• Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, received a milestone payment tied to the initiation of an exploratory glaucoma clinical trial by partner Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif. The trial will evaluate a selective muscarinic small molecule discovered at Acadia. Allergan has responsibility for development and global commercialization of the product and any others emerging from the companies' ocular disease collaboration, while Acadia will receive milestone payments and royalties. (See BioWorld Today, July 28, 1999.)

• Bolder BioTechnology Inc., of Boulder, Colo., received a $762,475 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The financing will be used for preclinical studies and manufacturing optimization with the company's second-generation gamma interferon. Bolder previously received a $100,000 Phase I SBIR grant to create the long-acting gamma interferon analogue.

Scientists from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; McGill University, of Montreal; and other institutions published a paper in Nature that uses genome-wide association studies to confirm genes previously known to be associated with Type I diabetes and to identify a new gene, KIAA0350. The researchers hypothesized that a mutation in KIAA0350 may influence the binding of C-type lectin protein to sugars, triggering the autoimmune response that results in Type I diabetes. The scientists expect to identify many other genes associated with the disease as their project continues.

• Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said its application was approved to transfer its listing from the Nasdaq Global market to the Nasdaq Capital market, effective July 23. The trading symbol, "FMTI," will not change. The move gives it more time to regain compliance with minimum stock price requirements.

• IBEX Technologies Inc., of Montreal, said it completed the fifth and final payment to former HDM Diagnostics & Imaging Inc. shareholders to retain the exclusive rights to its portfolio of arthritis biomarkers. In the final payment, IBEX issued 1.63 million common shares, valued at C$200,000 (US$192,000). IBEX's osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis biomarkers are being used by researchers to measure the efficacy of new treatments and to identify patients more likely to respond to potential therapies or who are more likely to develop progressive diseases. IBEX currently sells five arthritis assays to the research community.

• Lipomics Technologies Inc., of West Sacramento, Calif., entered an agreement with the University of California at San Diego. They will focus on identifying mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, obesity and other disorders of insulin resistance. Studies also are in progress to identify the relative role of each organ system to the pathophysiology of diabetes. Lipomics will retain certain rights to develop diagnostic applications based on resulting data.

• Modigene Inc., of Vienna, Va., signed a contract with Xcellerex Inc., of Marlborough, Mass., for GMP production of hGH-CTP, Modigene's long-acting human growth hormone, for upcoming preclinical studies and for the Phase I trials projected to begin next year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Neuroptix Corp., of Acton, Mass., said it received a $1 million milestone payment under its Alzheimer's disease diagnostic collaboration with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. Under the deal from December, Neuroptix is providing Merck access to its laser eye-scanning technologies, which in preclinical studies detected Alzheimer's-related amyloid protein aggregates in the lens of the eye.

• NicOx SA, of Sophia Antipolis, France, said it is getting a $5 million milestone payment from Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. The milestone was triggered by Merck's initiation of the first in a series of planned clinical trials for the lead candidate from the companies' agreement to develop nitric oxide-donating antihypertensive agents using NicOx's technology. The first trial is a Phase I study in healthy volunteers to assess safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of single oral doses. NicOx now has received €19.2 million (US$26.5 million) from Merck under the deal, and is eligible to receive up to €269 million in milestone payments. It also would get royalties on sales, and has certain co-promotion options. (See BioWorld Today, March 22, 2006.)

• Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc., of Bothell, Wash., issued a press release to clarify news from a week earlier that was understood by many to mean it gained approval in Switzerland to sell its DCVax-Brain vaccine for treating brain cancer. Instead, it said, it received authorization for use, which would allow it to export patients' immune cells and tumor tissue for vaccine manufacturing in the U.S., and import the patients' DCVax-Brain finished vaccine into Switzerland. That authorization is conditional upon certain implementation commitments, and did not include any opinion or evaluation of the safety or efficacy of the product. Such evaluation by Swissmedic would be done within the assessment of a marketing authorization application, which the company said it expects to submit by the end of the year. The company also said shareholders Toucan Capital and/or Toucan Partners have not sold NBI shares, contrary to certain media reports. The company's stock (OTC BB:NWBO) gained 249 percent on the July 9 announcement, closing up $5.23 at $7.33. It since has given much of that gain back, and fell 77 cents Monday, or 15.7 percent, to close at $4.15.

