* Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered into an agreement with ChemDiv Inc., of Glendale, Wis., to screen small molecule compounds contained in the latter's TakeOneSet library of chemical structures. Amylin will test for biological activity in the area of metabolic disorders including diabetes, obesity and dyslipidemia. Amylin will have rights to any active compounds discovered and will control all future research, development and marketing activities arising from its efforts.
* AxyS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, presented research into the role of zinc in enhancing the potency and selectivity of certain small molecule protease inhibitors. An article in the Feb. 5, 1998, issue of Nature details what had previously been referred to only as "the Delta Technology." It describes the Delta mode of serine protease inhibition as a structure-based drug design motif, contingent on creating a zinc binding site at the active site of the enzyme. AxyS was formed when Arris Pharmaceutical Corp., of South San Francisco, merged with Sequana Therapeutics Inc., of La Jolla, Calif.
* Celtrix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., granted Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme Corp.'s Tissue Repair Division (GTR) expanded technology and territory rights to recombinant transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta-2. GTR now has access to Celtrix's TGF-beta-2 antibody and receptor technology, as well as the right to develop and commercialize the therapeutic compound worldwide, including Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan. GTR first received rights to the compound in 1994. (See BioWorld Today, June 28, 1994, p. 1.)
* Discovery Laboratories Inc., of New York, executed a letter of intent to acquire all outstanding shares of stock at its majority-owned subsidiary, Acute Thera-
peutics Inc. (ATI), of Doylestown, Pa. The transaction, structured as a subsidiary merger, is designed to achieve full ownership by Discovery of ATI's product portfolio, consolidate development activities and strengthen the management team. Robert Capetola, chairman and CEO of ATI, will become president and CEO of the merged company.
* Ilex Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, began a Phase I trial of intoplicine, a synthetic anti-cancer agent that inhibits the enzymes topoisomerase I and II, which are catalysts in DNA reformation. The study is being conducted at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center in San Antonio. Patients with advanced or metastatic cancer in whom conventional treatment has failed, or for which no standard therapy is available, will be given intoplicine by continuous infusion and evaluated for dosing administration as well as preliminary antitumor activity.
* 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.)
Interferon Sciences Inc., of New Brunswick, N.J., raised $7.5 million in a private offering of Series A convertible preferred stock to an undisclosed institutional investor. The shares will accrue dividends of 6 percent a year, payable in cash or common stock, and are convertible into common stock at a price equal to the lesser of $12.50 or a discounted price based on the common shares' average trading price 10 days prior to conversion. Interferon Sciences specializes in highly purified, natural-source, multispecies alpha interferon. The company's Alferon N Injection is FDA-approved for the treatment of certain types of genital warts, and is being studied for potential use in other indications.
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.