¿ Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., raised an additional $6.5 million in venture funding, supplied by Schroder Ventures, Atlas Venture and Advent International, all of Boston, and Connecticut Innovations Inc., of Hartford, Conn. This funding supplements the $17.2 million it raised in March in its first round of financing. (See BioWorld Today, March 29, 2000.)
¿ AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., said its one-for-four share consolidation will become effective today, with common shares of the company beginning trading on a post-consolidation basis. It will mail to shareholders a Letter of Transmittal that will set out the steps to be taken regarding the exchange of pre-consolidated share certificates for post-consolidation share certificates.
¿ Caprion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Montreal, and Micromass UK Ltd., of Manchester, England, said they are collaborating to support Caprion's proteomic research by applying Micromass' mass spectrometry technologies. Micromass will make a $7.5 million investment in Caprion and support the design and implementation of Caprion's large-scale, high-throughput mass spectrometry efforts. The companies will develop new processes for research in proteomics.
¿ Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, opened a C$3 million (US$1.9 million), 10,000-square-foot biotechnology research laboratory on the University of British Columbia campus. Research at the facility will focus on the development of novel medications to treat cardiovascular disease, innovative methods of developing high-value steroid pharmaceuticals, as well as the development and evaluation of new science-based nutraceutical ingredients to be added to foods for medicinal benefits.
¿ Immune Network Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, acquired an exclusive worldwide license for a new drug candidate for HIV infection treatment from Nissin Shokuhin Kabushiki, Kaisha, doing business as Nissin Food Products Ltd., of Osaka, Japan. The candidate is hNMO1, an antibody first discovered and patented by Nissin's research and development team. An investigational new drug application has been filed for hNMO1 and Phase I trials have been initiated. Immune Network will commence production of hNMO1 for continued Phase I development.
¿ PE Biosystems Group, of Foster City, Calif., now conducting business under the Applied Biosystems name, signed an agreement with Geneva Proteomics Inc., of Evanston, Ill., for it to become an early-access customer for Applied Biosystems' Maldi TOF/TOF mass spectrometer and the new ICAT reagents. Under the terms, Geneva Proteomics intends to deploy the mass spectrometers and reagents with the initial delivery of early access versions of the technologies beginning in the first half of 2001. Applied Biosystems could incorporate feedback on the performance of these technologies into refinements for subsequent commercial launches later in 2001. Additional terms were not disclosed.
¿ Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, moved its initial public offering stock price range, originally set from $8 to $10, down to $7 to $8. It also decreased the number of shares being offered from 9 million to 5 million. The new range and number of shares brings estimates for the amount to be realized from the IPO to $35 million to $40 million, as opposed to the $81 million to $90 million when Rigel set the initial range in September. This is Rigel's second IPO attempt: It filed in February, set its price at $10 to $12 for the 9 million shares in March, withdrew the offering in April, then refiled in September for 9 million shares in the $8 to $10 range. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 18, 2000; April 14, 2000; and Feb. 7, 2000.)
¿ Structural Bioinformatics Inc., of San Diego, said De Novo Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, entered an agreement to access multiple therapeutic target classes within Structural Bioinformatics' SBdBase, one of the databases within SBI's ProMax three-dimensional protein structure database series.
¿ TherImmune Research Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., will serve as subcontractor on a seven-year, $43 million malaria vaccine contract awarded by the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases. It is part of a team assembled by Science Applications International Corp. and its role will be to provide nonclinical safety and immunogenicity testing of vaccine candidates. TherImmune is a contract research organization that provides outsourcing on nonclinical drug development services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
¿ Vivus Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., granted exclusive distribution and marketing rights for Muse (alprostadil), Vivus' noninjectable erectile dysfunction treatment, in Canada to Paladin Labs Inc., of Montreal. Abbott Laboratories Inc., of Abbott Park, Ill., retains rights to future generation erectile dysfunction products in Canada, as well as Vivus' future and current erectile dysfunction products in all other international markets. Financial terms were undisclosed.
¿ Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the FDA has required that data be provided on additional manufacturing runs of Dynepo - the product being developed by Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, along with TKT - based on a recent change in Dynepo manufacturing process. Dynepo, the erythropoietin formulation, has had its manufacturing increased in scale from 2,000-liter to 5,000-liter bioreactors. Additional process validation data will be submitted as part of a new biologics license application, expected to occur in approximately six months. Transkaryotic's stock (NASDAQ:TKTX) dropped $2.25 Wednesday, or about 5 percent, to close at $37.812.
¿ The University of Pittsburgh, of Pittsburgh, Pa., said its scientists engineered a gene therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a muscle-wasting disease. The research was conducted on animals and was reported in the Nov. 28 issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists packaged the most important components of the largest gene ever found into the smallest viral vector ever used for gene therapy. This demonstrated the minimal amount of the dystrophin gene needed to achieve functional muscle. The gene vector used was a genetically engineered form of adeno-associated virus.