¿ Aviron Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., said its UK subsidiary, Aviron UK Ltd., will acquire a 25-year lease from Celltech Group plc, of Slough, England, on eight acres of land in Speke, UK, to use an existing 45,000-square-foot structure to build a FluMist manufacturing facility. The agreement includes a payment of #1.5 million (U.S.$2.17 million) from Aviron to Celltech.

¿ Bavarian Nordic Research Institute A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Statens Serum Institut entered a collaboration aimed at the development and marketing of a broad-spectrum genetically based vaccine for HIV. Bavarian Nordic has the option to worldwide exclusive licenses for the development, production and marketing of the vaccine and out-licensing privileges to any related inventions developed through the collaboration.

¿ Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, shipped the recently approved Trisenox (arsenic trioxide) injection inventory to distributors and wholesalers, ahead of schedule, the company said. The FDA approved the acute promyelocytic leukemia therapeutic in late September. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 27, 2000, p. 1.)

¿ ChemDiv Inc., of San Diego, formed Chemical Diversity Labs Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary division to accelerate the growth of the company's product portfolio. The new division employs 20 chemists in a new laboratory in San Diego.

¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., reached a broad patent license agreement with Hoffman-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., for probe-based clinical diagnostics for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV. The agreement resolved litigation between the companies in the U.S. and six other countries. Chiron receives up-front payments for past HCV sales and prepayment of some other HCV royalties, in addition to contingent milestone payments for the HIV patent license. Roche will continue to market the probe-based HCV and HIV diagnostics, which include polymerase chain reaction tests. Chiron also granted Roche a limited license to its HIV and HCV intellectual property for nucleic acid testing of blood intended for transfusion. In other news, Chiron agreed to continue a manufacturing contract with EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., for bulk production of Endostatin protein for Phase II clinical trials. The original agreement dates to April 1999. Chiron manufactures the protein in its 10,000-liter fermentors, and will through 2001.

¿ Cognetix Inc., of Salt Lake City, initiated the first clinical trial of CGX-1007, a conopeptide that could be a treatment for refractory epilepsy. The Phase I double-blind, placebo-controlled study is designed to evaluate the compound's safety. CGX-1007 is a 17-amino-acid peptide derived from the venom of predatory marine snails of the Conus species. It acts as a highly selective antagonist of the NMDA receptor complex of the nervous system.

¿ Crucell N.V., of Leiden, Netherlands, filed a registration statement for an initial public offering of 9.2 million ordinary shares in the form of American Depository Shares (ADS) at a planned price range of $14.76 to $17.79 per ADS. At that range, the offering could yield the company $135.79 million to $163.67 million. Crucell applied to list the ADSs on the Nasdaq National Market and the Official Market of the stock market of Euronext in Amsterdam. Crucell was formed through the merger of IntroGene B.V. and U-BiSys B.V. Goldman Sachs International is global coordinator for the offering, and a syndicate of banks, including ING Barings and UBS Warburg, will act as co-lead managers.

¿ Discovery Partners International Inc., of San Diego, agreed to collaborate with Maxia Pharmaceuticals Inc., also of San Diego, to design and synthesize compounds useful to Maxia's research and development programs. Maxia will retain exclusive rights to develop and commercialize resultant compounds. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Epic Therapeutics Inc., of Norwood, Mass., appointed George Dunbar CEO. Dunbar is the former president and CEO of CytoTherapeutics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., now StemCells Inc.

¿ Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, priced its global offering of 6 million ordinary shares offered on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange in Denmark or in the form of co-ownership interests (COIS) traded on the Neuer Markt of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Germany. The company granted underwriters an option to purchase up to 900,000 additional shares to cover overallotments. The offering raised about EUR194 million (U.S.$168.41 million). The shares sold represent 28 percent of the company.

¿ ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif., said it will seek the return of its seized pharmaceutical company in Yugoslavia from the new government of Vosiljav Kostunica. The company was seized by the Milosevic regime in February 1999 in what State Department sources called an attack against ICN Chairman and CEO Milan Panic, ousted as Yugoslavian Prime Minister in 1992 by Slobodan Milosevic. ICN will ask Kostunica's government to overturn the action that gave the Serbian government and Ministry of Health 75 percent interest in the company. That action is currently in international arbitration.

¿ Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., established a commercial single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping service agreement with Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, to perform high-throughput SNP scoring on Lilly samples. Further details were undisclosed. Orchid will use its MegaSNPatron facility, which will have the capacity to produce more than 100,000 genotypes per day by 2001.

¿ Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., agreed with Agilent Technologies, of Palo Alto, Calif., for early access to Agilent's customizable microarray technology to supplement Paradigm's gene function research. Financial details of the agreement, which grants Paradigm access to a second-generation microarray scanner, probe design service and a supply of customized in situ synthesized microarrays, were undisclosed.

