¿ Amarillo Biosciences Inc., of Amarillo, Texas, will convert two promissory notes issued to Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories (HBL), of Okayama, Japan, into 946,094 Amarillo common shares at $2.99 each. The amount owed by Amarillo includes the principal amount of $2.6 million, and accrued interest of $237,526. The new shares will increase HBL¿s ownership in Amarillo to 34.3 percent of the 6.36 million post-conversion shares outstanding.

¿ Aronex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, started a Phase I/II trial of Atragen in patients with bladder cancer. Atragen is an injectable formulation of all-trans-retinoic acid, being developed for the treatment of hematologic malignances and solid tumors. In December, Aronex filed a new drug application for Atragen for the treatment of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia, for whom therapy with retinoin is necessary but for whom intravenous administration is required.

¿ Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., reported its marketing partner, Heritage Consumer Products LLC, of Brookfield, Conn., started shipping its Eucalyptamint 2000 arthritis pain relieving gel, where it will compete in the $210 million over-the-counter external analgesic market. Eucalyptamint 2000¿s formula is based on Atrix¿s mucocutaneous adsorption gel drug delivery system.

¿ Avax Technologies Inc., of Kansas City, reported that M-VAX, its autologous cell vaccine for the treatment of Stage 3 melanoma received orphan drug status from the FDA. With that designation, Avax is entitled to exclusive marketing rights for seven years in the U.S., following marketing approval. The company is currently enrolling patients for a pivotal registration trial at 25 to 30 sites throughout the U.S.

¿ Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., started a second multicenter Phase I/II trial of GVAX cancer vaccine for prostate cancer in about 40 patients who have failed hormone therapy. The first trial, which started in December, will enroll another 40 earlier-stage patients who have not yet received hormone therapy.

¿ Cypress Bioscience Inc., of San Diego, reported that the Prosborba column is now available for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. The product is a non-drug alternative for patients in need of therapeutic options. The Prosorba column is a polycarbonate cylinder that contains highly purified protein A immobilized on an inert silica matrix.

¿ LeukoSite Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Ilex Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, met with the FDA for a pre-biologics license application (BLA) meeting on the clinical development of Campath for the treatment of patients with refractory chronic lymphatic leukemia. The companies plan to file the BLA this summer. In addition, they will present results on their Phase II trial at the annual meeting of the European Hematology Association in Barcelona, Spain, in June.