¿ Carrington Laboratories Inc., of Irving, Texas, said the FDA granted the company clearance to market a new, sterile and preservative-free hydrogel containing Acemannan Hydrogel. The new product is expected to be launched by Sept. 15 and will be marketed under the name Ultrex. It was specifically formulated for unit-dose use and patients with sensitive skin. Ultrex gel is indicated for the management of pressure and stasis ulcers, post-surgical incisions, first- and second-degree burns and skin conditions associated with peristomal care.

¿ Cel-Sci Corp., of Vienna, Va., said it signed a long-term agreement with Bio Science Contract Production Corp., of Baltimore, for the manufacture of its immunotherapy cancer product, Multikine, which is in several Phase II trials for the treatment of head and neck cancer and early stage trials for prostate cancer.

¿ Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., said three groups of clinical researchers reported results of studies with Provigil tablets conducted in environments requiring sustained performance and alertness, including shift and military work. All three groups presented data demonstrating that Provigil consistently improved both performance and alertness in sleep-deprived subjects. The researchers said at the 14th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Las Vegas that Provigil is not a substitute for adequate sleep, but that they are planning additional studies to better understand its potential use and side effects. Provigil was approved by the FDA in December 1998 as a once-a-day therapy to improve wakefulness in patients experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness.

¿ Cetek Corp., of Marlborough, Mass., said it entered into a research agreement with Schering-Plough Research Institute (SPRI), of Madison, N.J., using Cetek's proprietary technology in screening new genomic targets. Cetek will develop assays for SPRI's targets and screen against libraries from SPRI. The parties previously had completed a pilot research project.

¿ Cogene BioTech Ventures, of Houston, has formed to provide venture capital for entities engaged in biotechnology research primarily in the Southwestern U.S. and will work closely with Houston's medical and university communities. Robert McNair will serve as chairman, and C. Thomas Caskey will serve as president and CEO. McNair has committed up to $50 million, the majority of the capital required for the venture. Caskey served as senior vice president of Merck Research Laboratories from 1994 until this year.

¿ Creative BioMolecules Inc., of Hopkinton, Mass., and Ontogeny Inc. and Reprogenesis Inc., both of Cambridge, said each company will hold its stockholder meeting on July 31 to vote on the proposed merger to form Curis Inc. Under terms of the merger, Creative BioMolecules' stockholders would receive three shares of Curis common stock for every 10 shares of Creative BioMolecules. Following completion of the merger, Creative stockholders would hold about 43 percent of Curis shares, Ontogeny's stockholders would hold about 38 percent and Reprogenesis' stockholders would hold about 19 percent. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 16, 2000, p. 1.)

¿ diaDexus, of Santa Clara, Calif., said Patrick Plewman will assume the responsibility of chief executive officer in addition to his duties as president and chief operating officer. He became president and chief operating officer in January. Prior to joining diaDexus, he worked with SmithKline Beecham for eight years.

¿ GeneFormatics, of San Diego, said it entered into a contract with Schering-Plough Research Institute, of Madison, N.J., to identify novel therapeutic targets. Under terms of the contract, GeneFormatics will apply its proprietary Fuzzy Functional Form technology to proprietary gene sequences of interest in an effort to elucidate the function of the encoded proteins.

¿ MediChem Research Inc., of Lemont, Ill., said it signed a proprietary user agreement with Argonne National Laboratory that grants the company access to Argonne's Advanced Photon Source. MediChem's use of the high brilliance X-ray beam allows for high-speed data collection leading to rapid protein structure determination. The technology will serve to accelerate the drug candidate identification process, the company said.

¿ Meteor Industries Inc., of Denver, said it entered into a non-binding letter of intent to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Innovative Drug Delivery Systems Inc. (IDDS). The transaction is expected to close by the end of September. It is subject to various contingencies, including the execution of a definitive merger agreement and a $5 million investment by Meteor in IDDS.

¿ Novo Nordisk AS, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, said the FDA approved its liquid growth hormone, Norditropin, in cartridges and an accompanying NordiPen delivery system. Norditropin is indicated for the long-term treatment of children who have growth failure due to inadequate secretion of endogenous growth hormone.

¿ Rosetta Inpharmatics Inc., of Kirkland, Wash., launched the Rosetta Resolver Expression Data Analysis System, an enterprise-wide, bioinformatics solution for deciphering the enormous amount of gene-expression data being generated by the genomics revolution. The system now is available through Rosetta's strategic partner, Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif.

¿ SignalGene Inc., of Montreal, said it closed on its acquisition of Nanodesign Inc., of Guelph, Ontario. The deal is valued at about C$15 million (US$10.2 million) and involved the issue of about 5.4 million common shares of SignalGene and about 1.4 million warrants to Nanodesign's shareholders, plus an additional C$2 million in cash to Nanodesign's controlling shareholder, Guard Inc.

¿ Tularik Inc., of South San Francisco, said it was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The Phase I grant supports research to create antibodies to novel amplified breast cancer gene products that will be used for immunochemical assays.