Atairgin Technologies Inc., of Irvine, Calif., expanded its oncology program at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to include research of a therapeutic agent for ovarian cancer. The university's molecular oncology and biology departments will focus on Atairgin's platform technology in lysophospholipids, which are bioactive lipid regulators in which high levels in abnormal tissues may provide early detection of ovarian cancer.

Cellex Biosciences Inc., of Minneapolis, completed its reorganization plan, approved in July by federal bankruptcy court, and received the new over-the-counter stock symbol, CLXBV. Under the plan, $1.1 million of debtor-in-possession financing from Biovest LLC was converted to 1 million shares of new common stock, while all of the company's existing stock, options, and warrants were deemed canceled.

CuraGen Corp., of New Haven, Conn., discovered more than 55,000 genetic variations in human genes. The company presented the findings Monday at an IBC drug discovery conference in Boston. The discovery will be useful in predicting genetic susceptibility to disease and the reasons certain people react to certain medications. CuraGen now has a database of 120,000 genetic variations.

Desmos Inc. and TheraCyte Inc., both of San Diego, are collaborating to explore whether their combined technologies could be used as a treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes. Desmos will offer pancreatic islets through its proprietary expansion and differentiation technologies, and TheraCyte will provide the immunoprotective barrier through its proprietary encapsulation technology. With transplants, company researchers hope to restore functional islets to diabetic patients.

Diatide Inc., of Londonderry, N.H., received $2 million in new funds from the company's co-promotion partner, Nycomed Amersham plc, of London, and expects on Aug. 20 another $5 million in a loan agreement. The money comes as the result of the recent approval of NeoTect lung cancer diagnostic imaging product. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 5, 1999, p. 1.)

Immunex Corp., of Seattle, said a 60-patient double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of Enbrel in patients with psoriatic arthritis indicated the drug improved signs and symptoms of the disease as well as increased functional ability, when compared to placebo. A formal presentation of the data will be made later at a scientific meeting. Immunex said trial results will form the basis for discussions with the FDA regarding the filing of a supplemental biologics application for expanding the drug's label.

Pasteur Merieux Connaught, of Toronto, signed a discovery agreement with Zycos Inc. (formerly called Pangaea Pharmaceuticals Inc.), of Cambridge, Mass., to identify antigens that may help fight cancer. Pasteur Merieux tests and markets therapeutic vaccines that target tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), molecules found on the surface of tumor cells. Zycos develops methods of quickly identifying TAAs, also called epitopes.

Pentose Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA to test the Inactine viral inactivation technology in red blood cell concentrates used for transfusion. The company's studies indicate that Inactine compounds eliminate viruses in red blood cells without affecting cellular function or integrity.

Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., acquired all of the ribozyme-based intellectual property assets of Innovir Laboratories, a subsidiary of Nexell Therapeutics Inc., of Irvine, Calif. The acquisition includes 28 patents and applications, as well as two trademarks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., received approval to market Zadaxin in Brunei and Sri Lanka for the treatment of hepatitis B. The drug that boosts the immune system has now been approved for marketing in 16 countries.