* CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., received clearance to initiate a pivotal Phase III trial of ranolazine at sites in Canada, Poland and the Czech Republic, complementing the efforts under way in the U.S. The drug is being developed to treat chronic stable angina. A second pivotal study, which is needed for regulatory filing, will involve combination treatment and is expected to begin later this year.
* Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, signed an agreement with Schwarz Pharma AG, of Monheim, Germany, for development and distribution of the growth hormone products Nutropin AQ and Nutropin Depot in Europe and other countries outside North America and Japan. Schwarz will be responsible for seeking European approvals. Launch is projected for 2001.
* IGEN International Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, will acquire its high-throughput drug-discovery system, called the M-Series, which is in the final stages of development. The deal marks the ninth commitment from a biopharmaceutical company to the system, and the second by Novo Nordisk.
* InSite Vision Inc., of Alameda, Calif., signed an agreement to license IV-205, a product for treating glaucoma, to Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc., of Bridgewater, N.J. Pharmacia & Upjohn will take over development after the ongoing Phase II trial. InSite received an up-front equity investment and potentially will receive equity-based milestones, payments for technical support and royalties on sales. InSite estimated the deal also will reduce its net expenses by $3.2 million this year.
* Neurobiological Technologies Inc., of Richmond, Calif., was awarded a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research Grant by the National Institutes of Health, to continue development of its anti-edema agent, Xerecept, for treating peritumoral brain edema. The money will be used to continue patient enrollment and treatment in a Phase II trial.
* OraVax Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Peptide Therapeutics Group plc, of Cambridge, England, amended their November 1998 merger agreement to increase the stock and cash paid to OraVax from $15 million to $20 million. The additional $5 million will be paid in Peptide stock. The merger is expected to be competed this quarter.
* Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Corona, Calif., completed its acquisition of TheraTech Inc., of Salt Lake City. TheraTech, a drug-delivery company, now is a wholly owned Watson subsidiary. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 28, 1998, p. 2.)