* Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered an agreement with Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., to test Maxim's lead drug, Maxamine, with Amgen's Infergen (interferon alfacon-1) in a clinical trial. Maxamine, being studied in Phase III trials as a treatment for melanoma, is a histamine type 2 receptor agonist based on the body's natural histamine molecule, and inhibits the production and release of free oxygen radicals. This protects natural kill and T cells, allowing more effective activation by cytokines. (See BioWorld Today, June 27, 1997, p. 1.)
* Cellomics Inc., formerly BioDx Inc., of Pittsburgh, raised $10.5 million in a private venture financing. The company focuses on cell-based screening that automates target validation and lead optimization using fluorescence-based assays. The venture syndicate in the financing was led by InterWest Partners, of Palo Alto, Calif., and Axiom Venture Partners, of Hartford, Conn.
* Hybridon Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., commenced an exchange offer to the holders of 9 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2004, under which the holders would trade their notes for preferred stock and warrants. The exchange is related to the firm's attempt to raise $40 million in a private placement. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 26, 1998.)
* Viragen Inc., of Plantation, Fla., signed a preliminary agreement with The Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion Services and with the Blood Bank of the North Netherlands to form a long-term leukocyte supply arrangement and to develop a natural interferon treatment program for the Netherlands. The parties also intend to collaborate on blood products-related research and development opportunities. Viragen intends to use the Dutch-supplied leukocytes to fill out production in Viragen (Europe) Ltd.'s manufacturing facility in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is capable of producing up to $100 million of Omniferon, the company's second-generation natural human alpha interferon product.
* Cell Therapeutics Inc. (CTI), of Seattle, and City of Hope National Medical Center, of Los Angeles, agreed to form a joint venture to discover and develop a new class of drugs to treat diabetes and its complications. The focus of the venture will be to discover drugs that have potential to block oxygen-carrying molecules that attack the pancreas, cause resistance to insulin and may contribute to some of diabetes' serious side effects. CTI will fund the first two years of the venture and provide expertise in drug discovery and technology in oxidized lipid chemistry.
* Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, and Collateral Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, agreed to collaborate on developing a gene therapy treatment for congestive heart failure. The companies will use Targeted Genetics' recombinant adeno-associated viral vector to deliver the adenylycyclase gene to heart cells.