• 454 Life Sciences Corp., of Branford, Conn., said its acquisition by Roche Holdings Inc., of Basel, Switzerland, was completed. 454 Life Sciences and its 167 employees will remain in Branford, as part of the Roche Diagnostics group. 454 Life Sciences was founded in 2000 as a majority-owned subsidiary of CuraGen Corp., of Branford, to develop high-throughput DNA sequencing products. The deal was worth up to $154.9 million to CuraGen. (See BioWorld Today, March 30, 2007.)

• Advalytix AG, a Munich, Germany-based subsidiary of Olympus Life and Material Science Europa GmbH, and the Medical University of Graz in Austria are collaborating on prenatal diagnostic technologies. They are testing a new method for the genetic analysis of fetal cells from maternal blood, using Advalytix's non-invasive AmpliGrid technology. The university is supplying enriched cell material for the work.

• Alfacell Corp., of Bloomfield, N.J., said it and collaborators identified the enzymatic, physical and 3-dimensional properties of Amphinases, a group of enzymes that kill tumor cells in vitro. The findings demonstrated that Amphinases evade the mammalian ribonuclease inhibitor, which points to their therapeutic potential. Data were published online in the May 10, 2007 Journal of Molecular Biology, and expanded on research presented in 2002.

• AnalytiCon Discovery GmbH, of Potsdam, Germany, and Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, entered an agreement whereby AnalytiCon will provide Merck with natural product lead-generation services until the end of 2009. AnalytiCon will apply its MEGAbolite technology to seek active compounds hits from a set of more than 10,000 extracts from plants and microorganisms. Resulting leads would be jointly developed through preclinical research. Terms. Targets of the deal were not disclosed.

• Asuragen Inc., of Austin, Texas, said it will provide laboratory testing to assist in gene expression studies being conducted by Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. Terms and further details on the deal were not disclosed.

• Carrington Laboratories Inc., of Irving, Texas, said it received a letter from Nasdaq stating it does not comply with requirements for continued listing. Carrington has until June 7 to provide a plan to achieve and sustain compliance with all listing requirements.

• Corautus Genetics Inc., of Atlanta, said it did not regain compliance with the minimum $1 price requirement for continued listing on Nasdaq during a 180-day period previously provided under Nasdaq listing rules, and an additional 180-day period provided by Nasdaq. Corautus said it would seek authorization for a reverse stock split at a June 4 meeting of stockholders.

• Elan Corp plc, of Dublin, Ireland, and Biogen Idec Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee of the FDA jointly will review Tysabri (natalizumab) for the treatment of Crohn's disease on July 31. The companies on Dec. 15 submitted a supplemental biologics license application as a treatment for moderately to severely active Crohn's disease. The product is a humanized monoclonal antibody believed to block entry of inflammatory immune cells into the wall of the intestine, the first potential treatment for that disease with that mechanism of action.

• IDM Pharma Inc., of Irvine, Calif., hired Timothy Walbert as president and CEO, effective immediately. Walbert replaced Jean-Loup Romet-Lemonne, who founded the company and is leaving to pursue other opportunities, IDM said. Walbert most recently was executive vice president, commercial operations at NeoPharm Inc. Prior to that, he was a vice president at Abbott Laboratories.

• Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it brought in C$600,000 to C$700,000 (US$560,000 to US$652,000) through the sale of research equipment. The deal was made through an online auction process. The amount to be received by Inflazyme is subject to the completion of the terms of the sale.

• Inverness Medical Innovations Inc., of Waltham, Mass., commenced its tender offer for all outstanding shares of Biosite Inc., of San Diego, for $92.50 per share in cash. The tender offer is scheduled to expire June 25. Beckman Coulter Inc., of Fullerton, Calif., unsuccessfully offered to buy Biosite for $90 per share. (See BioWorld Today, April 6, 2007, and April 11, 2007.)

• Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, of Burlington, N.C., entered a license agreement with Veridex LLC, of Warren, N.J., to commercialize nucleic acid testing technology for detecting the presence of a tissue marker in prostate cancer, methylated GST-Pi. LabCorp said it was the first full-service national clinical laboratory in the U.S. to license the technology. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

• MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said the FDA will withhold final action on a supplemental biologics license application for FluMist, an intranasal influenza vaccine. The FDA in a warning letter said certain compliance issues identified in March at an annual inspection of MedImmune's UK bulk manufacturing plant must be resolved before approval of the sBLA. MedImmune is seeking to have the FluMist label expanded to include children ages 1 to 5 years. An FDA advisory committee recently recommended approving the product in that younger age group. (See BioWorld Today, May 17, 2007.)

• Neuronascent Inc., of Clarksville, Md., licensed certain animal cells to Lifeline Cell Technology LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Stem Cell Corp., of Oceanside, Calif. The exclusive, worldwide license covers the marketing, sale and distribution of adult Arctic ground squirrel neural stem cells for research use. That squirrel is believed to be a relevant model for the study of cerebral ischemia. Neuronascent is entitled to license fees and royalty payments.

• Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Watertown, Mass., presented laboratory study results indicating that HIV resistant to protease inhibitors may have reduced potential for the development of resistance to the HIV maturation inhibitor bevirimat. The study was conducted by Panacos and the HIV Drug Resistance Program at the National Cancer Institute. Data were presented at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Retrovirus Conference in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

• S*BIO Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, entered a two-year research partnership with National University Hospital-National University of Singapore Tissue Repository. The university will conduct biomarker research and evaluate tumor responsiveness to S*BIO's anticancer compounds. Terms were not disclosed.

• Tissera Inc., of Herzliya, Israel, extended an agreement with Yeda, the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The institute will perform research and development activities for Tissera through April 9, 2008. The main objective for the additional research period is to further advance ongoing preclinical studies being performed on primate models of Type I diabetes mellitus, as a preparation for the initiation of human clinical studies in diabetic patients.

• UCB, of Atlanta, and Sanofi-Aventis, of Bridgewater, N.J., said the FDA approved Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride) as a once-daily antihistamine to relieve symptoms associated with seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis and uncomplicated skin manifestations of chronic idiopathic urticaria in adults and children 6 years of age and older. UCB filed the new drug application in July 2006, with data showing that Xyzal significantly reduced symptoms of sneezing, itchy nose, runny nose and itchy eyes. Xyzal tablets are expected to be available during the 2007 fall allergy season.

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