¿ Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., received approval from the French Ministry of Health to market to blood banks throughout France it combination nucleic acid test to simultaneously detect human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and hepatitis C virus. The combination HIV/HCV test was developed by Gen-Probe Inc., of San Diego, and marketed by Chiron.

¿ CuraGen Corp., of New Haven, Conn., said it expanded its proprietary database to include more than 70,000 novel human sequences that are organized into large gene segments or assemblies and are not found in publicly available databases. This database will serve as the basis for developing protein therapeutic drugs, human antibody drug targets, and for identifying small-molecule drug targets.

¿ Cypros Pharmaceutical Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said the FDA granted fast-track designation for Cordox, the company's treatment of acute ischemic complications associated with coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG). Cordox, a natural intermediate of anaerobic energy generation, is in a Phase III trial in sickle cell anemia patients and recently completed a Phase II trial in CABG patients.

¿ Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., started work on a sequencing contract for researchers at Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Genome Therapeutics will generate sequence information to support sequencing projects already under way at Biogen.

¿ ImmunoGen Inc., of Norwood, Mass. said the FDA accepted its investigational new drug application for huC242-DM1/SB-408075, its lead tumor-activated prodrug for the treatment of colorectal and pancreatic cancers. The FDA's action prompted a $4 million milestone payment from collaborator SmithKline Beecham plc, of London. ImmunoGen's stock (NASDAQ:IMGN) gained about 91 cents, or 45 percent, on the news.

¿ Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., reported at The Institute For Genomics Research's conference in Miami that there are nearly twice as many human genes than previously estimated. The company's research indicated the genome contains about 140,00 human genes.

¿ InKine Pharmaceutical Co., of Blue Bell, Pa., secured $3 million in a private placement of 2.3 million new, unregistered shares of common stock and a four-year warrant for 761,538 additional shares at a price of $1.78. The funding gives the company more than a year of cash and allows it to continue its commercialization plan for Diacol, its lead drug candidate for use prior to colonoscopy. The company plans to file a new drug application later this year.

¿ InSite Vision Inc., of Alameda, Calif., signed a glaucoma genetic research agreement with Claes Wadelius of Uppsala University in Sweden to investigate the role of the TIGR gene in primary open angle glaucoma and exfoliative glaucoma patients in a Swedish population. InSite's ISV-205 is specifically designed to inhibit the production of the TIGR protein.

¿ Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, of Radnor, Pa., will proceed with preclinical development of WAY160910, a non-steroidal progesterone receptor antagonist. The decision triggered an undisclosed milestone payment to Ligand as part of their research agreement signed in September 1994. WAY160910 is the third compound resulting from the collaboration.

¿ Nexell Therapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif., launched in Europe its CE-marketed version of the Isolex 300I Positive/Negative Stem Cell Selection System. The Isolex 300I is fully automated, integrating all steps of the stem cell selection process into one procedure on a single instrument.

¿ Oxis Therapeutics Inc., of Portland, Ore., said BXT-51072, its lead compound for the treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, showed statistically significant results in a Phase IIa trial of 20 patients in two dose groups. The endpoint was the Colitis Activity Index at 28 days. Both groups showed a statistically and clinically significant improvement in CAI at 28 days with improvements in symptoms being reported as soon as seven days. A trend toward a dose response was seen. The company said it is getting financing for further development and intends to begin a follow-up study soon.

¿ Protein Polymer Technologies Inc., of San Diego, was notified that its stock was delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market effective Sept. 20 due to the company's failure to meet the required net tangible assets and minimum bid price. The company's common stock may be eligible to trade on the OTC Bulletin Board.

¿ Vasogen Inc., of Toronto, received approval from the FDA to start a controlled double-blind clinical trial for VAS971, its immune modulation therapy to protect vital organs during cardiovascular surgery. The safety and efficacy trial will take place at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Some 40 patients will be enrolled who are schedule to undergo major vascular surgery. VAS971 is designed to target the destructive immune and inflammatory processes that occur in ischemia/reperfusion injury.