¿ BioProgress Technology plc, of March, Cambridgeshire, raised US$7.25 million in a private placement with existing investors, and said it will use the money for further development of Xgel, its gelatin-free soft capsule technology. A number of potential customers are running trials and doing stability testing of Xgel, which BioProgress believes could replace gelatin derived from animal renderings. At present, gelatin is the only product suitable for encapsulating non-aqueous products, including pharmaceuticals, but concerns have been raised about its use in the wake of the mad-cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalitis) epidemic in the UK.

¿ Flamel Technologies, of Lyon, France, has obtained shareholder approval for the $12.8 million private share placement it negotiated with three venture capital funds - Biotechnology Value Fund and Alta BioPharma Partners, both of San Francisco, and New York-based Chase Capital Partners (see BioWorld International, March 8, 2000, p. 2). The company also elected three new members to its board of directors, bringing the total number to five. They are Jean-Noel Trielles, president of the Ethicals Division of the German company E. Merck; Andri Ulmann, president and CEO of HRA Pharma (a French pharmaceutical company); and W. George Meredith, retired executive VP of 3M's Life Sciences Division.

¿ MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, listed on Germany's Neuer Markt since 1999, has been admitted in dual trading to the European high-tech stock exchange Easdaq. The listing was initiated independently by Easdaq market makers according to the new Easdaq dual-trading rules in place since January. MorphoSys joins 19 other companies listed in this manner, among them Microsoft, Yahoo and Intel.

¿ NicOx S.A., of Sophia-Antipolis, France, reported a net loss of EUR3.6 million ($3.5 million) for 1999, up from EUR0.3 million in 1998. That outcome was due to a fall in revenues from EUR2.4 million to EUR0.2 million and an increase in research and development spending from EUR2.1 million to EUR3.1 million from one year to the next. The company had cash and cash equivalents of EUR32.2 million on Dec. 31, compared with EUR6 million a year earlier, thanks to the proceeds of the IPO completed on France's Nouveau Marchi last November, which netted the company EUR33.2 million.