* Agritope Inc., of Portland, Ore., entered into separate agreements with The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, of San Diego, and the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology of the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, providing for a five-year research collaboration in the field of functional genomics. Under the program, called Acttag Gene Discovery, the two institutes will generate genetically modified seed that will be screened for a variety of traits, such as disease resistance, insect resistance, new morphologies, abiotic stress tolerance, improved flowering characteristics, herbicide tolerance and improved nutritional qualities.
* Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, acquired an exclusive license from the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, for intellectual property, including U.S. patent No. 5,580,898, for the use of paclitaxel in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
* Avanir Pharmaceuticals, of San Diego, received an equity line for up to $10 million over a two-year period through the sale of its common stock to an unnamed, New York City-based private investment firm. Avanir can set threshold prices, at or above which the company will sell its stock to the investor. No transaction will take place if the stock price is below $1.064 per share. The equity line will be a source of working capital to continue allergy and asthma research programs and to fund potential in-licensing and acquisition of new pharmaceutical products.
* Caliper Technologies Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., reported that Amgen Inc., also of Mountain View, became the second drug company to subscribe to Caliper's high-throughput screening Technology Access Program (TAP). The program provides multiyear access to successive generations of Caliper's LabChip nanoscale screening systems for biochemical and cellular pharmaceutical targets. Terms were not disclosed.
* Epicyte Pharmaceutical Inc., of San Diego, raised $4.5 million in venture capital financing. The company will use the financing to start Phase II trials of a drug delivery platform for treating lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients, and to develop proprietary antibodies to prevent and treat neonatal herpes.
* LXR Biotechnology Inc., of Richmond, Calif., reached an agreement in principle to settle certain pending class action securities litigation. This agreement provides for the dismissal of all claims against LXR and the five former LXR directors named as defendants in the three class action lawsuits. The settlement amount is $500,000, of which about $155,000 will be paid by LXR and the rest by the company's insurer.
* Pharmadigm Inc., of Salt Lake City, entered into an agreement with Mipharm SpA, of Milan, Italy, for the European development of PB005, an injectable product for use by hospitals in the management of acute inflammation. The agreement includes an equity investment by Mipharm in Pharmadigm as well as funding of the clinical trials and registration in Europe in the fields of acute asthma, burn therapy and surgical wound healing. In return, Mipharm gets the exclusive right to market PB005 in Italy, the Vatican and San Marino.
* Proneuron Biotechnologies Inc., of Los Angeles, reported its activated immune-cell therapies promoted regrowth of severed nerve fibers and protected nerve cells from secondary damage triggered by an initial injury. The animal findings, which were published in the January issue of Nature Medicine, supported the company's autologous immune cell therapy, in which the subject's own immune cells are removed, activated and returned to the central nervous system, where they stimulate healing.
* Regen Biologics Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., completed a $6 million round of private financing, consisting of a $4 million preferred equity investment and a $2 million line of credit from Sulzermedica, of Barr, Switzerland. The funding will be used to prepare for the launch of Regen's Meniscus Implant for the knee in Europe in 2000.
* Trimeris Inc., of Durham, N.C., released preliminary results from TRI-003, a Phase II trial of the T-20 fusion inhibitor, and will present them at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Chicago. In the trials, T-20 was given for 28 days to 78 HIV-infected adults. Preliminary results show that viral load was reduced in subjects with extensive prior antiretroviral exposure and high viral loads.