* Derma Sciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., raised $1.8 million through a private placement of convertible debentures. Upon shareholder approval, the debentures will convert to 2.25 million units that may each ultimately be converted to a share of common stock and a warrant to purchase one share of common stock for $0.90.* Navicyte Inc., of Sparks, Nev., signed an agreement with SmithKline Beecham plc, of London, under which the big pharma company will use Navicyte's software and computational models to screen compound libraries for human pharmacokinetic outcomes. Navicyte will receive data and milestones as it continues development of its In Vitro Determination for Evaluation of Absorption (IDEA) simulation software.
* Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, of Philadelphia, completed the U.S. launch of Synvisc, developed by Ridgefield, N.J.-based Biomatrix Inc. as a viscosupplementation treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The product is administered over a two-week period in the form of three intra-articular injections into the knee joint at a cost of $495. Wyeth-Ayerst is a division of Madison, N.J.-based American Home Products Corp.
* Genetronics Biomedical Ltd., of San Diego, presented results demonstrating that its gene transfer technology, which uses electroporation, achieved gene expression at least 100 times better than simple injections without electroporation. The study involved transferring two marker genes into subcutaneously implanted glioma tumors in rats. The delivery method developed by Genetronics consists of injecting the gene into the tumor and applying a short, pulsed rotating electric field by inserting an array of needles using a combination of voltage and pulse length. A green fluorescent marker gene used in the confocal microscopy of tumor slices showed nearly complete uptake of the genes by a high percentage of cells.
* InKine Pharmaceutical Company Inc. (formerly Panax Pharmaceutical Co.), of New York, closed its private placement of stock at $1 per share, accepting subscriptions totaling $17 million. The company issued 17 million shares and another 1.44 million shares to placement agents Aurora Capital Corp. and Sunrise Securities Corp., both of New York; and Shipley Raidy Capital Partners LP, of Philadelphia. Placement agents agreed to accept a substantial portion of their fees in shares rather than cash, and the company realized cash proceeds before expenses of $16.69 million.
* Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lexington, Mass., said a Phase III study of patients who suffer from panic disorder showed treatment with pagoclone significantly reduced their frequency of attacks. The disorder is believed to be caused, along with other anxiety disorders, by a decrease in the function of a major inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). Pagoclone is a partial agonist at a modulatory site on the GABA receptor, and apparently enhances GABA's action in the brain.
* Vimrx Genomics Inc., of Wilmington, Del., a subsidiary of Vimrx Pharmaceuticals Inc., signed an agreement with Columbia University, of New York, to develop diagnostic and therapeutic targets based on two recently identified cancer genes responsible for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma. A U.S. patent has been issued for the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma gene (bcl-6), and patents are pending in the U.S. and Europe on the multiple myeloma gene (mum-1). The agreement transfers gene licenses and patent rights to Vimrx.
* CEL-SCI Corp., of Alexandria, Va., will exchange one share of common stock and one new warrant for every five existing warrants plus $6 presented by Feb. 7. The new warrant will permit the holder to purchase a share of common stock for $18 at any time prior to Feb. 7, 2000.