¿ Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., and Lexicon Genetics Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, launched a drug discovery collaboration that will use Abgenix's XenoMouse technology for creating fully human monoclonal antibodies in mice to generate antibodies to Lexicon's genetic targets. The companies anticipate that dozens of knockout-validated targets will enter preclinical programs for development into antibody product candidates during their collaboration. Each company will have the right to obtain exclusive commercialization rights to promising drug candidates. In each case, the company developing a product will absorb the costs and pay the other firm milestones and royalties.

¿ American Biogenetic Sciences Inc., of Copiague, N.Y., and University College in Dublin, Ireland, have extended by five years a research program focused on compounds for neurological disorders, including ABS-205, an Alzheimer's disease drug that has slowed production of amyloid deposits in animal models.

¿ Axonyx Inc., of New York, and David Small, a University of Melbourne researcher, reported findings about a new approach to early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease at the World Alzheimer's Congress 2000 in Washington, D.C. Small reported that a novel form of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase is a specific diagnostic marker for Alzheimer's. Axonyx and the Australian university have a joint development agreement covering the technology.

¿ Burrill & Co., of San Francisco, has closed on the first $110 million of a $150 million venture capital fund for life sciences companies.

¿ Cangene Corp., of Toronto, said WinRho SDF received regulatory approval in Australia for treating hemolytic disease of the newborn. The product will be distributed there by CSL Ltd.

¿ Celera Genomics, of Rockville, Md., signed an agreement with Harvard University that provides a comprehensive subscription to certain Celera databases. Specific details of the agreement were not disclosed.

¿ Cepheid, of Sunnyvale, Calif., said underwriters of the company's June initial public offering exercised their overallotment option for 750,000 shares at $6 each. The move raises the gross proceeds to $34.5 million and the net to $30.8 million. (See BioWorld Today, June 22, 2000, p. 1.)

¿ Ciblex Corp., of San Diego, identified a small-molecule inhibitor of macrophage migration inhibiting factor (MIF) that is biologically active in mice. MIF is associated with cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

¿ Ciphergen Biosystems Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., filed suit against Molecular Analytical Systems and LumiCyte in California Superior Court in San Jose, Calif. The dispute centers on technology transfer agreements covering surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization (SELDI) mass spectrometry technology used by Ciphergen in its Protein Chip System. Ciphergen has asked the court for a declaration of the company's rights under the agreements and to enjoin Molecular Analytical Systems from terminating the agreements.

¿ Cytoclonal Pharmaceutics Inc., of Dallas, has obtained worldwide rights to a new bacterial drug resistance target. The licensed technology involves a newly discovered system in the bacteria that has been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo to detoxify antibiotics and make them ineffective. Cytoclonal acquired the rights from University of California, San Diego, and the University of British Columbia.

¿ Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass., and GelTex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Waltham, Mass., received FDA approval to market Renagel Tablets (sevelamer hydrochloride) in 800 mg and 400 mg dosages for the reduction of serum phosphorus in hemodialysis patients with end-stage renal disease. The product was previously approved in a 403 mg capsule form.

¿ Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., has called for the redemption of the company's 6.25 percent convertible subordinated debentures due Aug. 1, 2004. The principal amount of the outstanding notes is $79.5 million. Until Aug. 11 at 5 p.m., holders may convert notes into shares of Gilead common stock for approximately $44.57 per share. On July 12, 2000, the closing price of the stock (NASDAQ:GILD) was $89.38 per share.

¿ Nabi, of Boca Raton, Fla., raised $10 million in a private placement and will use the proceeds to reduce borrowing and increase availability against the company's existing bank line of credit.

¿ NeoTherapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., presented positive preliminary results from a Phase IIb clinical trial of Neotrofin (AIT-082, leteprinim potassium) in patients with Alzheimer's disease at the World Alzheimer's Congress 2000 in Washington, D.C. The drug boosted cognition and memory, and the improvement was more pronounced in patients with greater memory loss. Results of a preclinical study, in which Neotrofin reduced levels of beta amyloid in cell cultures, also were presented.

¿ Nexell Therapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said investigators at a growing number of major U.S. laboratories are using the company's cell culture bags in medical research protocols designed to genetically modify target cell populations.

¿ Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., reported the outcome of a European dispute over a ribozyme patent (EPO No. EP-B1 0291533). The European Opposition Division found no grounds for revoking the patent, but did decide to clarify the claims to cover self-splicing intervening sequence-derived ribozymes. The company said the decision will have no impact on its ability to commercialize ribozymes.

¿ The Frank Russell Company, of Tacoma, Wash., added several biotech companies to its Russell 2000 and Russell 3000 indexes, which track the top 2000 and 3000 U.S. companies (based on market capitalization). Among the new additions to the Russell 2000 list were Aphton Corp, of Miami; Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego; and Genta Inc., of Lexington, Mass. ImmunoGen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., was added to the Russell 3000 Index.

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