• 4SC AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said it and the Institute for Molecular Virology at the University of Munster were able to show that mice infected with highly pathogenic bird flu viruses can be healed effectively using 4SC's SC75741 drug candidate. SC75741 was as part of 4SC's NFkB project. It is designed to prevent multiplication of influenza viruses. 4SC said it is holding initial talks with possible development partners from the pharmaceutical industry.

• Addex Pharmaceuticals SA, of Geneva, is seeking CHF135 million (US$111.2 million) in an IPO on the Swiss Stock Exchange in Zurich. An overallotment option, if exercised, would bring in another CHF20 million. The company set an indicative price range of CHF58 to CHF75 per share and opened a bookbuilding period May 9, to run through May 21. Shares are due to commence trading on May 22 under the symbol ADXN. Lehman Brothers International (Europe) has been appointed as sole global coordinator and bookrunner. Piper Jaffray & Co. is senior co-lead manager, and Bank Vontobel AG and Bank am Bellevue AG are co-lead managers.

• Amura Holdings Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, said its lead cathepsin K inhibitors for osteoporosis and bone metastasis demonstrated good in vivo safety profiles in a seven-day, repeat-dose toxicity study in rodents. They were well tolerated and no adverse histological effects were noted. The compounds are derived from the company's AMcore scaffold, which is used to design inhibitors against cysteine peptidases of the CAC1 family of cysteine peptidases that are involved in several diseases. Amura eventually plans to out-license its products for clinical development.

• Bioceros BV, of Utrecht, the Netherlands, and disposable bioreactor development company CELLution Biotech BV, of the Netherlands, said they will start a collaboration to manufacture high levels of recombinant proteins in the disposable CELL-tainer bioreactor, a bioreactor designed with superior gas exchange properties over conventional stirred tank reactors, which results in higher product yields using mammalian cells. Bioceros, which offers services involving the generation of high protein-producing mammalian cell lines and process development, will use CELL-tainer technology to provide sufficient amounts of recombinant proteins for preclinical testing. Terms were not disclosed.

• Biocrates Life Sciences GmbH, of Innsbruck, Austria, said it is among the participants in a Framework Six European Union project named COBRED, a program to use innovative technology platforms to find diagnostic biomarkers for colon and breast cancers. Biocrates will bring its targeted metabolomics services platform, TargetIDQ, to the effort, which includes eight partners from France, Hungary, Estonia and Austria.

• Biofusion plc, of Sheffield, UK, announced the formation of Medella Therapeutics Ltd., around research from the University of Sheffield. Medella is developing monoclonal antibodies that inhibit the action of adrenomedullin a molecule found in 80 percent of cancer cells, which is known to encourage the growth of the new blood vessels, inhibit the body's immune response, and interfere with a cell's natural suicide mechanism, allowing cancer cells to survive longer. Biofusion is investing an initial £320,000 (US$634,000) in Medella for a 60 percent stake. The launch of Medella brings Biofusion's total portfolio of spinout companies to 24.

• bioMerieux, of Paris, and NuGEN Technologies Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., entered a deal to cross-license intellectual property, as well as a supply agreement for NuGEN's WT-Ovation RNA Amplification System. The deal gives bioMerieux nonexclusive rights to specific NuGEN amplification technologies, which will be used in in vitro diagnostic tests. NuGEN gained access to bioMerieux linear amplification technologies using chimeric primers. They plan to integrate technologies to develop an automatable microarray-based assay for cancer. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

• Cancer Research Technology Ltd., of London, the technology transfer arm of the charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK), announced an expansion of its development laboratories that will double in scale its technology transfer operations. In the first phase, the medicinal chemistry and biology teams will be expanded and CRT business managers will be appointed to CRUK's research institutes in Cambridge, Manchester and Glasgow. The expansion will enable proof-of-concept projects to be completed more quickly.

• CytoGenix Inc., of Houston, and Eurogentec SA, of Liege, Belgium, executed a letter of intent regarding synDNA development. They plan to collaborate to optimize manufacturing and to implement purification and quality-control parameters. A successful collaboration would facilitate submission of European Union regulatory filings with products containing synDNA. CytoGenix said it has developed a synthetic process for large-scale production of high-purity DNA.

• Epigenomics AG, of Berlin, and Myriad Genetics Inc., of Salt Lake City, entered a collaboration to identify DNA methylation biomarkers that may predict patient response to an undisclosed marketed oncology drug. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Myriad will provide patient samples for profiling in Epigenomics' Differential Methylation Hybridization microarray platform and OncoSign technology.

• Evotec AG, of Hamburg, Germany, said Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Watertown, Mass., extended its ongoing discovery collaboration with Evotec into its fourth year. Applying its expertise in medicinal chemistry, Evotec has supported Panacos since 2004 in identifying novel compounds for treating viral infection. Now, the program has been extended and expanded to include Evotec's development chemistry services. The development support includes the scale-up of selected compounds for development studies and the optimization of compounds before their selection for studies through experiments such as salt screens.

