* Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, and Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., reported research on the three-dimensional X-ray crystal structure of erythropoietin (EPO) bound to its receptor. The structure offers insight into the ability of human EPO to activate cell signaling pathways involved in stem cell maturation and red-blood-cell production. The research confirms that EPO binds simultaneously to two receptors and that dimerizing the receptors forms a stable complex. * BioChem Pharma Inc., of Laval, Quebec, accepted a lead antiviral compound from Structural Bioinformatics Inc. (SBI), of San Diego, triggering a milestone payment to SBI. BioChem will further develop the compound and pay SBI future fees based on the fulfillment of additional milestones. The companies have been collaborating since August 1997.
* Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., has made Thalomid (thalidomide) available nationwide for the treatment of the cutaneous manifestations of moderate to severe erythema nodosum leprosum, a debilitating condition associated with the leprosy. Celgene received FDA marketing clearance in July.
* Diatide Inc., of Londonderry, N.H., received a $2 million milestone payment from Nycomed Amersham as a result of the FDA's approval of AcuTect, Diatide's first product to win such approval. The companies plan to launch the imaging agent next week.
* Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, completed the $150 million acquisition of Eastman Kodak Co.'s NanoSystems LLC subsidiary, based in King of Prussia, Pa. NanoSystems, which specializes in improved formulations of poorly water soluble drugs, will become part of Elan Pharmaceutical Technologies.
* Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., and Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., inked a genomic data collaboration. Incyte will provide data from custom and prefabricated DNA microarrays in exchange for technology access and per-array fees. Schering-Plough also gains access to Incyte's LifeSeq gene sequence and expression database and the LifeSeq FL database of full-length genes. Financial terms were not disclosed.
* Medarex Inc., of Annandale, N.J., received a $15 million principal payment plus approximately $500,000 in interest from Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif. The payment satisfies a note issued in connection with a cross-license and settlement agreement with GenPharm International Inc., now a wholly owned subsidiary of Medarex.
* Palatin Technologies Inc., of Princeton, N.J., initiated Phase III clinical trials of LeuTech that will enroll 200 patients at 10 centers. The trials employ the infection imaging agent for use in the diagnosis of equivocal, or difficult to diagnose, appendicitis. Palatin plans to submit a marketing application to the FDA following the anticipated completion of the studies in the first quarter of 1999.
* PathoGenesis Corp., of Seattle, obtained an exclusive worldwide license from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, to develop and market PA-1806, an antibiotic for inhalation. Working through an iron-transport pathway, the drug (formerly called BMS-180680) is a patented member of the monobactam class of antibiotics and has shown activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and other Gram-negative bacteria.
* SangStat Medical Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., closed the acquisition of Imtix, the organ transplant business of Pasteur Merieux Connaught, of Lyon, France. The resulting wholly owned subsidiary, known as Imtix-SangStat, is dedicated to the development, manufacturing and sale of transplantation products in more than 60 countries outside of North America and is expected to generate sales of between $22 million and $28 million in 1998.
* Signal Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, inked two exclusive license agreements with the University of Massachusetts Medical School for several mitogen-activated protein kinase drug targets and related technology. Signal gains rights to U.S. Patent No. 5,736,381, issued for MKK6 and MKK7, two proteins involved in modulating the p38 and JNK gene regulation pathways, as well as JIP-1, another JNK regulatory protein. Signal also has exclusive rights to four issued patents covering other molecular targets in the JNK gene regulation pathway. The company now has a portfolio of 22 gene-regulating drug targets.
* Techniclone Corp., of Tustin, Calif., launched a 40-patient Phase II multicenter human clinical study of Tumor Necrosis Therapy, under development for treatment of malignant glioma. The study will investigate the effects of TNT on both newly diagnosed patients and those with recurrent disease.