• Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, amended its agreement with Edwards Lifesciences Corp., of Irvine, Calif., regarding the distribution of Angiotech's Vascular Wrap paclitaxel-eluting mesh/ePTFE graft combination product. Angiotech now has the exclusive rights to distribute the product through its own sales force and distribution network in Europe. Edwards still retains the same marketing and distribution rights with respect to the stand-alone Lifespan vascular graft product line as outlined in the original agreement.

• Atrium Biotechnologies Inc., of Quebec, changed its name to Atrium Innovations Inc. The company said the name change reflects its evolution from being the subsidiary of a biotechnology company to a multiproduct manufacturer and marketer.

• 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.

• Biosite Inc., of San Diego, received a letter from Inverness Medical Innovations Inc., of Waltham, Mass., contemplating an offer by Inverness to purchase, by way of a cash tender offer, all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Biosite not already owned by Inverness for $92.50 per share. The letter was accompanied by a merger agreement signed by Inverness and copies of signed commitment letters from Inverness' proposed financing sources. The amount beats by $2.50 per share an offer made by Beckman Coulter Inc., of Fullerton, Calif. (See BioWorld Today, April 11, 2007.)

• Cortex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., and TEC Edmonton, on behalf of the University of Alberta, entered an exclusive patent license agreement that could broaden the use of Cortex's Ampakine technology to prevent and treat opiate- and barbiturate-induced respiratory depression. University of Alberta work has shown through in vitro and in vivo animal models that selected Ampakine compounds can enhance respiratory drive and breathing rhythm at the level of the brainstem. While few adverse drug events caused by prescription medications are respiratory in nature, they account for 25 percent to 30 percent of drug-induced deaths, it said.

• 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.

• 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.

• Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., entered an agreement with Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., to use its repositioning technology to seek additional development paths for multiple Abbott drug candidates, all of which have successfully passed Phase I human trials. Gene Logic is entitled to milestone payments for each drug candidate Abbott returns to clinical development. In addition, it would receive royalties on any resulting drug sales. Gene Logic also has the option to exclusively license any drug candidate Abbott chooses not to pursue, in which case Abbott would be entitled to milestone and royalty payments. Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• GenVec Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., presented preclinical research demonstrating the ability of its new adenovector, Ad35, to induce and sustain protein production in the eye. GenVec researchers compared the duration of expression in the eye of two different adenovectors, Ad5 and Ad35. The results showed sustained protein expression beyond four months in eyes treated with the Ad35 vector. Results were presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

• 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.

• KineMed Inc., of Emeryville, Calif., received an option to exclusively license from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology intellectual property related to scavenger receptor-class B type I (SR-B1). Under the agreement, KineMed has the option to exclusive rights to issued patents that cover SR-B1 as a therapeutic target for the treatment of atherosclerotic heart disease. KineMed also got an option for nonexclusive rights to methods of screening for drugs that modulate SR-B1 expression and activity, and genetic models of SR-B1 modulation. Terms were not disclosed. Separately, KineMed offered animal-model data on a method for measuring the efflux of cholesterol from tissues through reverse cholesterol transport, the only known mechanism by which excess cholesterol can be removed from tissues. Data, presented at the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Annual Meeting in Chicago, compared the effects of several therapeutic approaches on RCT in real time with live animals.

• 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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