¿ Akkadix Corp., of La Jolla, Calif., and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland are expanding and extending a research and license agreement signed in April 1999. Plant scientists at the university will undertake a large-scale discovery program using a targeted activation tagging approach. The method will be used to identify genes controlling traits important for agriculture. Akkadix will provide research funding for three years, and development arising under the program will be available to Akkadix on an exclusive worldwide basis for all crops.

¿ Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., said the National Institutes of Health awarded a $1 million grant to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center to fund a multicenter Phase II study of Alexion¿s anti-inflammatory complement inhibitor drug candidate 5G1.1 in patients with lupus nephritis.

¿ AlphaVax Inc., of Durham, N.C., said it completed its Series B private investment offering, raising $8.2 million in its first institutional investment. Burton Advisers Ltd., of London, acted as the exclusive placement agent for the financing round.

¿ AltaRex Corp., of Waltham, Mass., said OvaRex MAb induced a tumor-specific cellular immune response in the first ovarian cancer patient to be tested for this type of response from the company¿s open-label Phase II trial. The result is consistent with the company¿s previous analyses that indicate OvaRex MAb is stimulating both the humoral and cellular networks, the two major arms of the immune system.

¿ Alza Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., said the FDA approved the company¿s new drug application for Viadur (leuprolide acetate implant), a once-yearly implant for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

¿ Amrad Corp. Ltd., of Victoria, Australia, said it received clearance to begin clinical trials with AM336 to treat uncontrollable severe pain and AM365 to treat hepatitis B virus infection. The Phase I trials will occur in hospitals in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

¿ American Biogenetic Sciences Inc., of Copiague, N.Y., said it is making available its patented enabling technology, the antigen-free mouse colony, to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that wish to use it for monoclonal antibody production. The company would provide the technology in return for a service fee, developmental milestone payments and potential royalties.

¿ American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., said ReFacto Antihemophilic Factor, a therapy for hemophilia A, was approved for marketing by the FDA. ReFacto was developed by Genetics Institute, of Cambridge, Mass., a company which AHP owns through its Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories division. Genetics Institute expects to launch the product in the third quarter when commercial quantities are available.

¿ BTG International Inc., of Gulph Mills, Pa., a subsidiary of BTG plc, of London, said it signed a license agreement with Avigen Inc., of Alameda, Calif., covering the use of the gene for Factor IX in Avigen¿s proprietary gene therapy delivery system. The gene is being developed for the treatment of hemophilia B. Under terms of the agreement, BTG and its clients will receive a significant up-front payment and milestone payments.

¿ Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, said its novel cancer drug treatment, Arsenic Trioxide, was granted fast-track designation by the FDA for the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia.

¿ Ceres Inc., of Los Angeles, and Genset SA, of Paris, completed a major gene sequencing program in Arabidopsis thaliana. Ceres has been feeding its full-length gene sequence information from plant species through its integrated assembly line of functional genomics technologies.

¿ Digene Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it received marketing clearance from the FDA for its Hybrid Capture II chlamydia/gonorrhea test. The test is indicated for use in women, with or without symptoms of infection, to identify or confirm the presence of chlamydia or gonorrhea.

¿ Dow AgroSciences LLC, of Indianapolis, and Proteome Systems Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, extended their joint research agreement in proteomics. Proteome Systems will apply its bioinformatics expertise to construct several new proteomic databases for the research and discovery program.

¿ GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc., of Toronto, said its wholly owned subsidiary, GenSci OrthoBiologics Inc., filed an antitrust suit against Osteotech Inc., of Eatontown, N.J. in federal district court in Los Angeles. The complaint alleges Osteotech is leveraging its position as the leading processor of human tissue to control the related market for osteogenic bone implants. It also alleges unfair competition.

¿ Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., and Virco, of Baltimore, are collaborating to promote Virco¿s HIV resistance monitoring tests and services designed to characterize the susceptibility to available drugs of HIV. Gilead will promote the Virco portfolio of phenotypic and genotypic tests and interpretive services to HIV treating physicians in the U.S., under terms of the agreement. The two companies anticipate extending the collaboration to Europe and Australia in the coming months.

¿ Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., completed its private placement of $300 million principal amount of 3.75 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2007. The notes are convertible into HGS common stock at a price equal to $219 per share. HGS has granted the initial purchaser of the notes a 30-day right to purchase an additional $50 million principal amount of notes. (See BioWorld Today, March 7, 2000, p. 2.)