* Alpha Therapeutic Corp., of Los Angeles, began a Phase II/III study of AS-013, a prodrug of prostaglandin, to reduce or delay the need for amputations in patients with peripheral artery disease. The disorder, which most often strikes the elderly, diabetic patients and heavy smokers, is characterized by a narrowing of blood vessels. AS-013 is converted in the body to prostaglandin, a compound that occurs naturally and inhibits clot formation, repairing damaged arteries.
* Algos Pharmaceutical Corp., of Neptune, N.J., received a $1 million milestone payment from McNeil Consumer Products Co., a division of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson. The payment was triggered by McNeil's entering of a large-scale clinical trial of a product containing acetaminophen and the (N-methyl-D-asparate) NMDA receptor antagonist dextromethorphan.
* Cellegy Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Foster City, Calif., priced a public offering of 1.75 million shares at $7.50 a share for total gross proceeds of $13.13 million. The company is now traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CLGY. Cellegy is developing drugs for icthyosis, hypogonadism and hemorrhoids, in addition to a line of anti-wrinkling "cosmeceutical" products.
* Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, exercised an option on La Jolla, Calif.-based SIBIA Neurosciences Inc.'s patent covering instrumentation and assay methods for high-throughput functional screening to identify new drug leads. Under the license, Lilly has the right to use the technology for internal research only, with no sublicensing rights.
* IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp., of San Diego, initiated an indication-seeking Phase I/II trial of 9-aminocamptothecin (9-AC). The trial will include patients with any one of eight solid tumor types: non-small cell lung, colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, bladder, prostate, head and neck or kidney. Nine-AC is a semi-synthetic analogue of the plant-derived molecule camptothecin and belongs to a class of drugs that interferes with DNA replication by inhibiting a critical nuclear enzyme, topoisomerase I.
* PathoGenesis Corp., of Seattle, said an FDA advisory committee recommended approval of the company's tobramycin solution for inhalation (TOBI) for use in treating pseudomonal lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis. The vote to recommend approval was 9-0. During its meeting, the committee reviewed data from two Phase III clinical trials, showing TOBI improved lung function and reduced bacteria levels in sputum.
* Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., and Texas Biotechnology Corp., of Houston, agreed to collaborate on drug candidates for specific targets involved in diseases of the vascular endothelium, such as stroke and asthma. The deal gives Texas Biotechnology access to Pharmacopeia's small-molecule combinatorial chemistry libraries. The companies will share ownership rights to active lead compounds discovered as well as revenues if the compounds are commercialized.
* SuperGen Inc., of San Ramon, Calif., received an equity investment of $7.6 million from Tako Ventures, making Tako the largest shareholder. Tako, which has invested $23 million to date in SuperGen, has warrants to acquire up to 1.28 million additional shares of common stock.
* Techniclone Corp., of Tustin, Calif., reacquired the rights to LYM-1 (Oncolym) from Alpha Therapeutic Corp., of Los Angeles. Oncolym, a monoclonal antibody linked to a therapeutic radioactive isotope, is being investigated for use as a treatment for intermediate and high-grade non-Hodgkin's B-cell lymphoma. Under terms of the agreement, a substantial portion of payments to Alpha will be based on milestones. Alpha is a subsidiary of Green Cross Corp., of Osaka, Japan.