• Advanced Life Sciences Inc., of Woodbridge, Ill., said the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., awarded it a Small Business Innovation Research grant for a proteomics-based technology that eventually could lead to treatment of diseases that arise from the faulty aggregation of proteins, such as Alzheimer's. The company will be conducting a portion of its research in collaboration with researchers at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., where ALS in-licensed the basic technology.

• Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., unveiled the Agilent Human 1B Oligo Microarray Kit for gene expression analysis in drug discovery and disease research. Together with the existing Agilent Human 1A Oligo Microarray Kit, the two-microarray set includes more than 36,000 genes and transcripts.

• Alkermes Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said CEO Richard Pops was elected chairman of the Biotechnology Industry Organization's board of directors. Pops, who will serve for two years, succeeds David Robinson, the president, chairman and CEO of Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego. Pops has been Alkermes' CEO since February 1991.

• Ambion RNA Diagnostics, a division of Ambion Inc., of Austin, Texas, reported the release of the first commercially available control for detection of the coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome. Armored RNA technology was used to generate a control containing a defined RNA sequence for molecular detection of the SARS coronavirus.

• Applitox Bio Pharma Inc., of Montreal, said it acquired 70 percent of the controlling interest of F.P.L. Pharma Inc., a company developed from research at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi. The transaction, in which F.P.L. became a subsidiary of Applitox, was settled by an undisclosed amount of cash. Applitox also made a C$4.5 million (US$3.3 million) investment to accelerate research and development on FPL-99, an FDA-approved, nontoxic, natural molecule that Applitox said has given excellent results with Taxol. Tests carried out by the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., have shown that the molecule does not have a mutagenic impact.

• AspenBio Inc., of Castle Rock, Colo., said it concluded agreements with four major shareholders and employees that are designed to enhance its efforts to obtain additional financing. More specifically, Roger Hurst, the company's president and principal shareholder, agreed to restrict his shares and refinance his AspenBio notes at a lower rate.

• Beiersdorf AG, of Hamburg, Germany, and Senetek plc, of Napa, Calif., entered a collaboration under which Beiersdorf will undertake laboratory and in vivo evaluations of various compounds for which Senetek has rights. At the conclusion of each evaluation, Beiersdorf may enter into license agreements for the use of the compound in specific markets worldwide. Senetek will own and have the right to practice and license all compounds resulting from the collaboration outside the markets and fields of use that may be licensed to Beiersdorf.

• Cambrex Bio Science Baltimore Inc. reported the opening of its biopharmaceutical development laboratory and pilot plant. The plant, located in Baltimore, is a bioprocessing facility containing multiple 10-liter fermentors for process development and 100-liter reactors for preclinical and pilot-scale production of products derived from mammalian-, bacterial- and yeast-based expression systems.

• Cangene Corp., of Toronto, entered an agreement to further public health research into severe acute respiratory syndrome with Health Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The parties plan to develop a hyperimmune globulin from plasma obtained from recovered SARS patients, a product that may result in diagnostic and therapeutic agents for use in treating the disease.

• Celera Diagnostics, of Alameda, Calif., a joint venture between the Applied Biosystems Group and Celera Genomics Group, and Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., reported that the FDA granted additional marketing clearance for the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System, a molecular diagnostic test designed to detect mutations in HIV-1 associated with drug resistance. The latest 510(k) clearance covers the use of the system with the ABI Prism 3700 DNA Analyzer.

• Cholestech Corp., of Hayward, Calif., said it is in discussions with Roche Diagnostics GmbH, of Mannheim, Germany, regarding a complaint by Roche that alleges Cholestech is violating three U.S. patents for the measurement of HDL cholesterol. Roche has not yet served Cholestech with the complaint, which was filed in March in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The complaint, which Cholestech said it intends to defend vigorously, seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction, damages and attorney's fees for patent infringement. Cholestech's stock (NASDAQ:CTEC) fell $1.63 Wednesday, or 13.6 percent, to close at $10.33.

• Cryo-Cell International Inc., of Clearwater, Fla., said its common stock will continue to be listed on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market via an exception from the requirement that it file its periodic reports with the SEC on a timely basis. While the company failed to meet this requirement as of April 14, it was granted a temporary exception subject to the company meeting certain conditions as of three different dates for accomplishing the filing of periodic reports with the SEC.

• Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., said independent investigators presented clinical data on Quadramet (samarium SM 153 lexidronam) and ProstaScint (capromab pendetide) in multiple cancers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting in New Orleans. Findings related to Quadramet pointed to expanded uses in various cancers, including new research involving Quadramet in combination with other therapies such as chemotherapy, and establishing its use at higher doses to target and treat primary bone cancers. Presentations related to ProstaScint related mainly to fusion imaging and image enhancements. Cytogen's stock (NASDAQ:CYTO) fell $1.19 Wednesday, or 14.4 percent, to close at $7.09.

• Evotec OAI AG, of Hamburg, Germany, and Axxima Pharmaceuticals AG, of Munich, Germany, entered a medicinal chemistry agreement to design and synthesize small-molecule lead structures for one of Axxima's kinase targets. Evotec will apply its integrated medicinal chemistry platform to optimize initial screening hits already identified by Axxima and progress them toward candidates for clinical trials. Financial details were not disclosed.

• FIT Biotech plc, of Tampere, Finland, and the nonprofit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative entered a public-private research partnership to evaluate FIT Biotech's investigational vaccine to prevent AIDS. The vaccine candidate, GTU-MultiHIV, will be tested in a clinical trial later this year.

• Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., launched a new gene expression solution, the Ascenta System. Ascenta is designed to be a streamlined version of the company's enterprise gene target analysis database, the BioExpress System.

• GenVault Corp., of San Diego, a biological sample and data archiving company, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta elected to use GenVault's high-speed, room-temperature storage system in a study in conjunction with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The survey is designed to collect information about the health and diet of people in the U.S.

• GlycoGenesys Inc., of Boston, reported in vitro results at the BIO 2003 conference in Washington, demonstrating that GCS-100 inhibited the binding of I-125-labeled vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to human umbilical vein endothelial cells in a dose-dependent manner. GlycoGenesys said that previously, GCS-100 was shown to significantly inhibit VEGF-induced endothelial migration in a dose-responsive manner.

• Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., said the FDA approved its investigational new drug application to begin a placebo-controlled Phase I trial to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of ABthrax, its drug for the prevention and treatment of anthrax infections. Healthy adults will be enrolled to evaluate different dose levels of intramuscularly and intravenously administered ABthrax, whose large-scale development and manufacture is dependent on government funding either under existing authority or under proposed Project BioShield legislation. Human Genome Sciences isolated and developed ABthrax from antibody libraries licensed from Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc, of Cambridge, UK.

• ILEX Oncology Inc., of San Antonio, and Schering AG, of Berlin, said a European committee recommended the addition of survival data to the label for MabCampath (alemtuzumab) in the European Union. Findings have shown that after MabCampath therapy in heavily pretreated refractory B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients, median survival increased to 16 months, equal to six to eight months longer than historical expectations in the fludarabine-refractory population. European regulatory authorities originally approved the drug in July 2001, shortly after it received FDA approval.

• Immunomedics Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., reported data at the Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting in New Orleans, showing that its LeukoScan imaging product was able to detect atypical appendicitis in children 5 or older and could be used to stage lung disease and the response to therapy in children with cystic fibrosis. Other findings showed that LeukoScan could identify infected vascular prostheses, showed a sensitivity and specificity for diabetic feet, joint prostheses/bone implants and vertebral discs, and could be used safely in elderly hospitalized patients burdened with multiple chronic complications.

The Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge, La., said that one of its researchers developed a process to produce proinsulin, which can be processed into human insulin, as well as other proteins and peptides in poultry eggs. Richard Cooper, a microbiologist at the center's Department of Veterinary Science, said that in early work with quail, the birds not only produced proteins in their eggs but also passed the traits on to subsequent generations.

• Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J., reported the publication of positive results from the initial cohort of 14 patients in an open-label MDX-010 Phase II melanoma study, in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for the week of June 23. In the study, an objective response rate of 21 percent, which included two complete tumor responses, was observed in the initial cohort with metastatic melanoma. MDX-010 is a fully human antibody that blocks CTLA-4.