¿ Immunex Inc., of Seattle, issued a warning to physicians related to reports of adverse events in patients receiving Enbrel, the company's rheumatoid arthritis (RA) therapeutic first approved in November 1998 for moderate to severe RA. The warning said the causal relationship to Enbrel therapy remains unclear, but advises prescribers to exercise caution in considering the use of Enbrel in patients with preexisting or recent-onset central nervous system demyelinating disorders. Prescribing information was revised to include warnings reflecting the company's position on the central nervous system demyelinating disorder events.

¿ Neurochem Inc., of Saint-Laurent, Canada, was given FDA approval to move forward to a pivotal Phase II/III clinical trial of its lead compound Fibrillex, an orally active anti-fibrillary agent for adults with secondary amyloidosis. The trial will be a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled and parallel-design study conducted in multiple centers internationally, and is set to begin within weeks in the U.S. It is designed to evaluate the compound's safety and efficacy in 150 patients and is scheduled to run over 24 months.

¿ PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc, of Oxford, UK, said subsidiary Evans Vaccines Ltd. renegotiated its agreement with Aviron Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., for the manufacture of Aviron's intranasal flu vaccine, FluMist. The revised agreement calls for a $15 million initial payment to PowderJect plus a $4 million payment annually for five years and performance-based milestone payments of up to $3 million. PowderJect will also receive warrants to subscribe to 63,162 shares of Aviron stock over the period of the agreement, exercisable at the market closing price of Oct. 10, $47.50.

¿ Pozen Inc., of Chapel Hill, N.C., priced its initial public offering at $15 per share, raising $75 million through the deal. Underwriting the offering was U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. Pozen said it plans to use the proceeds for development, approval and commercialization of product candidates for treatment of migraine headaches. Pozen trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol "POZN."

¿ SIGA Technologies Inc., of New York, was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant for $125,000 to support its sexually transmitted disease vaccine program. Its initial target will be a vaccine of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

¿ StressGen Biotechnologies Corp., of Victoria, British Columbia, filed a final prospectus related to its planned public offering of 6.5 million shares at C$7 per share (US$4.66). The final prospectus increases the number of shares offered by 500,000, and the company expects pre-overallotment option gross proceeds from the offering of C$45.5 million (U.S.$30.31 million). The company granted underwriters, led by BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. and including CIBC World Markets Inc. and Goepel McDermid Inc., the option to purchase an additional 975,000 shares to cover overallotments. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 22, 2000.)

¿ The Consortium for Plasma Science LLC, of Edinburgh, Scotland, granted a fellowship to University of Edinburgh scientist Peter Simmonds to support his research on the evolution, epidemiology and potential pathogenicity of circoviruses, a group of human blood-borne viruses. His research focuses on a diverse family of small, non-enveloped viruses that contain only one strand of circular, closed loop DNA.

¿ The Institute for Genomics Research, of Rockville, Md., entered a collaboration with the universities of California, Minnesota and Wisconsin and Cornell University aimed at developing tools to study potato functional genomics. TIGR will generate thousands of sequences from cDNA clones in addition to microarrays consisting of a non-redundant set of potato cDNAs.

¿ Transgene Inc., of Strasbourg, France, entered a research and licensing agreement with Mirus Inc., of Madison, Wis., to develop gene therapy products using Mirus' muscle delivery technology and Transgene's plasmid-based and adenoviral vectors. The year-long research program to apply the technologies to deliver the therapeutics to skeletal muscle is to be funded by Transgene and will be aimed at producing therapeutics for muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

¿ Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., completed half the enrollment in a Phase IIb clinical trial of a combination of an interleukin-2 gene medicine and chemotherapy for head and neck cancer. The company expects to complete enrollment in the 80-patient study by year's end. Valentis also has two other combination gene medicine therapy clinical trials under way, one using a combination of IL-2 and Superantigen B for melanoma and a second using interleukin-12 and interferon-alpha for accessible solid tumors.

¿ Virtual Drug Development Inc., of Brentwood, Tenn., was granted a $135,590 award from the Department of Health and Human Services to continue research for an antibiotic treatment for anthrax. VDDI licenses the technology for the potential anthrax treatment from the University of Alabama Research Foundation.

¿ Xoma Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., said collaborator Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, completed enrollment in two pivotal Phase III trials evaluating anti-CD11a, a humanized monoclonal antibody, in moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis sufferers. The trials include more than 1,000 patients at about 80 sites across the U.S. and Canada, and are designed to evaluate safety and efficacy of anti-CD11a in weekly subcutaneous administration. Results are to be evaluated in 2001.

No Comments