• Adventrx Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said preclinical pharmacokinetic testing of ANX-514 (docetaxel emulsion) in a well-recognized animal model indicated bioequivalent pharmacokinetics between ANX-514 and the FDA-approved version of docetaxel (Taxotere). Furthermore, it said, ANX-514, administered intravenously, did not cause hypersensitivity reactions in the study, while acute hypersensitivity reactions were observed following intravenous Taxotere treatment.

• Agencourt Bioscience, of Fullerton, Calif., a wholly owned subsidiary of Beckman Coulter Inc., along with NuGen Technologies Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., and Affymetrix Clinical Services Laboratory, of West Sacramento, Calif., said a collaboration yielded a service offering for the automated isolation and target preparation of RNA from whole blood samples collected, stabilized and stored in PAXgene Blood Tubes. The offering enables express analysis profiling using Affymetrix GeneChip technology and can be used in drug discovery and development and for conducting biomarker discovery, cancer research and in high-throughput applications.

• Celera, of Rockville, Md., has granted Laboratory Corp. of America, of Burlington, N.C., a license to Celera's breast cancer metastasis and estrogen/progesterone receptor discoveries. The agreement allows LabCorp to select from Celera's genomic findings to develop and commercialize two molecular oncology laboratory service tests. LabCorp plans to offer one test to help predict the risk of metastasis in early stage breast cancer patients, and a second test to provide a molecular assessment of hormonal receptor status, which is used to select women for endocrine therapy. LabCorp will pay Celera an up-front license fee and royalties on net sales of laboratory service tests performed by LabCorp that incorporate Celera's discoveries. Further financial details were not disclosed.

• IsoTis Inc., of Irvine, Calif., has completed the transfer of the rights associated with its PolyActive technology to OctoPlus NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, in exchange for an up-front payment of approximately $1.7 million and future royalty payments on sales of pharmaceutical products based on the technology. Under the agreement, IsoTis retains the rights to manufacture, market and sell orthopedic plugs and cement restrictors including those related to its marketed product SynPlug, based on the technology.

• Onconome Inc., of Seattle, said results of a research study demonstrated that its ProstaMark EPCA-2 (Early Prostate Cancer Antigen) test is specific and sensitive to prostate cancer and could reduce the number of biopsies. The blood test detected 94 percent of men with prostate cancer and correctly identified 97 percent of men who didn't have the disease. The study was conducted at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Onconome holds exclusive rights to the ProstaMark EPCA-2 technology.

• Paladin Labs Inc., of Montreal, reached agreement in principle to purchase all the outstanding shares of BioEnvelop Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Montreal-based BioEnvelop Technologies Inc. BioEnvelop Inc. has expertise in developing and manufacturing rapidly dissolving edible films for the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical markets. Its products are generating revenue in both Canada and the U.S. Paladin would pay up to about $1.9 million in the deal, in both cash and stock.

• Pfizer Inc., of New York, said the FDA's Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee voted unanimously (12-0) to recommend the approval of maraviroc, a CCR5 antagonist, for use along with other antiretroviral agents for treatment-experienced patients infected with CCR5-tropic HIV-1. If approved, maraviroc would be the first member of a new class of oral HIV medicines in more than a decade, Pfizer said. Maraviroc is designed to block viral entry to human cells. Rather than fighting HIV inside white blood cells, it prevents the virus from entering uninfected cells by blocking its predominant entry route, the CCR5 co-receptor. Maraviroc currently is undergoing expedited regulatory review.

• Pipex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., has completed a reverse stock split of its common stock on a 1:3 basis. As a result, Pipex now has approximately 16.9 million shares outstanding and the Over-The-Counter Market on the NASD Electronic Bulletin Board will begin trading Pipex's shares of common stock under the new ticker symbol "PPEX." Pipex is a specialty pharmaceutical company that is developing late-stage drug candidates for neurologic and fibrotic diseases.

• QLT Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use will recommend to the European Commission deletion of the indication for Visudyne in treating occult subfoveal choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration. The European Commission is expected to endorse the CHMP's recommendation in a final decision that should be issued within two months, QLT said. That decision would not be expected to affect the approved use of Visudyne in the predominately classic or pathologic myopia indications. QLT said it was unclear what effect the decision will have on European Visudyne sales. The outcome, it said, will depend on the extent to which countries in the European Union change their reimbursement policies, as well as market adoption following results from ongoing combination-use studies.

• Resverlogix Corp., of Calgary, Alberta, has released pivotal proof-of-concept data in non-human primates for the NexVas PR program. Interim results from a long-term study in adult African Green monkeys demonstrated that oral administration once daily of RVX-208 for 28 days increased the levels of serum ApoA-I by 52 percent and HDL cholesterol by 95 percent. Data collected at day 42 demonstrated a sustained treatment effect.

• VASTox plc, of Oxford, UK, said it identified from screening libraries several novel series of small, drug-like molecules that show high levels of in vitro efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. VASTox's tuberculosis program targets N-acetyltransferase, an enzyme implicated in the growth of M. tuberculosis. Compounds that inhibit the enzyme, it said, are active against M. tuberculosis, resulting in cell death.

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