• Advanced Cell Technology Inc., of Los Angeles, said the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health awarded the company an SBIR Phase 1 Small Business Grant. The company will use the grant to conduct research on rapid labeling and purification of specific lineage restricted cells in cultures of differentiating human embryonic stem cells. If successful, the research will help the company more rapidly develop new regenerative therapies for a variety of indications.

• Ambit Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, said data published in Nature Biotechnology profiles 38 well-known kinase inhibitors obtained using the company's high-throughput KinomeScan profiling technology. The study also detailed an approach for quantifying the interactions between compounds and the human kinome, which is designed to enable the systematic analysis of high-throughput kinase profiling data to improve the efficiency of selecting and optimizing drug candidates. Ambit also reported that it expanded its commercial KinomeScan profiling panel to more than 400 kinases, including therapeutically relevant lipid, mutant and atypical kinases.

• Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, said the FDA has approved Cialis (tadalafil) for once-daily use (2.5 mg and 5 mg), an oral medication taken once per day to treat erectile dysfunction. Currently available in parts of Europe, the low-dose daily treatment option is targeted at men with ED who anticipate more frequent sexual activity, such as twice weekly. Cialis 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg have been approved in the U.S. for as-needed treatment of ED since November 2003.

• ImmuPharma plc, of London, said it gained rights for the worldwide development and commercialization of IPP-204106, a cancer drug candidate believed to act with a dual mechanism to prevent both angiogenesis and proliferation. The drug, a nucleolin antagonist, emerged from the company's ongoing research collaboration with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France's scientific research institution. ImmuPharma plans to complete the formal preclinical development this year, with a Phase I trial expected to begin by year-end.

• Third Wave Technologies, of Madison, Wis., said distributors in Spain, Portugal and Italy have agreed to distribute the firm's human papillomavirus (HPV) screening product, which is used for routine screening for cervical cancer. Inverness Medical Iberica, the Spanish affiliate of Inverness Medical Innovations, will be the distributor for Spain and Portugal, while four distributors have been secured in Italy. Third Wave's test, which recently received European CE Marking certification, detects 14 types of HPV, which causes most cervical cancer.

• Wanxing Bio-pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Shanghai, China, said its subsidiary Sinobiomed Inc. has been granted government funding of RMB9 million (US$1.24 million) to continue the clinical trial of its recombinant malaria vaccine and advance its development with partner Second Military Medical University. The funding is the largest the Chinese government has ever granted to a biopharmaceutical company. The grant from China's Ministry of Science and Technology is part of the key "863 Program" to support technology development as part of the government's 11th five-year plan.

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