¿ Amarillo Biosciences Inc., of Amarillo, Texas, and Biopharm Group International, of Cairo, Egypt, formed an agreement to co-develop and market Amarillo's low-dose orally administered interferon alpha in conjunction with an antiviral for use in the treatment of hepatitis C.
¿ Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said the merger of its subsidiary Axys Advanced Technologies Inc. (AAT) with privately held Discovery Partners International is complete. Axys received about $60 million in DPI stock as consideration for its interest in AAT. Earlier this month, DPI filed for a public offering of its common stock. (See BioWorld Today, April 13, 2000, p. 1; and May 11, 2000, p. 1.)
¿ BioTransplant Inc., of Charlestown, Mass., and its collaborators from Massachusetts General Hospital's Transplantation Unit and the Transplantation Biology Research Center said researchers successfully transplanted primate pancreatic islet cells into a mismatched diabetic primate without the need for long-term administration of immunosuppressive drugs. The recipient animal's insulin-dependent diabetes was completely reversed by the procedure, the researchers said.
¿ Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, said Arsenic TriOxide, a drug treatment for relapsed or refractory acute promyelocytic leukemia, has been granted priority regulatory review. The FDA accepted a new drug application submitted in March for the product. Priority review status indicates that the FDA plans to act on the NDA within six months.
¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., said due to market conditions it has elected not to proceed with its bond exchange offer, which commenced April 17. Chiron's obligation to proceed is conditioned in part on a stock price average of between $40 and $55 per share, but the actual average share price is below the indicated range. The company intends to return all notes tendered in the exchange offer. The company also said it has cash and marketable securities in excess of $1.4 billion and that it did not intend to raise new capital with the bond exchange, but to restructure the terms of its existing indebtedness.
¿ Cypress Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, said the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has designated the Prosorba column for a special payment as a "new technology." The decision will ensure that treatment centers receive adequate reimbursement for use of the Prosorba column in the outpatient setting, the company said. Cypress said earlier this month that HCFA approved coverage for the Prosorba column in rheumatoid arthritis.
¿ DeveloGen AG, of Gvttingen, Germany, and HepaVec AG, of Berlin, Germany, said they will merge to create a company focused in lifestyle disease therapeutics based on developmental biology. The merged company will keep the DeveloGen name and combine DeveloGen's rapid gene discovery and functional genomics strengths with HepaVec's gene delivery technology. The merger is expected to be completed this summer. DeveloGen then will move into clinical trials by the end of the year with a potential treatment for primary liver cancer, the companies said.
¿ ImmGenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it completed a private placement of preferred equity for net proceeds of about C$9 million (US$6 million). Participants in the offering were Nomura International plc and International Biotechnology Trust. The financing will help the company fuel its pipeline of antibody-based candidate products, as well as to expand its operations.
¿ Magainin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., said new preclinical data of squalamine demonstrates antiangiogenic activity in eye disease. The company also said additional preclinical data demonstrated squalamine improves retinopathy. The data are published in the May issue of the Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.
¿ NeuralStem BioPharmaceuticals Ltd., of College Park, Md., completed a series of agreements with Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., in which Gene Logic has licensed NeuralStem's central nervous system stem cell technology for gene expression analysis and inclusion in its GeneExpress database. NeuralStem also has purchased a module of the GeneExpress database and Gene Logic has made an equity investment in NeuralStem. Financial terms were not disclosed. NeuralStem's stem cells encompass nerve cells of all the types present in the human brain at all stages of development.
¿ Novocell Inc., of Irvine, Calif., said it completed a Series B financing round led by BD Ventures LLC, a venture capital fund sponsored by Becton Dickinson and Co., of Franklin Lakes, N.J. Financial terms were not disclosed. Novocell was founded in August 1999 as a new company succeeding Neocrin Co. to develop technologies for cell transplant therapies.
¿ Procyon BioPharma, of Montreal, said it will file a final prospectus in July following the closing of its private placement for C$20.4 million (US$13.94 million) in special warrants. The company also said it intends to seek a listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The private placement closed in April. (See BioWorld Today, April 13, 2000, p. 2.)
¿ Protein Design Labs Inc. (PDL), of Fremont, Calif., said it entered into a licensing and joint development agreement with Toagosei Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, for an antibody developed by Toagosei and humanized by PDL. The antibody, Smart Anti-VEGF, binds to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The two companies will develop it as a cancer treatment. PDL also said a Phase I trial of the product was initiated in January in Europe. Under the agreement, which was signed in July 1999, PDL obtains exclusive development and marketing rights to Smart Anti-VEGF in North America and the first option to obtain exclusive rights to market the antibody in Europe and other markets, except Japan. Toagosei has exclusive rights in Japan. The companies will share development costs and profits from sales in markets outside Japan.