* Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and Eos Bio-technology Inc., of South San Francisco, Calif., signed agreements granting Eos access to Affymetrix's custom and standard GeneChip expression arrays for application to Eos' molecular genomics research efforts in cancer, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Under terms of the deal, privately held Eos will be able to purchase several thousand GeneChip probe arrays at discounted pricing over the next 30 months. In exchange for the discount, Affymetrix will receive Series C preferred stock amounting to an equity position in Eos of about 15 percent. In addition, Stephen Fodor, president and CEO of Affymetrix, will join Eos' board of directors.
* Allelix Biopharmaceuticals, of Mississauga, Ontar-io, initiated a 24-patient Phase I trial of ALX-0646, an anti-migraine product. The drug is a selective serotonin agonist designed to act on brain receptors to relieve migraine symptoms while minimizing the potential for serious cardiovascular events.
* Cellomics Inc., of Pittsburgh, and Carl Zeiss, of Jena, Germany, signed a worldwide agreement to combine Zeiss' ultra-high throughput screening systems with Cellomics' technology, including high-content screening systems (HCS) for lead optimization and target information. The deal is an exclusive worldwide co-marketing, manufacturing, sales and support agreement. According to the companies, Cellomics' HCS system "allows the fully automated quantification of temporal and spatial activity of targets and cellular processes using multicolor fluorescence in analyses in living cells." The companies expect the initial deliveries of the fully integrated UHTS and HCS systems at the beginning of 1999.
* Immune Response Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., released preclinical data showing its IR8101 induced strong gamma interferon and IgG2A antibody responses in mice. Similar responses, called a cell-mediated time immune response, have been found in animals and humans who have been exposed to the HIV virus but remain protected. The vaccine consists of gp120-depleted whole-killed HIV-1 antigens.
* Molecular Applications Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., completed a $9.5 million round of equity funding. Investors included Bay City Capital, of San Francisco; Coral Ventures, of Minneapolis; Delphi Ventures, of Palo Alto, Calif.; Medicus Venture Partners, of Palo Alto, Calif.; Morgenthaler Ventures, of Cleveland; and Timothy Springer, a private investor, of Newton, Mass. The company creates and markets to bioinformatics researchers scientific products and services designed to connect genome data to proteome structure and function.
* Vimrx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wilmington, Del., began a Phase I clinical trial of VM301, a topical compound for wound healing. The drug is a semisynthetic derivative of a compound obtained from the sea whip, a marine organism abundant in the Caribbean. Sea whip is harvested by trimming, so that the organism regrows.
* Visible Genetics Inc., of Toronto, completed a US$7 million debt financing with a group of private and institutional investors. The loan bears an interest rate of 10 percent and is due in 12 months. Investors received 420,000 warrants to purchase an equivalent number of common shares until April 29, 2003, at US$10 per share. Visible Genetics makes and markets automated DNA sequencing systems and complete diagnostic kits for the analysis of genes linked to disease.
* Vysis Inc., of Downers Grove, Ill., signed a collaborative research agreement with the University Hospital of Vrije Universiteit, in Amsterdam, to develop fetal-cell identification markers that will be used with Vysis' technology to detect genetic abnormalities in maternal blood. Vysis obtained the exclusive rights to commercialize these fetal-cell markers as part of a non-invasive prenatal test that can be conducted as early as six weeks.
* Xoma Corp., of Berkeley, Calif., said its Phase I study of hu1124 (antiCD11a) in patients with psoriasis demonstrated "unexpected" clinical results, showing the antibody-based treatment well-tolerated at a single dose. Based on the results, the company has designed and started a Phase II clinical study in Canada. Earlier this year, Xoma received $10 million from Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, to fund development of the drug. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 9, 1998, p. 1.)