¿ Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its gene-targeted drug, AP1903, was granted orphan drug status for the treatment of acute graft-vs.-host disease (GvHD). AP1903 is a proprietary small-molecule drug used in the Ariad Regulated Gene Expression Technology GvHD product. A Phase II trial in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia undergoing bone marrow transplantation will start soon. Ariad's stock (NASDAQ:ARIA) rose 36 percent, closing Thursday at $23.65, up $6.312.

¿ Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., and Madison, N.J.-based Schering-Plough Corp. said that the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products (CPMP) of the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products issued a positive opinion recommending approval of Remicade (infliximab) with methotrexate for the reduction of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in patients with active disease when the response to disease-modifying drugs has been inadequate. In November, Remicade in combination with methotrexate received FDA approval for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis patients who have had an inadequate response to methotrexate. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 11, 1999, p. 1.)

¿ Digene Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., said that the UK will pilot the use of human papilloma virus (HPV) testing as part of the National Health Service cervical screening program, which screens more than 4 million women yearly. The pilot will run for one year starting this summer and will be given to women who have mild or borderline Pap smear results.

¿ Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Doylestown, Pa., started preclinical research into converting its pulmonary surfactant, Surfaxin, into aerosolized forms for the possible treatment of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute and chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.

¿ DoubleTwist Inc., of Oakland, Calif., said Berlex Laboratories Inc., of Wayne, N.J., has licensed its Clustering and Alignment Tools. The computational tools enable companies to quickly cluster and align high volumes of expressed sequence tags and genomic sequences into full-length gene sequences suitable for gene indexing and other applications in drug discovery. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said New York-based Pfizer Inc. subscribed to its GeneExpress database for predictive toxicology applications. Pfizer will gain access to the database and pay annual subscription fees. The GeneExpress reference database suite is the world's most complete survey of gene expression in human and experimental animal tissues for life science applications, the company said.

¿ ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New York, hired the investment banking firm of Warburg Dillon Read LLC, of New York, to explore strategic alternatives in order to increase shareholder value. Although a variety of options will be explored, the principal areas of focus will be the possible disposition of the company's Eastern European operations and the three businesses of ICN's Biomedicals group.

¿ ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its private placement was fully subscribed and resulted in gross proceeds of C$20 million (US$13.73 million). A syndicate, led by Dlough Investments, and co-led by Yorkton Securities, of Toronto, and Haywood Securities, of Vancouver, British Columbia, sold 3.6 million special warrants. Each warrant will entitle the holder to purchase a share of common stock at C$6.50 (US$4.46) each.

¿ ImClone Systems Inc., of New York raised $200 million by selling five-year convertible subordinated notes. They are convertible into common shares at $110.18, a 17.9 percent premium over the stock's (NASDAQ:IMCL) closing price Wednesday of $93.228. The company originally planned to raise $150 million. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 22, 2000, p. 2.)

¿ ImmunoGen Inc., of Norwood, Mass., entered into a research collaboration with the State University of New York at Stony Brook to develop novel taxane compounds that can be used as new effector molecules for its tumor-activated prodrug (TAP) technology. Joint discoveries will be owned by both parties. ImmunoGen has the exclusive option to license Stony Brook's ownership stake. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif. will expand its agreement with Abbott Laboratories Inc., of Abbott Park, Ill., to include access to Incyte's in silico single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) program. The SNP platform will help Abbott in understanding the genetic differences between individuals and how those differences can affect disease susceptibility and drug response. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Ixion Biotechnology Inc., of Alachua, Fla., received a small business innovation research grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for its research titled, "Digestion of Food Oxalate."

¿ Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., started a Phase II trial of LDP-02 for Crohn's disease. LDP-02 is a humanized monoclonal antibody for the potential treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. The multicenter trial will take place in Canada in patients with mild to moderate Crohn's disease. LDP-02 is being developed in collaboration with South San Francisco-based Genentech Inc. The company recently completed a Phase I/II study for ulcerative colitis.

¿ NexMed Inc., of Robbinsville, N.J., is dosing about 300 patients at 12 sites in its U.S. Phase II program of Alprox-TD topical treatment for male erectile dysfunction. The studies require the patients to do multiple home applications and keep a daily report diary. In a Phase III trial in China, NexMed reported an overall 75 percent efficacy rate and an average onset time of 10 to 15 minutes.

¿ Organogenesis Inc., of Canton, Mass. raised $9.4 million by placing 688,925 shares. The company's goal was to raise $6.2 million, but the offering, priced Wednesday at $14 per share, was oversubscribed. Gruntal & Co., of New York, acted as placement agent. There are now 30.6 million shares outstanding. The company also said that its Hybrid Capture II hepatitis B virus test was approved in France and Switzerland.

¿ Vysis Inc., of Downers Grove, Ill., entered into an exclusive royalty-bearing license agreement with New Haven, Conn.-based Yale University, covering Yale's European patent titled, "Chromosomal In Situ Suppression Hybridization." The technology covered by the license complements Vysis' intellectual property portfolio for both the existing Gray-Pinkel patent rights exclusively licensed from the University of California and the Vysis direct label probe patents covering its core fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) technology platform. Vysis also will include the technology in its non-exclusive licensing program for various FISH patent rights. Financial terms were not disclosed.