¿ Aurora Biosciences Corp., of San Diego, received a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Cancer Institute to use its GenomeScreen technology to identify gene targets and compounds for breast cancer. The technology allows expression of any gene to be monitored in live cells.

¿ GenoPlex Inc., of Denver, gained an exclusive license to A2M gene variants genetically linked to Alzheimer¿s disease. The licenses came from Massachusetts General Hospital for discoveries made by Harvard neuorogeneticist Rudolph Tanzi. A2M discoveries were reported in the August 1998 issue of Nature Genetics.

¿ IDEC Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, received an additional $15 million from the exercise of overallotment options on convertible subordinated notes, bringing the total raised to $115 million. The notes will have an aggregate principal amount of $345 million due in 2019. Each $1,000 note can be converted into 6.734 common shares at an initial price of $50.17. The company can redeem the securities for cash after Feb. 16, 2004. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 4, 1999, p. 1.)

¿ Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said partner Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, of Radnor, Pa., submitted an investigational new drug application for ERA-923, a tissue-selective estrogen receptor modulator for treating breast cancer. The action triggered an undisclosed milestone payment to Ligand. Phase I trials are expected to begin this quarter.