* Anergen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said results of ablinded, placebo-controlled Phase I study of thecompany's DR4/1-peptide vaccine, called AnervaX, forrheumatoid arthritis showed the treatment was safe andwell-tolerated at all dose levels. Anergen also said thedata revealed nearly 25 percent of the patients receivingthe vaccine experienced an antibody response. A total of20 patients participated. AnervaX is a synthetic peptidederived from a human leukocyte antigen moleculeassociated with rheumatoid arthritis.
* Applied Microbiology Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y.,completed an $8.95 million private placement ofconvertible preferred stock to institutional investors. Netproceeds totaled $8.3 million. The preferred stock isconvertible to common shares at either $5.25 per share or85 percent of market value, whichever is less. In addition,the company issued warrants to purchase 136,000 sharesfor $6.30 per share.
* Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., began a genetherapy study for treatment of Gaucher's disease at theUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The ex vivoprocedure involves using a retroviral vector to transfer aglucocerebrosidase (GC) gene to patients' stem cells,which are then reinfused. Gaucher's disease is caused bya missing GC gene. The study will attempt to determine ifthe GC gene is reproduced in patients.
* Orphan Medical Inc., of Minneapolis, submitted a newdrug application to the FDA for Cystadane, or betaineanhydrous powder, to treat homocystinuria. Betaine is anaturally occurring substance thought to reducehomocysteine levels in the blood. Elevated amounts ofhomocysteine cause the rare, genetic disorder, which islinked to a number of complications, such as mentalretardation, skeletal abnormalities and seizure disorders.
* Sepracor Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., said its corporatepartner, Germany-based Hoechst Marion Roussel, hassubmitted a new drug application with the FDA forterfenadine carboxylate, or fexofenadine, for use as anantihistamine. The drug is a single-isomer form of theFDA-approved terfenadine, which Hoechst sells in theU.S. under the brand name Seldane. Sepracor alsoproposed issuing $75 million worth of convertiblesubordinated debentures, which would be due in sevenyears. Holders would have the option of converting thebonds to common shares.
* Sequana Therapeutics Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., received$2 million in research milestone payments fromGermany-based Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH related totheir collaboration on discovery of genes linked toasthma. Sequana said it has identified two small regionson two chromosomes, which may contain asthma genes.The two milestone payments were made four monthsafter Sequana entered a potential $70.5 million alliancewith the pharmaceutical firm.
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