* Arris Pharmaceutical Corp., of South San Francisco, entered an agreement with Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co., of Princeton, N.J., to develop protease inhibitors to prevent the growth and spread of the hepatitis C virus, which is a leading cause of liver disease. Arris will apply its proprietary Delta Technology to design inhibitors of the protease enzyme of the virus. Like the HIV protease in the virus that causes AIDS, the hepatitis C protease is needed by the virus to replicate.
* Cytel Corp., of San Diego, raised about $8.4 million in a private placement of 4.8 million shares of common stock to a limited number of institutional and other accredited investors. The company has about 32 million shares outstanding after the offering. BT Alex. Brown Inc., of New York, served as placement agent.
* IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp., of San Diego, said Hoffman-La Roche AG, of Basel, Switzerland, has launched Rituxan (rituximab) in Switzerland under the trade name MabThera. The drug is the first monoclonal antibody for treatment of non-Hodgkin's B cell lymphoma. It was recently approved in the U.S., and received marketing clearance in Switzerland in November.
* ImmunoGen Inc., of Coronado, Calif., said its anti-colon cancer compound, C242-DM1, produced no side effects in clinical studies in primates. Previous data showed the compound, which is made of the small-molecule drug DM1 linked to the C242 antibody, completely eradicated colon tumors in mice. ImmunoGen plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA in the last quarter of 1998.
* NetGenics Inc., of Cleveland, entered a renewable, three-year agreement with Abbott Laboratories Inc., of Abbott Park, Ill., to provide software services that will manage the data generated by Abbott's genomics research. NetGenics' SYNERGY software integrates information and lets scientists share it from a team-structured user interface. NetGenics will tailor the system for use with Abbott's data.
* NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Salt Lake City, said its research and license agreement with SmithKline Beecham plc, of London, has been extended up to three years. The deal covers therapies for osteoporosis and includes annual payments to fund NPS' research. SmithKline also has purchased NPS stock at a premium to market price, and has agreed to purchase more annually as long as the agreement remains in effect.
* Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., said the underwriters of its initial public offering of 2 million shares of newly issued common stock — CIBC Oppenheimer Corp. and BancAmerica Robertson Stephens, both of New York; and Vector Securities International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill. — exercised their option to buy 300,000 additional shares. Net proceeds to the company were about $2.2 million. The offering raised $14.1 million. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 21, 1997, p. 1.)
* Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said Hoechst Marion Rousel Inc., its partner in development of Gene Activated erythropoietin (GA-EPO), has begun a Phase II clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of GA-EPO as a treatment for anemia in patients with renal failure who are receiving dialysis.