• Inno Biologics Sdn. Bhd., of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, entered a 10-year cooperation agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, of Ingelheim, Germany, whereby Inno clients will have access to BI's manufacturing technology platform for Phase I and Phase II biopharmaceutical products produced by mammalian cell culture. Separately, Inno signed a five-year development and biomanufacturing contract with Avesta Biotherapeutics & Research Pvt. Ltd., of Bangalore, India, under which Inno will provide pilot, clinical- or commercial-scale production for several of Avesta's pipeline molecules. In a third, separate deal, Inno entered a supply agreement with Malaysian Bio-Diagnostics Research Sdn. Bhd., of Bangi, Malaysia, that involves supplies of antibodies from Inno to MBDR for use in diagnostic kits. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Nautilus Biotech SA, of Evry, France, has received clearance from the FDA to carry out a Phase I clinical trial in the U.S. of the oral formulation of Belerofon, its proprietary variant of human interferon-alpha. Characterized by a single amino acid replacement, Belerofon is designed to lower the susceptibility of interferon-alpha to proteolytic degradation and make it longer lasting in serum. A Phase I trial of Nautilus' injectable, subcutaneous formulation of Belerofon began in Texas in April and is due to be completed in the third quarter of this year. Belerofon is being developed for the treatment of a range of conditions, including hepatitis C. It is one of several proteins the French company is developing for oral administration using its proprietary protein engineering technology.

• NicOx SA, of Sophia-Antipolis, France, and Axcan Pharma Inc., of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, have halted development of NCX 1000, which was undergoing a Phase IIa trial for the treatment of portal hypertension. A preliminary analysis of the results from 11 patients "did not demonstrate the efficacy required to support the continuation of this clinical trial," NicOx said. Axcan Pharma was co-developing NCX 1000 with NicOx. Meanwhile, NicOx reported a quarterly net profit of €1.8 million for the first three months of 2007, thanks to €5 million it received from Merck & Co., Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., in January. The payment marked the start of toxicology studies under a collaboration for the joint development of new antihypertensive drugs based on NicOx' nitric oxide-donating technology. It boosted the French company's revenues to €8.7 million in the first quarter of 2007 from €0.7 million in the corresponding three months of 2006. However, NicOx warned that it expects to make a loss through the rest of 2007 as a result of the costs associated with the development of naproxcinod. The company had cash and cash equivalents totaling €201.2 million as of March 31, up from €81.7 million at the end of 2006, due to the €130 million it raised in a rights issue in February.

• NovaThera Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, and Gamida Cell Ltd., of Jerusalem, formed a partnership to pool technology and expertise with the clinical team at Papworth Hospital to develop cell therapeutics for lung repair and regeneration. The Papworth team will clinically test populations of cord blood-derived stem cells expanded by Gamida's technologies and produced using NovaThera's bioprocessor technology for the manufacture of stem cells.

• Polyplus-transfection SA, of Strasbourg, France, obtained a €80,000 (US$108,338) grant from AFM (Association Franciase contre les Myopathies), France's Muscular Dystrophy Association. The grant will finance the cGMP-compliant production process of its in vivo-jetPEI reagent to enable its use in gene therapy. In vivo-jetPEI is a synthetic molecule designed to offer an alternative technology for gene therapy to the commonly used viral approach. Funding also covers the development of quality-control procedures and stability studies.

• Seegene Inc., of Seoul, South Korea, and BioServe, of Beltsville, Md., partnered to develop and validate test systems for infectious diseases in the Indian market. Under the agreement, Seegene will access BioServe's repository of Indian DNA samples to collaborate on developing test systems for illnesses such as sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and HIV, and BioServe will offer diagnostic testing services using Seegene's Seeplex STD detection system for Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, herpes simplex virus 2 and human papillomavirus. Terms were not disclosed.

• Stallergenes SA, of Antony, France, and CMC Biopharmaceuticals A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, entered an agreement to develop and supply recombinant Bet v 1 purified bulk. Bet v 1 is the protein that embodies most of the allergenicity of birch pollen. CMC will scale up the manufacturing of GMP purified recombinant Bet v 1 and produce batches for Phase III trials and commercial supply of Stallergenes' Oralair. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• ValiRx plc, of London, extended the scope of the agreement between its subsidiary, Cronos Therapeutics Ltd., and Cancer Research Technology Ltd., a specialist oncology development and commercialization company owned by Cancer Research UK. The extended agreement allows for the addition of three new potential GeneICE compounds to the collaboration, which previously centered on one compound, and will investigate the potential of those compounds in halting the development and growth of cancerous cells by preventing the transcription of specific genes involved in tumorigenesis. Cronos' GeneICE technology is designed to enable the selective silencing of specific genes in humans and animals by targeted histone deacetylation leading to chromatin condensation. The GeneICE compounds under review by CRT could be relevant to the treatment of five cancers: ovarian, prostate, testicular, breast and pancreatic. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• VASTox plc, of Oxford, UK, selected VOX C1100 as the lead candidate within its Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug discovery program. The small molecule is designed to compensate for low levels of dystrophin by increasing levels of a similar protein called utrophin. VASTox expects to submit an investigational new drug application for VOX C1100 by mid-2008 and begin clinical trials in the second half of 2008.

• Viropro Inc., of Montreal, and Intas Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., of Ahmedabad, India, signed a memorandum of understanding for the production of an undisclosed therapeutic protein. As a result of the commercial and research collaboration, Intas will invest equity in Viropro, and pay a licensing fee for the development and technology transfer of the manufacturing process. Viropro also gets royalties, and both firms will be able to out-license the process, sharing royalties from third-party manufacturers.

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