• AGI Dermatics, of Freeport, N.Y., presented research showing that 8-oxo-guanine DNA glycosylase (OGG1) encapsulated in liposomes enhanced DNA repair and reduced MMP-1 and TNF-alpha in UV irradiated skin cells. It also said comparative clinical data indicated OCTN-1 skin cells have the ability to recognize, transport and utilize L-ergothioneine (EGT) as a protector against oxidative damage, and that EGT acts as a more powerful and efficient antioxidant than idebenone. The data were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Investigative Dermatology in Los Angeles.

• Amgen Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., was the subject of a class action suit commenced by Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, of Minneapolis, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of those who purchased stock between May 4, 2005, and May 10, 2007. The complaint related to a contention that Amgen marketed the EPO products Aranesp and Epogen to doctors for off-label uses, and alleged that Amgen did not disclose negative data seen in a head and neck cancer trial in October. (See BioWorld Today, May 11, 2007, and May 16, 2007.)

• Bavarian Nordic A/S, Kvistgard, Denmark, said it is appealing a ruling by a federal district court in Delaware that dismissed its claims of conversion, unfair competition and unfair trade acts on summary judgment. The suit relates to production of the company's smallpox vaccine MVA3000. The order has no impact on the patent case pending at the U.S. International Trade Commission, which earlier this year reversed an administrative law judge's initial determination in a case in which Bavarian Nordic's patents on MVA were found to be infringed but invalid. The ITC remanded the entire case on grounds that the law judge made errors of law and fact. The patent case awaits an assignment of a new trial date.

• Beckman Coulter Inc., of Fullerton, Calif., is extending its previously announced tender offer for all outstanding shares of common stock of Biosite Inc., of San Diego, at $90 per share. The extension is a technical matter and does change Beckman Coulter's intent that its $90-per-share offer is its best and final offer. Biosite, meanwhile, recently said that the offer from Inverness Medical Innovations Inc., of Waltham, Mass., to buy Biosite for $92.50 per share was a superior offer. (See BioWorld Today, April 11, 2007.)

• BG Medicine, of Waltham, Mass., and the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York entered a collaboration on research in the area of multiple sclerosis. Initial projects are for discovery of biomarkers of MS disease activity and biomarkers of efficacy and safety for a currently marketed MS drug treatments. They will focus on discovery and development of novel blood tests that can be used in routine management of MS patients. MSRC will provide project expertise, certain analytical capabilities and patient samples for use by BG Medicine, which has commercialization rights. MSRC is entitled to undisclosed payments.

• BioVeris Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., set a date for a special meeting of shareholders to vote on the proposal under which BioVeris would be acquired by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, for $21.50 per share in cash, or about $600 million. The meeting will be held June 25 in Washington. The board fixed the close of business on May 17 as the record date for shareholders entitled to receive notice of and to vote at the special meeting. (See BioWorld Today, April 5, 2007.)

• CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown, Mass., and QuatRx Pharmaceuticals Co., of Ann Arbor, Mich., entered a licensing agreement under which CollaGenex will develop and commercialize becocalcidiol, a vitamin D analogue in Phase II trials for the topical treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis. CollaGenex will pay an up-front licensing fee of $1.5 million to QuatRx and will be responsible for all further development costs. QuatRx also is eligible to receive undisclosed development and sales milestones, as well as royalties on resulting sales. The product does not appear to induce hypercalcemia, a significant dose-limiting toxicity of other vitamin D products, CollaGenex said.

• Gene Network Sciences, of Cambridge, Mass., and Cornell University received a grant from the Department of the Army, titled "Systems Biology of Dehalococcoides: Using Network Inference Modeling to Integrate Omics Datasets Under Varied Conditions." The project will entail building a computational model of Dehalococcoides, a type of bacteria used to dechlorinate toxic pollutants, with the goal of understanding how that organism works and how to use related organisms in bioremediation.

• Gloucester Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said the FDA granted fast-track designation to its histone deacetylase inhibitor, romidepsin, for the monotherapy of previously treated peripheral T-cell lymphoma. The company previously had announced that it reached an agreement with the FDA under the agency's special protocol assessment process for the design of its registration-directed trial of romidepsin in patients with PTCL, and that it has received orphan status covering that indication in both the U.S. and Europe. The company is conducting a pivotal Phase II study of romidepsin for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and has initiated a pivotal Phase II study for patients with PTCL.

• IBEX Technologies Inc., of Montreal, said it implemented a restructuring plan aimed at conserving cash and breaking even. IBEX will eliminate all programs not essential to the sales and marketing of its specialty glycobiology enzymes and arthritis assays. It will cut nine positions, with the effect that annual operational expenses will be below $2 million. IBEX reported 2006 sales of $2 million from its glycobiology enzymes and arthritis assays. It also plans to enter discussions with companies interested in the IBEX infrastructure and accumulated tax loss carry-forwards.

• MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., was the subject of a shareholder lawsuit designed to block London-based AstraZeneca plc's $15.2 million acquisition of MedImmune. The suit said the deal would favor MedImmune executives over shareholders, and that they are not maximizing shareholder value. (See BioWorld Today, April 13, 2007, and April 24, 2007.)

• MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said stockholders approved a 3-for-1 stock split. Each shareholder will receive two additional shares for every outstanding share held on a given date, and trading will begin on a split-adjusted basis in July. In other news, shareholders also confirmed the appointment of Walter Blattler to its supervisory board.

• Osteotech Inc., of Eatontown, N.J., expanded its tissue-supply relationship with Community Tissue Services, a nonprofit tissue-bank service in Dayton, Ohio. Under a five-year deal from March 2006, CTS agreed to supply a specific number of cortical bone tissues to Osteotech each month. In February, the parties amended the agreement to more than double the number of cortical bone tissues to be supplied by CTS to Osteotech each month. This month, CTS agreed to supply Osteotech with an annual minimum number of whole donors.

• Tercica Inc., of Brisbane, Calif., entered a new agreement with Lonza Group Ltd. for the manufacturing and commercial supply of Increlex, recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-1. As part of the deal, Tercica and Lonza agreed to transfer the manufacture of bulk Increlex from Lonza's Baltimore facility to its Hopkinton, Mass.-based production facility. Commercial production of Increlex at the Hopkinton facility will begin in 2009. Terms were not disclosed.

• VASTox plc, of Oxford, UK, said it signed a long-term commercial collaboration with an undisclosed U.S. pharmaceutical company. The deal involves VASTox's wholly owned subsidiary, Dextra Laboratories, which specializes in carbohydrate drug discovery and development. Work will focus on a late-stage development product owned by the undisclosed company that is due to launch in 2010. Dextra will work to improve the cost efficiency of the manufacturing route. VASTox will receive development payments of $450,000, and a 5 percent annual royalty fee starting in 2009.

• Vivus Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., and KV Pharmaceutical Co., of St. Louis, closed their previously announced deal related to EvaMist, an investigational transdermal estradiol spray for the treatment of menopause symptoms. Vivus received a cash payment of $10 million, and is eligible to receive up to $150 million more in milestone payments. The new drug application for EvaMist is under review by the FDA. KV would have primary responsibility for manufacturing, selling and marketing. (See BioWorld Today, April 2, 2007.)

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