* Cepheid Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., along with five partners, has received a $5 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to design and manufacture advanced, miniaturized diagnostic systems for rapid detection and identification of biological pathogens. The partners are the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, in Fort Detrick, Md.; Prolinx Inc., of Seattle; Vysis Inc., of Downers Grove, Ill.; Life Technologies, of Rockville, Md.; and Lucas NovaSensor Inc., of Fremont, Calif. Development of a system that could identify multiple pathogens simultaneously would help in the prompt treatment of personnel exposed to biological agents and may be applied to future civilian infectious disease testing.
* Innovir Laboratories Inc., of New York, is restructuring operations to focus efforts on its functional ribozyme selection technologies, which were derived from discoveries at Yale University, in New Haven, Conn. The reorganization will result in a 70 percent reduction in Innovir's 1997 spending rate. The company also will close European operations in Goettingen, Germany, and Cambridge, U.K., if new investors are not found. Innovir is a subsidiary of Vimrx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wilmington, Del.
* Monsanto Co., of St. Louis, and Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., entered an agreement wherein Incyte will provide Monsanto with broad access to its gene expression microarray technology. The three-year deal provides Monsanto with the ability to analyze up to 500 million gene expression data points using Incyte's GEM microarrays. Financial terms were not disclosed. Incyte's technology will enable Monsanto to better understand the potential role of genes in treating human diseases and in enhancing crop quality and crop yield.
* NeXstar Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., received from the University of California at Berkeley an exclusive option to license the intellectual property rights to a therapeutic technology aimed at fighting cancer and infectious diseases. The technology, called CTLA-4 Blockade, is designed to stimulate the immune system to block the growth of tumors and foreign pathogens. So far, CTLA-4 Blockade has undergone preclinical studies.
* Protein Design Labs Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., reported positive preliminary results from a Phase I/II clinical trial of Zenapax (daclizumab), its humanized antibody, when used with standard immunosuppressive drugs in pediatric kidney transplantation. The trial enrolled 47 patients. Zenapax was found to be well tolerated, with no increased side effects and a low incidence (6 percent) of acute rejection episodes within six months of transplantation.
* Protein Polymer Technologies Inc., of San Diego, Calif., completed a $5.4 million private placement of Series E convertible preferred stock and warrants. The company previously closed the placement at $3.9 million. Shares were priced at $100 each and 54,000 shares were sold.
* Silicon Graphics Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., is spearheading "3D Crunch," a project aimed at analyzing more than 200,000 public protein sequencing and predicting 50,000 new protein structures. Findings will be accessible via the World Wide Web. Other participants include Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London; the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, also of London; The Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, of Geneva; and the Lyon Bioinformatics Center at the University Claude Bernard.
* Sibia Neurosciences Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., has responded to patient complaints of lightheadedness by lowering the dose levels and changing the dosing schedules for new patients in an ongoing Phase II study of SIB-1508Y. The company still expects to finish the trial by the end of the year, but the protocol could extend the timetable into 1999. SIB-1508-Y is a selective brain nicotinic cholinergic agonist for Parkinson's disease.
* Sugen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., started a Phase I/II study to investigate the safety and efficacy of SU5416 in patients with Kaposi's sarcoma who failed currently available therapy. The study, conducted at five U.S. medical centers specializing in AIDS-related malignancies, should enroll 30 patients. The study endpoints will include measurement of objective response and time to disease progression, in addition to safety and pharmacokinetic parameters. SU5416 is an angiogenesis inhibitor.