¿ Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., named Kevin Sharer chief executive officer. He remains the company's president.

¿ Aphios Corp., of Woburn, Mass., said it was awarded a fast-track Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant for the method of making an improved St. John's Wort product. St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a bushy perennial that blooms around St. John the Baptist's day in June. An oil extract of the flowers contains liposoluble napthodianthrones, compounds thought to be responsible for the plant's reputation as an effective antidepressant. Aphios wants to develop an improved product that can be manufactured in a standardized and reproducible manner, it said.

¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., said the average share price to be used to evaluate the next steps in association with its convertible bond exchange offer is $35.89. The average is based on five business days ending on May 10. Chiron's obligation to proceed with the exchange offer is conditioned upon an average share price in the range of $40 to $55 per share and at least 75 percent of the 1.9 percent convertible subordinated notes being tendered. The company is evaluating alternative courses of action because the share price is below the range.

¿ Connetics Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School said data suggest relaxin could be an effective treatment for pulmonary hypertension by reducing fibrosis in the arteries of the lung, and by helping improve blood flow to the lung. Research indicates that relaxin, administered to animals with hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension, significantly inhibited the increase in right ventricular pressure as compared to the control. Relaxin is a naturally occurring human hormone.

¿ EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., watched its stock sink Thursday following a Boston Globe report that its cancer drug endostatin is not showing the benefits expected after seven months of testing. The Globe cited a senior government research official as its source. The company's stock (NASDAQ:ENMD) fell 30 percent, to close Thursday at $28.875, down $12.625.

¿ Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., and Modex Therapeutics SA, of Lausanne, Switzerland, signed a non-exclusive license agreement for the use of Geron's telomerase technology in Modex's Encapsulated Cell Therapy (ECT) system. The combination of these technologies will enhance the ECT system, which uses implantable, encapsulated human cells that are genetically engineered for continuous, long-term delivery of proteins to treat chronic diseases. Under terms of the agreement, the two companies will share all income that Modex receives for products developed and commercialized under the license. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Life Technologies Inc., of Rockville, Md. and Genoscope, of Evry, France, will collaborate to develop a large collection of full-length human genes. Life Technologies will provide its full-length cDNA library and normalization technology. Genoscope will use its high-capacity automated sequencing capabilities. Both companies will seek to rapidly identify and release sequence data and corresponding cDNA clones to the public.

¿ Magainin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., said it discovered a novel gene that regulates lung mucus production. The company presented data at the American Thoracic Society and American Lung Association Meeting in Toronto that demonstrated that mucus production could be prevented in animals by low-molecular-weight inhibitors of the discovered gene. The company is studying the expression of the gene in increased amounts in patients with chronic lung disease vs. normal controls.

¿ Novirio Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it was awarded up to $1.1 million from the fast-track Small Business Innovation Research grant program. The company will use the funding to further the development of its novel class of hepatitis B compounds, including L-dT, L-dC and L-dA, which are unmodified nucleosides that prevent the replication of viral DNA without adversely affecting host cell function.

¿ Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, said it entered into an agreement with Genaissance Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., to establish Sequenom's proprietary MassArray system as the platform for Genaissance's high-throughput HAP Typing facility, which is designed for the high-throughput analysis of genomic variation markers in clinical samples. As part of the agreement, Sequenom also will develop assays for Genaissance's HAP Markers.

¿ Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., said it has expanded its collaboration with Monsanto Co., of St. Louis, in the field of functional genomics to include Renessen LLC, of Bannockburn, Ill., as an affiliate. The expansion allows the two companies, through Renessen, to increase value for processors and animal feeders by improving the yields of the most valuable components of grains. Paradigm is developing functional genomics data and creating a product discovery platform by analyzing the product of Monsanto's gene sequencing, bioinformatics and functional genomics research.

¿ The Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), of Beijing, China, said it will undertake two major projects to sequence the rice and pig genomes. The construction of the super hybrid rice genome will lay the groundwork for understanding the genetic structure of crops with larger genomes, such as wheat, barley and corn. The second project will concentrate on the Meishan pig. The genome draft will assist the world pork industry in using modern genetic technology and tools to gain better breeding for efficient meat production. Most of the sequencing for both projects will take place at BGI's facility using Uppsala, Sweden-based Amersham Pharmacia Biotech's MegaVACE 1000 DNA sequencer.

¿ Theratechnologies, of Montreal, said it closed on two offerings, raising C$32 million (US$21.5 million). The company closed a public issue of common shares totaling C$21 million, consisting of 2.45 million shares at C$8.60 per share. The company also closed a concurrent private placement of share purchase warrants for a total of $10.8 million to finance its affiliated company, Ecopia BioSciences. The company announced its intention to raise C$20 million (US$13.5 million) last month. (See BioWorld Today, April 27, 2000, p. 6.)

¿ Therion Biologics, of Cambridge, Mass., the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the National Cancer Institute said early clinical results for Prostvac, Therion's prostate cancer vaccine, show the vaccine was well tolerated. Stabilization of PSA levels also was observed for at least six months in 14 of 33 patients. Nine patients remained stable for 11 to 25 months.

¿ Trega Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, said it expanded its relationship with Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, of Ingelheim, Germany, by entering into a second agreement for the custom synthesis of exclusive compound libraries. Terms include the custom synthesis of directed libraries by Trega, using the solution phase methods. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Vion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., received another $750,000 from the redemption of the company's Class B warrants, bringing the total proceeds from the exercise of the warrants to $15.8 million, not $15.05 million as the company originally stated. The additional funds reflect an updated accounting of the total Class B warrants exercised prior to redemption. The updated figures show the total number of Class B warrants exercised was 2.629 million. The company now has cash resources of $28.8 million.

¿ Xenova Group plc, of Slough, England, said data from a Phase IIa study to assess the degree of drug interaction between XR9576 and doxorubicin in cancer patients show the combination is well tolerated with no clinically significant interaction. The trial is one of three under way with XR9576 in cancer patients. The other two trials are assessing drug interaction with paclitaxel and vinorelbine.

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