opportunities and RST Growth Opportunities Funds, totaling $3.75 million. Other investors included Ursus Capital LP, Ursus Offshore Ltd. and Deutsche Bank Securities. Valor Capital Management LP and Jesup and Lamont Securities Corp. acted as placement agents.
¿ Enzon Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., said Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., announced a U.S. launch of combination therapy using Peg-Intron powder for injection, which uses Enzon¿s technology, and Rebetol capsules for treating chronic hepatitis C.
¿ GeneFormatics Inc., of San Diego, formed partnerships with Bruker BioSpin Corp., of Billerica, Mass., and its members, Bruker AXS Inc. and Bruker Daltonics Inc., to develop next-generation technologies for the experimental analysis of 3-dimensional protein structures and the supply of various research infrastructure systems. GeneFormatics and the Bruker companies will collaborate to develop three technologies deployed by GeneFormatics in its Diamond structural proteomics platform. The Bruker companies will make undisclosed equity investments in GeneFormatics¿ Series C round of financing, and GeneFormatics will make undisclosed equity cross investments in Bruker AXS and Bruker Daltonics.
¿ Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, initiated a Phase I/II trial with its fully human antibody HuMax-IL15 to treat patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. The multicenter, placebo-controlled study will test up to six dose levels and include approximately 30 patients. It is designed to provide safety data about both single and multiple doses of HuMax-IL15, as well as efficacy. HuMax-IL15 is a high-affinity, fully human antibody against interleukin-15 being developed through a collaboration with Immunex Corp., of Seattle.
¿ Genomic Solutions Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., said it divested its proteomic contract services unit to a group of former senior scientific staff members. The new venture is called Proteomic Research Services Inc. Through the sale, Genomic Solutions will increase its strategic focus on systems and dedication of resources to proteomic product development. The company said its 2000 revenues associated with proteomic contract services were less than 5 percent of its sales. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Hadron Inc., of Alexandria, Va., said its Advanced Biosystems Inc. subsidiary was awarded a three-year, $800,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, of Bethesda, Md. The grant will be used to focus on medical defenses against Anthrax, specifically the role of certain cellular components in blocking development of the disease.
¿ Immunogenex Inc., of San Diego, changed its name to Tragen Pharmaceuticals Inc. The company uses its platform technology of tumor necrosis family-based compounds to activate dormant B cells and rally T cells to selectively attack blood- and tissue-based cancers.
¿ Interomex BioPharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, secured C$6.3 million (US$4 million) in financing led by the Business Development Bank of Canada. Additional new investors, Ventures West and T2C2, joined existing investors GeneChem Technologies Venture Fund and Western Technology Seed Investment Fund in the round. Interomex also said it appointed Roger Brent (chairman), Francis Ouellette and David Thomas to its scientific advisory board.
¿ Isotechnika Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, said Canadian double-blinded Phase II trials have started using its immunosuppressive drug ISATX247 in patients suffering from psoriasis. Trials are expected to begin at several additional centers in the fall. The product will be administered to subjects over a 12-week period, and it also is being administered to kidney transplant patients at 12 centers across North America as part of the Phase II program.
¿ Lorus Therapeutics Inc., of Toronto, appointed Jim Wright CEO. Wright has been president of Lorus since 1999, when the company merged with GeneSense Technologies Inc., also of Toronto. Wright was a co-founder of GeneSense and served as its chairman, president and chief scientific officer.
¿ Maxygen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., received a $3.7 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to support the research and development of a novel, broadly protective malaria vaccine. Maxygen will retain worldwide rights to commercialize vaccine candidates that result from the program.
¿ MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, and Helsinn Healthcare SA, of Lugano, Switzerland, completed enrollment for the first of the pivotal Phase III trials of palonosetron, a 5-HT antagonist, currently in trials for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Helsinn expects to complete patient enrollment for the remaining trials in the Phase III program at year¿s end, and plans to submit a NDA in the U.S. and Europe in the first half of 2002. The double-blind, randomized, Phase III trial compares intravenous palonosetron to currently marketed 5-HT antagonists and is being conducted at medical centers across North America and Europe. The companies expect that over 1,800 cancer patients will be enrolled in the trials. (See BioWorld Today, April 11, 2001.)
¿ Novocell Inc., of Irvine, Calif., completed its Series B financing of $7 million. Investors in the series were Asset Management, Alloy Ventures, BD Ventures LLC, Pacific Horizon Ventures and the Vertical Group. The financing will be used to complete its preclinical program of encapsulated islet cell transplantation for the treatment of diabetes. Also, Novocell completed a collaboration agreement with BD Technologies, of Research Triangle Park, N.C., to develop technology to expand the quantities of human islet cells available for transplantation for treatment of diabetes. Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.
¿ Pluvita Corp., of Bethesda, Md., acquired a majority interest in privately held Diogenics, of Irvine, Calif. Diogenics uses a biosystems approach to identify and validate clinically relevant gene and protein targets in steroid hormone-responsive diseases, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and other reproductive diseases. Diogenics¿ president, Cynthia French, will join Pluvita as senior vice president of research and development. The acquisition gives Pluvita access to disease targets and biological model systems, as well as a team of scientists. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Silicon Genetics Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., released highly scalable enterprise versions of its gene expression software products, GeneSpring 4.1 and GeNet 2.4, and introduced a new module, the Script Editor 1.0.
¿ VaxGen Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., was awarded a second part of a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, of Bethesda, Md., to continue development of a vaccine designed to prevent infection by HIV subtype C. The Small Business Innovation Research Fast Track grant provides up to $981,000 for the development programs and is in addition to the $150,000 it received earlier this year as the first part of the grant.
¿ Viragen Inc., of Plantation, Fla., and Roslin Institute, of Edinburgh, Scotland, said they produced the world¿s first humanized antibody using chicken cells. The antibody, GD3, is designed to treat melanoma and certain other cancers. Viragen¿s Avian Transgenic Project is designed to produce protein-based drugs inside the eggs of transgenic chickens, including monoclonal antibodies to fight cancer. Viragen holds the worldwide exclusive license to commercialize Avian Transgenic Technology granted by Roslin.
¿ Visible Genetics Inc., of Toronto, acquired Virco UK¿s international research laboratory in Cambridge, UK, as well as all the research staff of about 25 scientists. VGI also will acquire the laboratory assets for $829,000 and assume the lease on the 20,000-square-foot building at an annual cost of $419,000. The Cambridge operation will become VGI¿s principal international research hub, headed by chief scientific officer Brendan Larder, who announced his move from Virco to VGI in July. Meanwhile, Tibotec-Virco NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, has moved its HIV genotyping services and HIV diagnostics research from Cambridge to Mechelen.