• ALK-Abello A/S, of Hørsholm, Denmark, and Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc., of Somerset, N.J., have signed an agreement that will enable a substantial increase in Zydis oral dissolving tablet production capacity dedicated to ALK-Abello's immunotherapy products. Under the agreement, ALK-Abello will fund a new production line for current and future tablet-based allergy products, which will be based at Catalent's Swindon, UK facility. Commercial production on the new line currently is expected to begin in 2010.

• Anesiva Inc., of South San Francisco, granted Particle Therapeutics Ltd., of Oxford, UK, a specific-use license. Anesiva's drug-delivery technology will be incorporated into Particle's needle-free, intradermal delivery system for glucagon, a hormone commonly used for the treatment of hypoglycemia associated with Type I and Type II diabetes. Anesiva will receive an undisclosed up-front payment, along with potential milestone payments. It also would receive royalties on resulting sales, as well as royalties on revenues from any sublicensing of the technology by Particle.

• Cerep SA, of Paris, reported a reduced consolidated net loss of €3.2 million (US$4.36 million) for the first six months of 2007, compared with €4.2 million in the same period of 2006. Its total revenues were up 7.2 percent at €24.8 million, but a significant proportion of that was generated by two sectors of activity, chemistry services and in-house drug discovery, that Cerep terminated at the end of June. The company pointed out that its 2006 accounts included a provision for severance and restructuring costs and for the depreciation risk associated with the cessation of these operations. The discontinued activities accounted for the whole of Cerep's net loss in the first half, while its continuing activities generated a small profit of €6 million (down from €293 million in the first half of 2006). The company had cash and cash equivalents of €10.2 million at June 30.

• Compugen Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, signed a deal with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Petach Tikva, Israel, covering CGEN-54, a Compugen-discovered splice variant of MCP1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein 1). CGEN-54, one of a number of splice variants predicted in silico using Compugen's discovery engine, is in development for chronic inflammatory diseases. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will collaborate on initial research, with Teva retaining an option for a worldwide exclusive development and commercialization license in exchange for milestones and royalties. Further terms were not disclosed.

• GW Pharmaceuticals plc, of Porton Down, UK, said it completed patient recruitment in its pivotal Phase III trial of its cannabis-based drug Sativex in treating central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis. The double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study of in patients who have achieved inadequate pain relief with existing therapies has recruited 339 patients in the UK, Canada, France, Spain and the Czech Republic and is GW's largest clinical trial to date. The duration of treatment is 14 weeks. The last patient will exit the study at the end of 2007 with headline results expected in H1 2008.

• Innate Pharma SA, of Marseille, France, posted an increased net loss of €4.8 million (US$6.5 million) for the first half of 2007, up from €3.7 million in the corresponding period of 2006, despite a sharp increase in revenue from €2.7 million to €6.1 million. The outcome was due to a substantial rise in operating costs, to almost €11 million from €6.9 million in the first six months of 2006, as a result of a 66 percent jump in research and development spending, from €5.4 million to €8.9 million from one period to the next. But the company had cash and cash equivalents of €56.5 million as at June 30 last, which it said is sufficient to finance its activities for the next three years.

• Kiadis Pharma BV, of Groningen, the Netherlands, said data from an open-label Phase II trial showed that Reviroc improved overall survival of patients with end-stage non-Hodgkin's lymphoma compared to historic controls. In the 25-patient study, Reviroc was used to eliminate cancer cells from an autologous graft in bone marrow transplantations. Reviroc did not damage the graft, and patients had an 80 percent chance of survival three-years post transplantation, compared to 55 percent in the control group. Kiadis plans to move on to a Phase III trial.

• MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said the six-month dosage form of its prostate cancer drug Eligard was approved in Europe. One-month and three-month versions of the drug, a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist, were already available in Europe, and one-month, three-month, four-month and six-month versions are marketed by Sanofi-Aventis Group in the U.S. MediGene licensed European rights to Eligard from QLT Inc. subsidiary QLT USA Inc. The drug will be marketed in Europe by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. following the implementation of the approval in 23 individual European countries.

• Vernalis plc, of Winnersh, UK, said it reached a $1.5 million milestone in its collaboration with Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, on the oncology target Hsp90. The payment was triggered by the start of Phase I clinical trials of a Vernalis compound in a range of tumors. The Hsp90 program is the result of a collaboration established in March 2002 with Cancer Research Technology Ltd (CRT) and the Institute of Cancer Research. Under the agreement Vernalis will pay CRT and the Institute a proportion of its revenues from the agreement with Novartis.

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