• Alvine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., appointed Abhay Joshi president, CEO and a director. The company is developing therapeutic products for treating celiac sprue, an autoimmune disease believed to affect as many as 2 million people in the U.S. Its lead product, ALV003, is a combination protease designed to detoxify the gluten that triggers the autoimmune response in celiac patients.

• Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., received a letter from Nasdaq stating the closing bid price of its common stock has for 30 days been below the $1 minimum per-share requirement for continued listing. Avant has until Jan. 2, 2008, to regain compliance.

• BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lincolnshire, Ill., announced results demonstrating that its calcium phosphate nanoparticle-based vaccine adjuvant, BioVant, may be effective in development of a dose-sparing vaccine against the H5N1 avian flu virus. The new results are based on a study using a hemagglutination inhibition assay. After a prime and one booster of BioVant-H5N1 combination vaccine, the immune response in a rodent model was fourfold that of the H5N1 antigen alone.

• EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., entered a research agreement with the University of New South Wales and Children's Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research to map pathways involved in the mechanism of action for its lead compound, 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2 or Panzem) and analogues. Research will be conducted at CCIA and UNSW under a grant awarded by the Australian Research Council. The primary objectives are to develop models of resistance to 2ME2 to identify proteins that may be potential drug targets and to further the understanding of how 2ME2 exerts its antitumor and anti-angiogenic effects. In addition, differential proteomics and functional protein assays will be used to identify protein pathways involved in the mechanism of action of 2ME2 and analogues in order to identify novel drug targets and biomarkers of response to those agents.

• EnWave Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, agreed to a deal with Aridis Pharmaceuticals LLC, of San Jose, Calif., to determine the feasibility of EnWave's bioREV radiant energy vacuum technology to stabilize and dehydrate vaccines and antibodies. The agreement expands the scope of work originally contemplated by a letter of intent between the companies in March to cover Aridis' formulations of antibodies, in addition to vaccines. They will develop and test new bioREV processes and equipment specific to vaccine and antibody dehydration in an 18-month project, which could be expanded to include additional vaccines and/or antibodies over the next 10 years. They will equally share project costs. The deal is subject to the completion of detailed licensing terms and consent from the University of British Columbia, by Oct. 31.

• Evotec AG, of Hamburg, Germany, and India-based Research Support International Ltd., a subsidiary of DIL Ltd., formed a joint venture in India. The venture, Evotec-RSIL Ltd., will design, synthesize and manage compound libraries as a service. The joint venture will be located in Thane, India, and use newly constructed laboratories. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Integrated Genomics, of Chicago, licensed its ERGO bioinformatics software to the Korean Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology in Daejeon, South Korea. KRIBB will use the genome analysis tools for gene annotation, metabolic reconstruction and enzyme data-mining, as well as for comparative genomics purposes. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Invitrogen Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., said subsidiary Invitrogen Federal Systems completed development of a prototype hand-held device for the detection of multiple biothreat agents in a single sample. Work on the portable pathogen detection system prototype was done under a $3.9 million contract from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. It will be deployed to military laboratories for validation. Invitrogen Federal Systems also was awarded an $887,906 modification to an existing contract with the U.S. Department of Defense - to date worth more than $3.1 million - to produce and validate high-density protein microarrays to detect biothreat agents. It will fund continued development and validation of ProtoArrays for detection of a number of agents.

• Labopharm Inc., of Laval, Quebec, completed a licensing and distribution agreement for South Korea for its once-daily tramadol product with WhanIn Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Seoul, South Korea. WhanIn has exclusive right to market and sell the product in South Korea. Labopharm will supply product, and is entitled to an up-front payment and sales revenues in the deal. Labopharm's once-daily formulation of tramadol currently is under regulatory review in South Korea.

• Lorus Therapeutics Inc., of Toronto, completed a previously announced reorganization, one part of which resulted in $8.5 million in additional cash for the company. Each common share of old Lorus was exchanged Tuesday for one common share of new Lorus. The company will continue the same business of research and development of pharmaceutical products and technologies for the management of cancer.

• MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, signed an agreement to expand its office and laboratory space in Lexington, Mass. The new facility will provide nearly double the space MGI currently occupies in Lexington and will enable it to consolidate its clinical and product development activities into that site. MGI plans to relocate to the new facility from its current location during the second half of 2007.

• NanoBio Corp., of Ann Arbor, Mich., was awarded $2.4 million by the State of Michigan 21st Century Job Fund. Funds will be used to develop the company's drug candidate for the topical treatment of onychomycosis.

