• Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., entered an agreement under which it will sponsor a five-year research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Cancer Research, focused on the delivery of RNAi therapeutics. Alnylam will provide research funding for about 10 postdoctoral researchers annually over the five-year term. Alnylam has an exclusive option to license resulting RNAi technology. At the same time, it broadened its exclusive rights under a pre-existing license agreement from MIT, to develop and commercialize for human RNAi therapeutics a lipidoid-based delivery technology.

• Aviva Systems Biology, of San Diego, entered a collaboration with the nonprofit Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle to develop antibodies for liver toxicity biomarker discovery. The ISB is providing Aviva a list of proteins for which Aviva will produce antibodies. ISB then will assess the antibodies for efficacy and, if appropriate, use them to identify possible biomarker proteins that indicate early liver toxicity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• BG Medicine, of Waltham, Mass., entered a research collaboration with The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center aimed at improving the treatment of breast cancer. BG Medicine will apply its biomarker discovery technology to the analysis of clinical samples provided by the cancer center. The goal is to identify novel, specific and sensitive blood-based protein and metabolite biomarkers in breast cancer patients who are receiving selected treatments. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• BioE Inc., of St. Paul, Minn., said an in vitro study showed its PrepaCyte-CB Umbilical Cord Blood Processing System significantly improved recovery of therapeutically important total nucleated cells and white blood cells from human umbilical cord blood, when compared to traditional hetastarch-based cord blood processing methods.

• Curis Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, of Cincinnati, terminated their September 2005 collaboration on Curis' topically applied Hedgehog agonist program for hair growth. P&G ended the deal because compounds under development did not demonstrate an acceptable safety profile, Curis said. The deal was unrelated to the broad Hedgehog agonist program Curis exclusively licensed to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, of Madison, N.J., in January 2004. Curis' stock (NASDAQ:CRIS) fell 34 cents Wednesday, or 18.9 percent, to close at $1.51.

• Cyntellect Inc., of San Diego, said it will receive about $1.3 million in funding under a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research grant for continued new-application development on its laser-based LEAP system. Specifically, the grant will fund further development of applications using LEAP for automated high-speed purification and cloning of cells based upon their specific secretion of native or recombinant proteins.

• Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Warrington, Pa., presented data supporting the anti-inflammatory properties of its KL-4 surfactant (lucinactant) replacement technology at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Toronto. The presentations included preclinical results from two studies that demonstrated Surfaxin (lucinactant administered as an intratracheal suspension) has the potential to reduce lung inflammation.

• 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.

• GeneThera Inc., of Wheat Ridge, Colo., retained The Mezey Howarth Group to explore ways to enhance shareholder value through the acquisition of a biotechnology company with revenues and positive cash flow. Other strategic alternatives the agricultural and veterinary genetic diagnostic company may consider include partnerships and equity financings.

• Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., said its board approved a 2-for-1 split of the company's outstanding common stock. Stockholders of record as of the close of business May 24 will receive a stock dividend of one additional share of common stock for every share they own. Based on the total number of shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, the stock split will increase the total number of shares of common stock outstanding to about 931 million.

• iCeutica Inc., of Philadelphia, signed a binding agreement with Copenhagen, Denmark-based Nordic Biotech, a venture capital group, to establish a new company known as Spree Pharma A/S. The agreement enables Spree to leverage iCeutica's Encapsulated Organic Nanoparticle platform to reformulate a number of compounds for launch and marketing by Spree Pharma.

• Millenium Biologix Corp., of Kingston, Ontario, said it received an order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice appointing Ernst & Young Inc. as receiver over certain of the company's assets, and authorizing the receiver to effect the sale of its resorbable synthetic bone graft substitute technology, SkeliteO, in accordance with a previously announced agreement. All members of the board and senior management have resigned.

• 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.

• NuGEN Technologies Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., and bioMerieux, of Paris, 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.

• Oxis International Inc., of Montvale, N.J., said its lead antioxidant compound, L-ergothioneine (ERGO), showed positive results in preserving function of sperm cells undergoing freezing and thawing. ERGO increased sperm cell viability by 15 percent to 20 percent in preclinical and clinical studies as measured by total and progressive motility, when added to known cell extender preservatives in general use in the fertility field. ERGO is a naturally occurring antioxidant that is abundant in most plants and animals, but cannot be synthesized by humans and therefore is available only from dietary sources.

• Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said the FDA wants results from the company's ongoing 26-week transgenic mouse carcinogenicity study of Silenor (doxepin) for insomnia included as part of the initial new drug application submission. The request may result in the company delaying its initial NDA submission until the first quarter of 2008, Somaxon said. The company's stock (NASDAQ:SOMX) closed Wednesday at $15.97, down $2.03, or 11.3 percent.

No Comments