* Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., and AVI BioPharma Inc., of Portland, Ore., signed a research license and option agreement to develop fully human antibodies to human chorionic gonadotropin. AVI will use Abgenix's XenoMouse technology to generate product candidates for cancer. Abgenix received an undisclosed payment and could receive milestone payments and royalties.
* Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., issued 478,120 shares of Series B preferred stock to Hoechst Marion Roussel Inc., of Frankfurt, Germany, resulting in proceeds of $5.75 million. Each share is convertible into one common share. The stock deal is connected to the formation of the Hoechst-Ariad Genomics Center LLC, which earlier led to Hoechst's purchase of $24 million in preferred stock.
* Aronex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, reported initiation of a Phase I/II study combining Atragen (injectable all-trans retinoic acid) and interferon alpha in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma.
* Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, entered into an agreement with Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc., of Collegeville, Pa., to provide a generic compound screening library consisting of small-molecule synthetic organic compound libraries. Financial terms of the two-year deal were not disclosed.
* Creative BioMolecules Inc., of Hopkinton, Mass., licensed exclusive rights to the growth factor GDF-1 from Cambridge NeuroScience Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., which will receive undisclosed cash and royalty considerations in the deal. GDF-1 is a member of the TGF-beta family of factors, and could be useful in treating nervous system disorders.
* Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., sold certain laboratory and manufacturing facilities to a subsidiary of Purdue Pharma LP, of Norwalk, Conn., for $4 million. The companies also signed a three-year deal, under which Cytogen will continue to manufacture the diagnostic products ProstaScint for prostate cancer and OncoScint for colorectal and ovarian cancers. Both are monoclonal-antibody-based imaging agents.
* Interferon Sciences Inc., of New Brunswick, N.J., said stockholders approved a one-for-five reverse split of the stock. The shares will trade for 20 days under the IFSCD symbol before reversing back to IFSC.
* LXR Biotechnology Inc., of Richmond, Calif., reached an agreement under which Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Gencell, the gene therapy division of Collegeville, Pa.-based Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (RPR), will evaluate the cytoprotective role of the SARP-1 gene in heart muscle cells that have been deprived of oxygen. RPR has rights of first negotiation to acquire SARP-1 technology for cardiovascular indications.
* Organogenesis Inc., of Canton, Mass., and Novavax, of Columbia, Md., established a collaboration to combine Organogenesis' living skin technology with the transdermal research technology at Novavax. Specific terms or goals of the collaboration were not disclosed.
* SuperGen Inc., of San Ramon, Calif., expanded its Phase III studies of RFS 2000 to treat pancreatic cancer. The trial is comprised of two studies. The first compares RFS 2000 to Gemzar (gemcitabine) in patients who have not had prior chemotherapy. The second compares RFS 2000 to 5-FU, in patients who have previously been treated with gemcitabine. Five-FU is a drug that has been the traditional treatment against pancreatic cancer. Gemzar is marketed by Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis. RFS 2000 is a second-generation, topoisomerase-I inhibitor that causes breaks in the DNA of rapidly dividing cancer cells, thus destroying them.
* Xoma Ltd., of Berkeley, Calif., moved its legal domicile from Delaware to Bermuda. The move is intended to enhance long-term shareholder value, said Jack Castello, chairman, president and CEO of Xoma.