• Novacea Inc., of South San Francisco, received $60 million from Schering-Plough Corp., of Kenilworth, N.J., under terms of the previously announced agreement on Asentar (DN-101), which is in a Phase III trial in androgen-independent prostate cancer. The payment follows closing of the deal. The up-front payment includes $35 million as reimbursement for past research and development expenses and a license fee of $25 million. In addition, Schering-Plough purchased $12 million of Novacea common stock. The development and commercialization agreement provides Novacea with potential pre-commercial milestone payments of up to $380 million, and royalties on worldwide sales. Schering-Plough also will be responsible for all forward development costs in exploring indications for earlier stages of prostate cancer, and will lead all global commercialization efforts for Asentar. Novacea's stock (NASDAQ:NOVC) gained 89 cents Wednesday, or 9.4 percent, to close at $10.40. (See BioWorld Today, May 31, 2007.)

• Ortec International Inc., of New York, appointed Constantin Papastephanou CEO. The move was made along with the deal announced last month, which entailed an $8.7 million financing and the exchange of its $43 million liability to Paul Capital for $10 million of Series A preferred stock. Papastephanou has been with Ortec since February 2001 as president and chief operating officer.

• ProEthic Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Montgomery, Ala., entered a 10-year licensing and distribution agreement with Cipher Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mississauga, Ontario, to gain an exclusive right to market, sell and distribute Lipofen, a formulation of fenofibrate to treat hyperlipidemia, in the U.S., its territories and possessions. Under the terms, Cipher will receive an up-front licensing fee of $2 million, and could get additional milestone payments of up to $20 million. Cipher also would receive a royalty on a percentage of net sales, which escalates from the mid-teens to mid-20s, based on annual sales targets and the level of promotional support provided by ProEthic. ProEthic has the right to extend the collaboration for additional two-year periods.

• Sangamo BioSciences Inc., of Richmond, Calif., and Sigma-Aldrich Corp., of St. Louis, entered an alliance focused on the development of laboratory research reagents based on Sangamo's zinc finger DNA-binding proteins technology. They plan to develop and market ZFP products for broad use in laboratory research reagent applications, including cell lines with enhanced protein production performance, panels of knockout cell lines for drug discovery and novel stem cell and transgenic animal models. Sangamo gets initial payments of $13.75 million, consisting of an up-front license fee and the sale of 1 million shares at the 30-day average price of $7.75 per share. Sangamo will receive additional committed funding, including fees and minimum annual payments, and is eligible to receive up to $22 million if certain development and commercial milestones are achieved. Sangamo would receive royalties on any product sales or services developed using the ZFP technology, and is entitled to 50 percent of any sublicensing revenues in the first two years and 25 percent thereafter. Sangamo's stock (NASDAQ:SGMO) gained $1.65 Wednesday, or 19.3 percent, to close at $10.20.

• Selexis SA, of Geneva, signed a license agreement with Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG, of Mainz, Germany, for use of Selexis technology for large-scale production of Ganymed's lead cancer antibodies. The license allows Ganymed to use a cell line, developed by its scientists using the Selexis SURE Cell Line Development platform, for the clinical and commercial production of a number of products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• SensiGen LLC, of Ann Arbor, Mich., acquired an option from the University of Michigan to exclusively license a set of epigenetic biomarkers for early detection and monitoring of lupus. The technology includes a panel of biomarkers for epigenetic variations of genes associated with lupus, along with related research assays, and SensiGen intends to develop commercial diagnostic assays using its AttoSense technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Thallion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Montreal, closed the previously announced sale of an 80 percent stake in the company's wholly owned proteomics business, Caprion Proteomics GP, to a company formed by Great Point Partners LLC, of Greenwich, Conn. The new company will acquire substantially all of Thallion's proteomics assets, including the CellCarta discovery platform, and will assume $22.1 million in long-term debt obligations from Thallion. In addition, the new Caprion Proteomics Inc. will issue $4.1 million in secured subordinated notes to Thallion at an interest rate of 9.5 percent per year. Thallion was formed in March through the merger of Ecopia BioSciences Inc. and Caprion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 21, 2007.)

• Ventana Medical Systems Inc., of Tucson, Ariz., said its board rejected an unsolicited tender offer from Basel, Switzerland-based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. to purchase the company for $75 per share, or about $3 billion, stating that the offer is "inadequate in multiple respects and contrary to the best interests" of stockholders. In response, Roche said it continues to believe its offer, which represents a 44 percent premium to Ventana's close of $51.95 on June 22, is a "full and fair offer." If Ventana refuses to negotiate, Roche said it will continue to pursue a transaction unilaterally. Shares of Ventana (NASDAQ:VMSI) gained $2.28 Wednesday to close at $82.53.