• MethylGene Inc., of Montreal, could receive up to US$37.75 million after entering a worldwide license, research, development, and commercialization agreement with Merck-Frosst Canada & Co., of Kirkland, Quebec, on a small-molecule inhibitor program against bacterial beta-lactamases to fight antibiotic resistance. Privately held MethylGene will provide a synthetic chemistry effort to optimize its small-molecule lead compound into clinical candidates. Merck-Frosst, which will progress candidates through preclinical and clinical development, also will be responsible for worldwide commercialization and marketing. MethylGene will receive a US$4 million initial fee, with total potential payments based on successful product development up to US$33.75 million. MethylGene also would receive royalties on worldwide sales of any resulting products.

• Mount Sinai Hospital's Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto said its Blueprint Initiative research program secured C$29 million in government and public funding to enter 80,000 molecular interaction records into the Biomolecular Interaction Network Database (BIND). The goal is to make BIND the world's most comprehensive repository of data and research about molecular interactions and reactions in humans and other organisms studied by scientists in some 16 different fields.

• Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, opened enrollment for patients in its Phase II trial of MPC-7869 (R-flurbiprofen) in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The trial is designed to study the efficacy of MPC-7869 in altering the progression of the disease. It is a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 12-month study with three arms involving about 200 patients with mild to moderate disease.

• Ortec International Inc., of New York, said that as a result of the previously reported 1-for-10 reverse split of its common stock, which became effective, Nasdaq assigned Ortec a new trading symbol. Ortec's previous symbol, ORTC, was changed to ORTN, effective Wednesday.

• Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle reported a new biomarker for ovarian cancer, which the institute said could improve diagnosis of the disease. The results were reported in the July 1, 2003, issue of Cancer Research. Researchers describe a molecule, HE4, associated with ovarian cancer cells. Because the molecule is secreted readily into the blood, its presence should be detectable when blood tests are developed, the institute said.

• PolyGenyx Inc., of Worcester, Mass., was awarded a two-year, $997,673 Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to further develop its SNP haplotyping platform, HaploScan, and to develop commercial haplotyping assays. Under the Phase II grant, PolyGenyx said it plans to develop commercial assay kits for haplotypes linked to cancer, asthma, diabetes and drug-metabolizing enzyme activity.

• Progenitor Cell Therapy LLC, of Hackensack, N.J., entered a two-year agreement to provide clinical trial-grade human cells for Proneuron Biotechnologies Inc., of Los Angeles. Upon FDA approval, the center also will provide commercial manufacturing of the products. Progenitor Cell will manufacture autologous cells for evaluating therapeutic efficacy in patients with recent spinal cord damage, using Proneuron's ProCord technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, effected a 1-for-9 reverse split of its outstanding common stock, after its stockholders approved the proposal for a reverse split at the company's annual meeting Friday. Rigel's stock began trading on a reverse-split basis on Nasdaq on Wednesday. For a period of 20 trading days, shares of Rigel's common stock will trade under the ticker "RIGLD." After 20 days, trading will resume under the ticker "RIGL."

• SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Mateo, Calif., told shareholders at its annual meeting that Phase III data from a Japanese trial showed that use of its lead immune system-enhancing drug, Zadaxin, resulted in negative hepatitis B viral DNA in 27 percent of patients; 23 percent had a successful interruption of viral replication; and 20 percent demonstrated a sustained seroconversion and the development of an antibody to the hepatitis B virus e-antigen. The company said it began the new drug application process in Japan. Zadaxin already is approved in more than 30 countries. Separately, the company said its shareholders voted in favor of reincorporating in the state of Delaware.

• SciTegic Inc., of San Diego, and MDL Information Systems Inc., of San Leandro, Calif., reported the availability of a set of components that allow SciTegic's Pipeline Pilot to access functionality from MDL's suite of cheminformatics programs. The components represent the first integration developments resulting from the alliance reported by the companies in January.

• Teranode Corp., of Seattle, was awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to develop language and tools for communication and collaboration required by large-scale biology. Separately, Teranode unveiled its strategy for delivering model-based design tools for the life sciences this week at BIO 2003 in Washington.

• Trinity Biotech plc, of Dublin, Ireland, reported terms of the settlement over Trinity's lawsuit with Xtrana Inc., of Broomfield, Colo. Both sides agreed to incur their own costs, and Trinity agreed to pay immediately the 5 percent loan notes due to Xtrana in the amounts of $1.1 million and $570,000 that otherwise were due in December 2003 and 2004, respectively. Those notes were paid, less a discount of $220,000. Trinity also reported a $10 million club banking facility that is being provided by Bank of Scotland and Allied Irish Banks.

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