• Pentium Spa, of Como, Italy, said preclinical data supported Defibrotide's mechanism of action in the regulation and inhibition of protection of key regulatory proteins involved in cancer, diabetic nephropathy and endothelial damage. Among data presented at the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis in Geneva included posters demonstrating Defibrotide's ability to enhance the activity of plasmin, to reverse the heparanase gene expression induced by glucose and to save endothelial cells from chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. Defibrotide is the company's lead product and has been granted fast-track status by the FDA in severe veno-occlusive disease and orphan drug status in the U.S. and Europe to treat and prevent VOD.

• ProMetic BioSciences Inc., of Montreal, and Laboratorios Dermatologicas Darier SA, of Mexico City, signed an agreement involving ProMetic's PBI-1308, a synthetic anti-inflammatory compound, for dermatological disorders. Under the deal, Darier will be responsible for the development of the drug formulation and the clinical program necessary to obtain regulatory approval, and ProMetic will provide Darier with preclinical information and will supply the active ingredient in bulk form. Darier holds an option to obtain exclusive rights for Mexico, Central America and South America, excluding Brazil, and would pay ProMetic royalties on any product sales. Both firms also will seek to further license rights to the fully developed drug dossier to other territories, excluding Canada, and those additional licenses would be on a revenue-sharing basis between Darier and ProMetic. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.

• Protein Polymer Technologies Inc., of San Diego, said it entered an agreement with an undisclosed biotechnology device company. PPTI will provide genetically engineered protein polymer biomaterials for use in the prevention of postsurgical adhesions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Senomyx Inc., of San Diego, extended its exclusive agreement with Cadbury Adams USA LLC, part of London-based Cadbury Schweppes, to discover and commercialize new flavor ingredients for gum. The one-year collaboration was signed in July 2005 and has been extended for an additional year. Cadbury will pay Senomyx research funding and milestone payments, as well as royalties on future sales.

• Sloning Biotechnology, of Puchheim, Germany, and Research & Innovation Japan Inc. (RIJ), of Tokyo, signed a distribution partnership for RIJ to exclusively market and sell the Slonomics gene synthesis service and Slonomax product family of mutant libraries in Japan. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Third Wave Technologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., signed a pharmacogenetics collaboration deal with Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (LabCorp) to develop a companion diagnostic to help physicians personalize treatment for heart failure patients. The test is being developed with Third Wave's Invader chemistry and might be used in conjunction with the prescription of bucindolol, a next-generation beta blocker in development at ARCA Discovery, of Denver. ARCA has extensive Phase II data of bucindolol in heart failure patients, including genetic data, and intends to seek FDA approval in 2008. The drug development firm previously entered a deal with LabCorp to create the companion diagnostic. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Tikvah Therapeutics Inc., of Atlanta, exclusively licensed from Apkarian Technologies LLC, of Chicago, rights to patents and patent applications involving certain agonists of specific sites of the NMDA receptor. Those rights provide Tikvah with claims encompassing the chronic treatment of pain and pain-related indications with glycine receptor agonists as a monotherapy or in combination therapy with certain other agents. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Urigen NA Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., said it completed its reverse merger into Valentis Inc., also of Burlingame. The company plans to change its name to Urigen Pharmaceuticals Inc. Until then, however, its shares will continue to trade on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the "VLTS" symbol. The deal called for Urigen, a specialty pharmaceutical company developing therapies for urological disorders, to own two-thirds of the combined company. Valentis had sought merger opportunities following negative data from a Phase IIb study of its lead candidate in peripheral arterial disease. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 10, 2006.)

• VioQuest Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Basking Ridge, N.J., completed the sale of its subsidiary, Chiral Quest Inc., to Chiral Quest Acquisition Corp., a company formed by Chiral Quest's management and others, for $1.7 million in cash plus about $1 million of liabilities. In separate news, VioQuest raised gross proceeds of $3.7 million through the issuance of 8 percent senior convertible promissory notes, plus five-year warrants to purchase an aggregate of 2.4 million shares of common stock. The notes will convert automatically into VioQuest securities upon completion of a defined future financing transaction. Proceeds from both transactions will support upcoming Phase II programs of the company's three oncology drug candidates: VQD-002, an Akt inhibitor; Lenocta, an inhibitor of specific protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTPases) SHP1 and SHP2; and Xyfid, a topical therapy in development to prevent chemo-induced hand-foot syndrome. Phase II studies will start for all three programs in the second half of this year. VioQuest also expects to file a new drug application for Lenocta in leishmaniasis later this year.