* Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, received FDA clearance to begin Phase I trials for micellar paclitaxel in treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The double-blind study will be conducted at the University of Los Angeles at California.
* ArQule Inc., of Medford, Mass., said Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals, of Radnor, Pa., made a $2 million equity investment in ArQule, to collaborate on the discovery and optimization of drug candidates in a minimum of 15 of Wyeth-Ayerst's selected drug targets. Their deal, worth up $100 million, was signed last summer. Wyeth-Ayerst is a division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J.
* ChemTrak Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., signed an agreement with Pfizer Inc., of New York, to develop a disposable, quantitative, finger stick whole blood test for one of Pfizer's drugs in development using ChemTrak's AccuMeter technology.
* Neose Technologies Inc., of Horsham, Pa., entered into an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, to develop and manufacture complex carbohydrates for two oncologic vaccines being developed by Bristol-Myers. Neose will develop the products using its multi-transferase reaction technology, which uses natural enzymes to produce complex carbohydrates.
* Nexia Biotechnologies Inc., of Montreal, signed an agreement with Genzyme Transgenics Corp. (GTC), of Framingham, Mass., for development of a commercial purification process for GTC's protein biopharmaceutical, designated NEX41. The agreement follows an earlier deal made last fall, for use of Nexia's BELE goat system for development of transgenic goats capable of producing the protein in their milk.
* NeXstar Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., said the Spanish Ministry of Health approved expanded indications for AmBisome, a liposomal formulation of amphotericin B. The new, broader label for the antifungal product includes first-line treatment in confirmed systemic fungal infections; empirical treatment for fungal infections in severely neutropenic patients; and treatment for visceral leishmaniasis in immune-compromised patients who have failed amphotericin B or other conventional therapy.
* Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., received a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will be used to seek a bioavailable inhibitor of plasmepsin, an aspartyl protease believed to play a key role in the pathogenesis of malaria.
* Small Molecule Therapeutics Inc. (SMT), of Monmouth Junction, N.J., entered a sponsored research collaboration and licensing agreement with the State University of New York at Stony Brook. SMT is providing funding in exchange for an option for an exclusive license to any novel targets that are discovered in the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-kB) signaling pathway. SMT has developed a cell-based, functional screen to identify signaling proteins in the NF-kB activation pathway.
* Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, executed a $7 million equity financing facility. Investors will purchase up to $7 million of 5.5 percent convertible preferred stock over a period of nine months, if Shaman elects to use the facility after listing of the underlying shares and satisfaction of certain other conditions.