• Carrington Laboratories Inc., of Irving, Texas, said its wholly owned subsidiary, DelSite Biotechnologies Inc., obtained a commercial evaluation license from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate a polysaccharide technology discovered at NIH for developing a typhoid vaccine with DelSite's GelSite polymer. DelSite is developing GelSite, a high molecular weight ionic polysaccharide, as a controlled-release drug delivery technology for protein/peptide therapeutics and vaccine products. Under the agreement, NIH's technology will be used to chemically modify the product for potential use as a vaccine antigen against Salmonella typhi.

• CellCyte Genetics Corp., of Kirkland, Wash., is establishing its corporate headquarters and research facilities in Bothell, Wash. The company leased a 25,000 square foot facility to serve as the main research facility for carrying out preclinical studies in support of its planned clinical trials, and the development of its pipeline.

• CytoCore Inc., of Chicago, said testing of the P2X7 receptor gene indicated the biomarker is capable of distinguishing between cancerous, precancerous and normal tissues. The findings were published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology. Results also suggested that the P2X7 protein and mRNA assays potentially could be developed as a screen for uterine endometrial premalignant conditions.

• Diversa Corp., of San Diego, achieved two product development milestones under its agreement with BASF (Nachrichten/Aktienkurs), which resulted in undisclosed payments in late 2006. Diversa successfully completed the initial research phase of the program, and both organizations agreed to take it forward to the next development stage. Diversa now is applying its DirectEvolution enzyme optimization tools to refine the properties of the lead candidate. The companies expanded their alliance in February 2006 to focus on improving industrial processes and product performance in areas such as pulp and paper and fine chemicals. Under the agreement, Diversa is responsible for discovery and optimization of new enzymes, while BASF will handle product and process development and commercialization.

• DUSA Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wilmington, Mass., said the FDA granted orphan drug designation for Levulan (aminolevulinic acid HCl) photodynamic therapy in esophageal dysplasia, a disease that occurs in some patients with Barrett's esophagus, a condition that can lead to esophageal cancer. Orphan drug status can provide incentives during drug development and would guarantee seven years of marketing exclusivity upon FDA approval. Levulan PDT is a photochemical process that involves the interaction of a photosensitizer, light and oxygen to selectively destroy malignant or certain benign but rapidly growing cells. Shares of DUSA (NASDAQ:DUSA) jumped $1.99, or 71.9 percent, on the news Thursday to close at $4.76.

• J. Craig Venter Institute, of Rockville, Md., led a team that sequenced the genome of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries yellow fever and dengue fever. The research, published in Science, is the first characterization of the approximately 1.38 billion base pairs of DNA of the genome. From the sequence, the team showed the mosquito species has an estimated 15,419 protein-encoding genes. The work was funded primarily by contracts from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Collaborators included The Broad Institute and VectorBase, a NIAID bioinformatics resource center.

• Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said Howard Pien will join the company as its president and CEO and board member, effective June 14, 2007. Pien, who most recently served as president and CEO of Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron Corp. until it was acquired by Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis SA in April 2006, will succeed Irwin Lerner, who has acted as the company's interim president and CEO since November. Lerner will continue in his role as Medarex's chairman.

• MethylGene Inc., of Montreal, selected MGCD290 as the clinical candidate from its histone deacetylase (HDAC) antifungal program. The product is designed to target and inhibit fungal HDACs, which are believed to cause resistance or insensitivity to triazoles and terbinafine, two classes commonly used to treat fungal infections. Previously disclosed MGCD290 preclinical data demonstrated that the molecule synergizes and potentiates azole activity both in vitro and in vivo against fungal pathogens such as Aspergillus and various Candida species. MethylGene will begin manufacturing of MGCD290 to support investigational new drug application-enabling studies and expects to file an IND in mid-2008.

• ProtoKinetics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said results from preliminary trials in which islet cells were preserved for 24 and 48 hours before being transplanted into diabetic mice show cells preserved for 24 hours in the presence of 3 amino acid AAGP have improved function post-transplant in that diabetes was corrected more quickly compared to controls. The initial study involved the transplantation of 250 islet cells into each of the diabetic mice, with four mice in each group. Results showed that cells treated with 3 amino acid AAGP survived better in vitro during 24-hour culture than the control or the 2 amino acid AAGP-treated islet cells. A second trial involving 10 mice in each group demonstrated that blood glucose levels in the 3 amino acid AAGP-treated group were lower post-transplant vs. control.

• SeraCare Life Sciences Inc., of West Bridgewater, Mass., said its plan of reorganization has become effective and it emerged from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. Existing shareholders will receive one share of reorganized SeraCare common stock in exchange for each share of SeraCare they owned. In addition, those who elected to participate in a January rights offering will receive those shares. Susan Vogt, who joined SeraCare as president and CEO last July, will continue to serve in those roles for the reorganized company. The company, which last year transferred its corporate headquarters from Oceanside, Calif., will continue to be based in Massachusetts.

• Vernalis plc, of Winnersh, UK, and Servier, of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, entered a joint, three-year oncology drug discovery collaboration. Under the terms, the companies will use Vernalis' drug discovery platform on an undisclosed target. In exchange, Vernalis will receive an up-front payment and be entitled to a share in the downstream success of the product. Specific financial terms were not disclosed. In separate news, Vernalis recently reported that another partner, Novartis SA, of Basel, Switzerland, selected a second Hsp90 compound for preclinical development using Vernalis' platform.

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