* Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., completed its $50 million placement of preferred stock to Glaxo Wellcome Americas Inc., a division of Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London. Glaxo is Affymetrix's principal investor. The deal was announced last month and required a 30-day waiting period to take effect. (See BioWorld Today, March 11, 1998, p. 1.)
* Alkermes Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and Alza Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., entered into an agreement for two of Alza's drug delivery technologies: RingCap and Dose Sipping Technology. Alkermes gets worldwide rights and will take over research and development of products incorporating them. Alza will receive upfront payments and a portion of Alkermes' revenues from the products. RingCap systems incorporate polymeric rings around a matrix tablet, to moderate the drug's release in the gastrointestinal tract. Dose Sipping administers fluid through a straw-like tube, providing precise dosage.
* Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered a licensing agreement with SSP Co., of Tokyo, for a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease. The product is T-82, an acetylcholinesterase enzyme inhibitor. Arena plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA later this year.
* Biomerica Inc., of Newport Beach, Calif., signed an exclusive licensing agreement with OraVax Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., for a patented system that will allow Biomerica to develop tests identifying people with a high risk of diseases, such as peptic ulcers and gastric cancer, caused by virulent strains of Helicobacter pylori. The agreement gives Biomerica diagnostic use of the patented Cytotoxin Associated Gene A (CagA) to produce tests for physicians' offices. CagA testing will require only a blood sample, and a 10-minute version of the test will be developed.
* Burrill & Co., of San Francisco, formed an agricultural biotechnology venture capital fund of more than $100 million. Called the Burrill Agbio Capital Fund, it was formed in association with three initial limited partners: Bayer Corp., of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Hoechst-Schering AgrEvo GmbH, of Berlin, Germany; and Transamerica Business Credit Corp., of Rosemont, Ill. On initial closing, $75 million was invested, with an expected $35 million or more to be added on or before June 30.
* CoCensys Inc., of Irvine, Calif., completed two Phase I trials of three tablet formulations of ganaxolone for migraine headaches and epilepsy. The trials showed excellent pharmacokinetics and safety, the company said. A Phase IIb trial is expected early this summer, and will include higher doses than previously studied in migraine patients.
* Competitive Technologies Inc. (CTI), of Fairfield, Conn., has added Antibody Assay Laboratories Inc., of Santa Ana, Calif., as a non-exclusive licensee under patents covering any assay to determine elevated homocysteine levels and the corresponding deficiency of foliate, or vitamin B-12. The patents also cover assays to distinguish between foliate and B-12 deficiencies. With its other licensees, CTI said it expects to collect royalties in a range between 50 percent and 75 percent of all homocysteine assays performed in the U.S. labs in 1998.
* Cyanotech Corp., of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, signed an agreement with the Scripps Research Institute to produce Scripps patented Aldolase Catalytic Antibody 38C2 in microalgae. The genetically engineered antibody may have applications in industrial synthesis, including the synthesis of certain anti-cancer compounds. It has an efficiency rate and operative mechanism equal to a natural enzyme's, but with a broader scope of reactivity.
* Inhale Therapeutics Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., and Initiatech Inc., of Ithaca, N.Y., signed an agreement under which Inhale will license technology, intellectual property and patents for protecting biologically active compounds in a dry state. Inhale plans to use the technology to expand its base in stabilizing dry power aerosol formulations for peptides, proteins and other macromolecules at room temperature. The license will be exclusive for the fields of respiratory delivery of pharmaceutical products and for any delivery form of insulin.
* LXR Biotechnology Inc., of Richmond, Calif., said its planned start of a clinical trial of CP-Cardiosol has been delayed by a request from the FDA for more preclinical information. The company expects to respond in the third quarter of this year. CP-Cardiosol is a heart protectant solution for use during bypass surgery.
* Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its partner Wyeth-Ayerst Research, a division of American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., has accepted an antibacterial drug target for drug candidate screening. Millennium is conducting the screening at its facilities on behalf of Wyeth-Ayerst. The companies' five-year deal, including $20 million in committed funding, began in December 1996 at ChemGenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was acquired by Millennium last year. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 22, 1997, p. 1.)
* Molecular Geodesics Inc. (MGI), of Cambridge, Mass., entered a research collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., to develop devices for use in interventional cardiology, minimally invasive surgery and orthopedic surgery. MGI recently received an equity capital financing of $3.25 million from investors including Atlas Venture, of Boston; Seaflower Associates, of Waltham, Mass.; and the partners' fund of Adams Harkness & Hill, also of Boston. Also participating was Infinite Group, the parent corporation of MGI's manufacturing partner, Laser Fare Inc., of Warwick, R.I. MGI is developing a new class of biomimetic materials. From the U.S. Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, the company has received a $6.4 million contract to develop "bioskins" that would be mechanically strong but permeable, and would kill biological warfare agents in situ, before they reach the soldier. (See BioWorld Today, March 30, 1997, p. 1.)
* Pentose Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., began Phase I/II trials of PEN203, a topical compound for the treatment of cutaneous and genital warts caused by the human papilloma virus. The drug is Pentose's lead product in its Papirine family of small molecule antivirals. Three Phase I/II blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled studies will be performed.
* Procept Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., raised $9.6 million in a private placement of common stock and warrants. The offering originally was intended to raise $6 million. The larger amount includes about $3.4 million the company earlier reported having raised by Feb. 26. Placement agent for the offering was Paramount Capital, of New York.