¿ Alteon Inc., of Ramsey, N.J., agreed to sell 300,000 additional shares of common stock as part of the offering underwritten by U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. The agreement will bring the total number of shares sold to 4.5 million and the net proceeds after expenses and fees to $9.4 million.
¿ Antigenics Inc., of New York, said it notified its lead underwriter that it no longer plans to offer its previously announced proposed $50 million convertible stock offering. Antigenics said the decision was made because the offering would have been more dilutive to shareholders and more costly than originally thought. The company has no plans to seek additional financing. Antigenics¿ stock (NASDAQ: AGEN) gained $1.49 Thursday, or 10 percent, to close at $16.28. (See BioWorld Today, July 16, 2001.)
¿ Aventis Behring LLC, of King of Prussia, Pa., and Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., said Aventis received orphan medicinal product designation from the European Commission for the inhalable form of alpha-1-antitrypsin (human), currently in trials for the treatment of hereditary emphysema. The FDA granted the treatment orphan drug status in January 2000. Aventis manufactures the active substance. Inhale produces the dry powder formulation for use with its inhalation system.
¿ BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., of Novato, Calif., completed the 24-week treatment stage of its Phase I trial of recombinant human N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfatase, an enzyme replacement therapy for the treatment of Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome. Six patients received all of their weekly infusions and will continue to receive therapy. BioMarin expects to publicly report results by the end of the third quarter, following the unblinding and analysis of data.
¿ British Biotech plc, of Oxford, UK, received approval to start a Phase II trial of E21R, a granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor antagonist, in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. The open-label, single-dose study will begin at University College London and will be extended later to three other hospitals in the UK. In the initial stage, 14 volunteer patients who have either failed to respond to other treatments or relapsed after an initial response will receive a daily dose of E21R for 10 days.
¿ ChromaVision Medical Systems Inc., of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., said Cell Pathways Inc., of Horsham, Pa., adopted ChromaVision¿s ACIS systems and microarray technology for use in drug development and research. ChromaVision also said Cell Pathways is using other ACIS quantitative analysis capabilities to assist cancer researchers in the evaluation of protein expression in tumors.
¿ De Novo Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, completed a second round of funding totaling #16.75 million (US$23.93 million), from a group of investors led by Merlin Biosciences Ltd., of London. The company received its first round of funding last year to capitalize on computational algorithms for drug design developed at the University of Cambridge. De Novo said that this latest round of funding will enhance its discovery efforts.
¿ EDEN Bioscience Corp., of Bothell, Wash., received registration from the Ministry of Agriculture in Ecuador for its product, Messenger, on all crops in the country. EDEN said its technology and Messenger offer benefits over existing plant protection and crop yield-enhancement products. It has been conducting tests on a variety of crops in tropical climates, it said.
¿ MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., began dosing psoriasis patients in a Phase I pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic study of siplizumab. The trial is the third in a series of studies expected to be conducted in 2001. Siplizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that has the potential to suppress the immune system, the company said.
¿ Enzon Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., said Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., reported it was granted marketing approval from the FDA for Rebetol (ribavirin) Capsules as a separately marketed product for use only in combination with Intron A (interferon alfa-2b, recombinant) injection for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients with compensated liver disease previously untreated with alpha interferon or who have relapsed following alpha interferon therapy. Rebetol is approved in the United States for this indication only as a component of Rebetron combination therapy and Intron A injection in a single package. Schering-Plough expects Rebetol Capsules, available by prescription only, to be available sometime this fall.
¿ Hyseq Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., released its second-quarter results and revealed restructuring plans. The company reported a net loss for the quarter of $15.1 million, or $1.04 per share, and it ended the quarter with $6.3 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents. The restructuring plan, designed to allow the company to direct its efforts toward biopharmaceutical activities, includes a 20 percent reduction in its work force, to begin immediately and be completed over the next three months. It also is evaluating courses of action with regard to its DNA chip sequencing and oligonucleotide application efforts and anticipates an outcome that may result in a separate self-funded entity. However, the details of this decision have not been finalized. Its stock (NASDAQ:HYSQ) dropped $1.56 Thursday, or about 14.8 percent, to close at $8.95.
¿ ILEX Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, entered a worldwide, exclusive license agreement with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School for patent rights, both issued and pending, and technology related to the MUC1 protein, a cytokine-like receptor that is overexpressed by most human cancers. The license grants ILEX the rights to identify, develop and commercialize protein/peptide-based products and small-molecule compounds that target the MUC1 protein or other MUC1-mediated cellular events for the diagnosis, prognosis, therapy and prevention of cancer in humans or animals. Terms were not disclosed.
¿ Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, renewed and expanded its OmniBank Universal agreement with NV Organon, of Oss, the Netherlands, to include access to Lexicon¿s research program to study the physiological in vivo function of genes. Organon will continue its access to Lexicon¿s OmniBank library and DNA sequence database through December 2002, and also will continue to have access to gene knockouts generated under Lexicon¿s gene-targeting technologies. The expansion stipulates Organon will have access to drug target validation data generated by Lexicon for specified targets. Lexicon will receive annual technology access fees and research funding from Organon. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ Microcide Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., amended its research collaboration and license agreement with Schering-Plough Animal Health, of Union, N.J., increasing the level of Schering-funded research at Microcide. The joint research program is focused on the discovery and development of veterinary antimicrobial drugs using Microcide¿s technology and knowledge of bacterial efflux pumps and other resistance mechanisms. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ NeoTherapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., presented data on its lead compound, Neotrofin, at the 4th International Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer¿s Disease, Parkinson¿s Disease and Related Disorders meeting in Princeton, N.J. Data from experiments with Neotrofin demonstrated a statistically significant increase of 32 percent in brain stem cells in the hippocampus of mice. NeoTherapeutics demonstrated that brain stem cells can mature into neurons and astrocytes.
¿ Procyon BioPharma Inc., of Montreal, signed a manufacturing supply agreement with Goodwin Biotechnology Inc., of Plantation, Fla., to produce the lead candidate for Procyon¿s ANA anticancer platform technology, chimeric monoclonal antibody c-2C5. Also, Procyon signed a supply agreement with Multiple Peptide System, of San Diego, for the production of cGMP PCK3145, the lead peptide candidate for prostate cancer therapy. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ QLT Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Novartis Ophthalmics, the eye care unit of Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, said Health Canada granted approval for its Visudyne (verteporfin for injection) therapy for the treatment of predominantly classic subfoveal choroidal neovascularization (CNV) due to pathologic myopia. Visudyne was approved in May 2000 in Canada for the treatment of CNV due to age-related macular degeneration. QLT and Novartis recently expanded their alliance to co-develop photodynamic therapy with verteporfin to treat skin cancer and other dermatological conditions.
¿ Tibotec-Virco NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, said it is reorganizing to increase focus and efficiency across the company. Elements of the reorganization include the concentration of activities in its headquarters in Mechelen and Rockville, Md., the creation of separate diagnostics and drug development divisions, the creation of a new clinical research facility in North Carolina and the hiring of scientists in the HIV pharmacology area.
¿ XOMA Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., initiated a Phase II study of Neuprex in patients with Crohn¿s disease. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study will enroll about 36 patients at eight sites in the United States and one in Israel. The trial will evaluate Neuprex in Crohn¿s disease patients with moderate to severe disease and will have a primary endpoint of a significant reduction in Crohn¿s Disease Activity Index. Baxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill., will be responsible for the funding and conduct of the study.