* Aerogen Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., raised $18 million in a private placement. The company will use the money to further development of its inhalation drug delivery technology. Aerogen is at the clinical or preclinical stage in applying the technology to delivery of small molecule compounds, including B agonists, steroids, insulin and other proteins.
* Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., disclosed the first findings from preclinical studies of CEP-701, a compound for the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The drug, one of a series of specific receptor trk kinase inhibitors derived from the indolocarbazole K252a. It demonstrated anti-tumor activity in five of six pancreatic tumors transplanted into mice.
* ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New York, said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has told the company it will drop a three-year investigation of Milan Panic, chairman and CEO, regarding alleged insider trading. The SEC was seeking fines and other restitution from Panic and ICN, in connection with circumstances in which he sold ICN shares in 1994.
* IGEN International Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it completed development of a method that can be used to discover drugs for disease treatment, based on gene regulation. Compounds identified may provide drugs for a wide range of diseases. IGEN said it would add the new method to its high-throughput drug discovery system for screening chemical and biological libraries for new drugs, and will begin marketing the new method immediately.
* Molecular Dynamics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Beckman Coulter Inc., of Fullerton, Calif., said they are collaborating on a development of a robotic system to integrate and automate the operation of multiple MegaBACE 1000 DNA sequencing units. The system will allow genome centers, pharmaceutical firms and other organizations with large-scale sequencing requirements to link up to four MegaBACE instruments, thus processing 4,600 samples and sequencing over 2 million DNA bases in a 24-hour period, with unattended operation.
* Sugen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., began a Phase II study with SU101 in non-small cell lung cancer and a Phase II trial in hormone-refractory prostate cancer, which will combine the drug with mitoxantrone. SU101 is a small molecule inhibitor that blocks signaling of the platelet-derived growth factor receptor. Another compound, SU5416, an Flk-1/KDR/angiogenesis inhibitor, is in Phase I trials for treatment of solid tumor cancers and Phase I/II trials for Kaposi's sarcoma.
* Therion Biologics Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., has acquired from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, in New York, the rights to NY-ESO-1, a novel antigen expressed in a number of major tumor types such as breast, bladder and lung cancer. Therion has exclusively optioned the ESO-1 gene for use in the company's pox virus vectors, to create immunotherapeutic products for a broad range of malignancies.