• Ambrilia Biopharma Inc., of Montreal, presented preclinical data on its series of HIV integrase inhibitors, showing their potential distinct mechanism of action, which may lead to a different resistance profile than other integrase inhibitors. The abstract was presented during a poster session at the XVI International HIV Drug Resistance Workshop in Barbados. The pyrazolopyridine integrase inhibitors demonstrated potent inhibition of integrase strand transfer activity but did not exhibit significant inhibition of integrase 3'-processing activity, Ambrilia said.

• Evotec AG, of Hamburg, Germany, said it enhanced its Fragment-Based Drug Discovery business through the acquisition of certain assets from Combinature Biopharm, now a unit of Singapore-based MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd. Evotec acquired equipment and expertise in nuclear magnetic resonance screening as well as access to the SAR-by-NMR intellectual property, licensed from Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill. Evotec plans to integrate the technologies with its high-throughput, high-concentration biochemical assay approach. The acquisition will add a library of fragments, bringing Evotec's fragment library to 30,000, it said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• GeneThera Inc., of Wheat Ridge, Colo., said it entered into "substantial negotiations" with Mezey Howarth Racing Stables, of Costa Mesa, Calif., to develop a molecular test and vaccine for equine infectious anemia virus, a contagious and potentially fatal horse viral disease. Negotiations are expected to be completed soon, with testing expected to begin in October. Terms were not disclosed.

• Genexine Co. Ltd. and Dong-A Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., both of South Korea, entered into a collaboration covering co-commercialization of first-generation protein drugs under development at Dong-A and co-development of second-generation protein drugs using Genexine's hybrid Fc-fusion technology. A focus is commercialization for foreign markets of Gonadopin, a recombinant human follicle-stimulating hormone used for infertility treatment. They also plan to develop an interferon-beta agent for multiple sclerosis. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Grant Life Sciences Inc., of Los Angeles, signed a memorandum of understanding with Alphagenics Diaco Biotechnologies Srl, of Trieste, Italy, under which Grant would get rights to Alphagenics' molecular diagnostic test for human papillomaviruses. Grant would have exclusive manufacturing and marketing rights in China and the U.S., and nonexclusive rights in Europe, India, Australia and Japan. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Mendel Biotechnology Inc., of Hayward, Calif., and London-based BP entered a collaboration to develop biofeedstocks for the production of cellulosic biofuels. In addition to funding the five-year biofuels research program, BP will become a shareholder of Mendel, with representation on Mendel's board. Mendel said that in working with BP, it intends to be at the forefront of seed supply into the future energy grass seed market. Mendel already has established a breeding program for perennial grass variety improvement and will accelerate that program in collaboration with BP. Mendel said it will establish breeding stations in the Midwest and the Southeast U.S., and accelerate breeding collaborations with groups in Germany and China. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Pharmacopeia Drug Discovery Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said it will receive a $5 million milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London. That is the second $5 million payment to be received by Pharmacopeia in connection with the companies' March 2006 collaboration covering a variety of therapeutic areas. The payment was triggered by Pharmacopeia's completion of certain early discovery activities. It is entitled to a third $5 million payment upon the completion of additional early discovery activities. The collaboration entitles Pharmacopeia to up to $83 million in milestone payments per development program, as well as royalties on any resulting sales. (See BioWorld Today, March 31, 2006.)

• Rosetta Genomics Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, signed a license agreement with Rockefeller University in New York for the therapeutic application of microRNA genes. Rosetta said the addition of the viral and human microRNAs to existing intellectual property estate gives it access to more than 500 proprietary microRNA drug targets for use in development of therapeutics and diagnostics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Sciele Pharma Inc., of Atlanta, completed its acquisition of Alliant Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Alpharetta, Ga., for about $109.8 million in cash, which includes $14 million of indebtedness. The final purchase price was $12.5 million less than originally negotiated due to the termination of an agreement between Alliant and Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Morton Grove, Ill., under which Alliant marketed Lindane. The deal also includes potential payments to Alliant of up to $62.5 million based on certain profit and product-development targets, $7.5 million more than previously announced.

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