* CoCensys Inc., of Irvine, Calif., has retained Hambrecht & Quist LLC, of San Francisco, to explore strategic alternatives for the company. H&Q was the lead manager of the company's initial public offering in January 1993.
* Dendreon Corp., of Seattle, and Kirin Brewery Co., of Tokyo, announced the signing of a corporate development and marketing partnership. The aim of the partnership is the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics based on Dendreon's dendritic cell technology, for which Kirin will become the exclusive marketing partner in Japan and many other Asian and Oceanic countries.
* EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., signed a collaborative sublicensing agreement for the advancement of thalidomide drug development with Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J. Celgene has acquired exclusive worldwide rights to EntreMed's patents and technology for thalidomide, as well as FDA orphan drug designations achieved by EntreMed. A joint steering committee has been formed of scientists and executives from both companies to ease the transfer of sponsorship of ongoing clinical trials with thalidomide in a variety of cancer indications.
* LaJolla Pharmaceutical Co., of San Diego, disclosed positive results in primates tested with the company's new xenotransplantation Toleragen candidate, LJP 920. Toleragen molecules are designed to inactivate specific immune system B cells that produce the destructive antibodies that lead to organ transplant rejection. LJP 920 was well-tolerated and reduced the antibody levels on a short-term basis. Four primates were given seven injections or placebo in the study, which was the first in a series of experiments in primates and mice.
* Sepracor Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., said the company has offered and priced a new issue of $300 million of convertible subordinated debentures due 2005. They will have an annual interest of 7 percent, convertible into common stock at $124.875 per share, and will not be redeemable for three years. The company may also issue up to an additional $45 million of debentures pursuant to an option granted to the initial purchaser.
* Targeted Genetics Inc., of Seattle, began a Phase I trial with an aerosolized version of tgAAV-CF, the company's gene-therapy product for the treatment of cystic fibrosis. The trial, at seven centers in the U.S., is being conducted with Medeva plc, of London, under an agreement disclosed last month. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 25, 1998, p. 1.)
* ZymeTx Inc., of Oklahoma City, filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to 2,384,431 shares of its common stock. These shares, owned by existing shareholders, will be offered in the open market at prevailing prices. This offering is not being underwritten and does not represent a new financing.