• ActivBiotics Inc., of Lexington, Mass., extended until March 14 the deadline by which interested parties can bid to purchase its assets. The company decided to sell its assets late last year after rifalazil failed a Phase III trial in peripheral arterial disease. Available assets include the antibacterial rifalazil, two clinical-stage superoxide dismutase mimetics, a library of 250 anti-inflammatory small molecules and a library of 800 antibacterial small molecules. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 19, 2007.)

• Allon Therapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, reported preclinical data demonstrating that AL-108 reduces the physical brain damage associated with the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease and improves the behavioral capacity to learn and retain memory. The study, conducted on triple transgenic mice that were bred to develop beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles and to exhibit behavioral deficits associated with AD, showed that the drug produced a significant improvement in the performance of tasks involving spatial learning and memory, as well as a statistically significant decrease in the beta-amyloid plaque levels of 20 percent and a reduction of 70 percent in tau phosphorylation. Allon said those results, presented at an AD conference in Zurs, Austria, add to the preclinical foundation for AL-108 which is in three ongoing Phase II trials, the first of which is expected to yield data later this quarter in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of AD.

• Arteriocyte Inc., of Cleveland, received a $509,000 subgrant award to further develop its technology. That funding, received as part of a $60 million Third Frontier award to the Cleveland Clinic-led Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center initiative, will allow the firm to start Phase II testing of its lead stem cell product in chronic coronary ischemia.

• Carrington Laboratories Inc., of Irving, Texas, said its wholly owned DelSite Biotechnologies subsidiary successfully completed preclinical toxicology studies of GelVac nasal powder influenza vaccine under FDA-reviewed protocols. Results showed the product was safe and well tolerated. The agency requires that the two animal models be tested with the H5N1 antigen before the company proceeds with a planned Phase I study later this year.

• CellCyte Genetics Corp., of Kirkland, Wash., became the subject of a class action lawsuit proposed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. The suit alleges that CellCyte executives misled investors regarding the experience of CEO Gary Reys. Shares of stem cell enabling therapeutics company CellCyte (OTC BB:CCYG) fell 70 cents, or 17.7 percent, to close at $3.25 on Tuesday.

• GeneGo Inc., of St. Joseph, Mich., said the next version of its MetaCore systems biology software will include bovine orthologs. The underlying research was performed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

• GeneNews Ltd., of Toronto, published a paper in the journal Clinical Cancer Research demonstrating that a five-gene biomarker panel effectively stratifies patients into defined risk groups for colon cancer. The company also said it collected an additional 10,000 patient samples with which to refine its ColonSentry biomarker panel.

• Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said it has entered into a license agreement with Moffitt Cancer Center, of Tampa, Fla., to obtain exclusive worldwide diagnostic testing rights to the discovery of the relationship of two proteins to patient response to non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment. The expression levels of the two proteins, RRM1 and ERCC1, have been shown to correlate with patient response to platinum drugs and gemcitabine, both of which are commonly used in treating NSCLC, the firm said. Genzyme said it plans to develop and market a diagnostic test that can be used to measure the expression levels of the proteins in NSCLC patients.

• Inhibitex Inc., of Alpharetta, Ga., said it was notified by the Nasdaq stock market that the company's stock price has closed for 30 days below the required $1 per share for continued listing. The firm has until July 8 to regain compliance.

• Juvaris BioTherapeutics Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif., said it entered a cooperative research and development agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to evaluate JVRS-100 adjuvanted H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccine. The aim of the agreement is to confirm JVRS-100's ability to help induce a protective antibody response at low doses of H5N1 vaccine, and work will determine if the use of Juvaris's adjuvant will extend the limited supply of H5N1 vaccines in the event of a pandemic.

• Lentigen Corp., of Baltimore, and Virxsys Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., said they have agreed to settle a pending lawsuit and dismiss all claims and counterclaims. The litigation was pending in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. Terms and conditions of the settlement were not disclosed.

• Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said partner Pfizer Inc., of New York, submitted a new drug application for Fablyn (lasofoxifene tartrate) tablets (formerly Oporia), a selective estrogen receptor modulator, for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. The NDA includes three-year interim data from a pivotal study. Under the companies' collaboration, Ligand is entitled to a milestone payment upon FDA approval and would receive royalty payments equal to 3 percent of net sales. Pfizer previously filed NDAs for Fablyn in the prevention of osteoporosis and in vaginal atrophy and received not-approvable letters in both indications.

• Molecular Partners AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, signed a research and license agreement with Centocor Inc., a subsidiary of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson. Molecular Partners will receive a $5 million up-front payment and undisclosed funding and license fees in exchange for applying its designed ankyrin repeat protein (DARPin) technology to identify new proteins that bind to two undisclosed inflammatory disease targets. Centocor will have exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the proteins in exchange for making milestone and royalty payments to Molecular Partners.

• Morphotek Inc., of Exton, Pa. said it has signed a multiyear agreement to fund the research for the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Switzerland, to develop model systems that can validate the role of novel pathways for human disease and conduct preclinical proof-of-concept studies to demonstrate the feasibility of employing antibodies to block those disease pathways, potentially leading to the development of novel therapies. The two organizations have partnered on previous projects, including MORAb-003, currently in Phase II trials for ovarian cancer, and MORAb-004, currently in development for the treatment of neovascular diseases. Morphotek has exclusive licenses for both compounds and intends to advance MORAb-004 to clinical trials in fiscal year 2008, which ends March 31, 2009.

• Nanobac Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tampa, Fla., said collaborating scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine cited evidence showing the presence of calcifying nanoparticles (CNPs) in surgically resected gall bladders with cholelithiasis. The company said results suggested a strong association between CNPs and cholelithiasis and concluded it is conceivable that a specific therapy for CNPs might prevent cholecystitis and reduce the need for surgical intervention. Those data were published in the journal Hepatology.

• Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, appointed Kevin Gorman president and CEO and board member. Gorman previously served as the company's chief operating officer. Former CEO Gary Lyons will continue serving on the board.

• PamGene International BV, of s-Hertogenbosche, the Netherlands, signed a deal with Carlsbad, Calif.-based Invitrogen Corp. to co-market Invitrogen's Nuclear Hormone Receptor proteins and Lanthascreen assay technology with its portfolio of microarray-based Nuclear Hormone Receptor screening tools, namely its PamChip applications and PamStation instrumentation. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Pozen Inc., of Chapel Hill, N.C., said results from a short-term human volunteer study of the genotoxic potential of Treximet (formerly known as Trexima) indicated that no chromosomal aberrations were induced in peripheral blood lymphocytes when the compound was administered to volunteers for seven days. The firm said it has submitted the results to the FDA, which were in addition to the response the company made in October that provided clarifying information on the Chinese hamster ovary assay. Pozen said it has been notified that the FDA tentatively has accepted the trade name of Treximet, a combination product comprised of sumatriptan 85 mg formulated with RT Technology and naproxen sodium 500 mg in a single tablet.

• Trana Discovery, of Cary, N.C., said results of a live cell-based study, conducted in collaboration with the Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Ala., showed that a subset of compounds identified using the new Trana HIV 201 assay proved to inhibit the HIV virus through a mechanism other than inhibition of reverse transcriptase. Several compounds were identified that responded to the assay. In the cell-based study, a subset of the compounds was examined for their inhibition qualities in the replication of the HIV-1 Ba-L virus using live peripheral blood mononuclear cells and found to have anti-HIV activity. Further testing indicated that antiviral activity was not due to inhibition of reverse transcriptase, the mechanism of action of many of the currently available HIV therapies, the company said.

• Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., completed its previously announced sale of U.S. and Canadian rights for the hepatitis C drug Infergen (interferon alfacon-1) to Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals LLC, of Cranberry Township, Pa. Valeant will receive $70.8 million in cash at closing and up to $20.5 million in two noncontingent payments over the next 18 months. Infergen, or consensus interferon, is a type 1 interferon alpha originally developed by Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

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