* Atlantic Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Raleigh, N.C., said its 2-5A antisense compound inhibited growth and survival of human cancer cells. The compound works by limiting the action of telomerase, an enzyme whose expression is linked to cellular immortality and tumor formation. Telomerase is found in 70 to 80 percent of all malignant tumors but is undetectable in most normal cells. The research is published in the July 1 issue of Oncogene.
* Cortech Inc., of Denver, has been sued by Asset Value Fund LP, of Bedminister, N.J., which is trying to force the company to hold its annual shareholders' meeting. The last meeting was May 1997. Asset Value, the largest single stockholder in Cortech, also opposed the firm's merger with BioStar Inc., of Boulder, Colo. The proposed merger was abandoned in May 1998. (See BioWorld Today, May 11, 1998, p. 1.)
* The Liposome Co., of Princeton, N.J., said the Swedish regulatory authority cleared Abelcet for expanded use as a first-line treatment of candidiasis, a common invasive fungal infection that can be fatal in persons with suppressed immune systems. Abelcet is a lipid form of amphotericin B.
* Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., raised $12 million. A group of investors including Intersouth Partners, of Durham, N.C.; Polaris Venture Partners, of Boston; and Innotech Investments Ltd., of London, contributed $6 million in venture capital. The balance, in the form of venture leasing contracts, was raised from TransAmerica Business Credit, of Farmington, Conn., and Phoenixcor Financial Services, of Norwalk, Conn. Paradigm, founded in 1997, specializes in agricultural genomics.
* NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it started administering NPS 1506, a neuroprotective drug, to patients who suffered a stroke within a 48-hour period. The Phase Ib study will assess safety and tolerability of the treatment. NPS 1506 is a small molecule that is believed to bind to N-methyl-D-asparate receptors on neurons and protect them from the influx of destructive calcium to the brain.
* Oncor Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings will begin offering Oncor's Inform Her-2 neu gene test for breast cancer at facilities nationwide. The diagnostic was approved by the FDA in December 1997.
* Procept Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., has met all the requirements to keep its listing on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market. The company's trading symbol returns to PRCT.
* Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc., of Collegeville, Pa., received global rights to market an anti-clotting drug, Revasc, which is recombinant hirudin, from Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland. No financial terms were disclosed. Rorer is part of the Paris-based Rhone-Poulenc Group.
* Phytera Inc., of Worcester, Mass., raised $7.6 million in a private placement with investors in Denmark, Sweden and the U.S. The drug discovery company manipulates plant cells and marine microbes to modulate genomic expression of potential therapeutic chemicals not found in the originating species.
* Sheffield Pharmaceuticals Inc., of St. Louis, entered into a definitive agreement with Dublin, Ireland-based Elan Corp. plc, creating a wholly owned subsidiary of Sheffield to develop the companies' pulmonary drug delivery systems. As part of the agreement, Elan made a $17.5 million equity investment in Sheffield, purchasing $6 million in common shares and $11.5 million of 7 percent convertible preferred stock. Elan now owns 17 percent of Sheffield's outstanding shares. The first technologies to be developed will be Sheffield's Metered Solution Inhaler system for systemic disease applications, and Elan's proprietary Updas pulmonary delivery system.
* Therapeutic Antibodies Inc., of Nashville, Tenn., said it raised $3.15 million in a private placement of short-term interest bearing notes and warrants to investors, including the chairman and the CEO. The company said the financing will cover its immediate financial needs.
* Unigene Laboratories Inc., of Fairfield, N.J., said it received half of a planned $8 million private placement. The $4 million was raised from an undisclosed equity fund specializing in biotechnology stocks. The financing involved sale of 5 percent debentures convertible to common stock after six months.
* Vysis Inc., of Downers Grove, Ill. said its first group of TelVysion DNA probes to detect genetic abnormalities in telomeres for prenatal, congenital and cancer research is now available. Telomeres, segments of DNA at the tips of chromosomes, control cellular aging. The probes were developed in collaboration with the University of Chicago.