• Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., has filed a claim against Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, of Madison, N.J., alleging infringement of the U.S. patent covering methods of treating human disease by regulating NF-(kappa)B cell-signaling activity. The claim is in response to a lawsuit filed by Amgen against Ariad in the U.S. District Court in Delaware in April 2006. That suit sought a judgment that the claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,410,516 (called the '516 Patent) are invalid and that Amgen has not infringed any of the claims of the patent based on activities related to Enbrel (etanercept) and Kineret (anakinra). Enbrel is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker. Kineret is an interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist. TNF and IL-1 are cytokines produced by the immune system

• Cambridge Antibody Technology, of Cambridge, UK, part of London-based AstraZeneca plc, and Philochem AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, signed a technology evaluation agreement for Philochem to apply its DNA-encoded libraries to the discovery of low molecular weight compounds against three undisclosed targets. Philochem will use its Encoded Self-Assembling Chemical (ESAC) libraries, in which chemical pharmacophores are displayed on DNA that contains an associated tag sequence and is selected by binding protein targets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Cytochroma Inc., of Markham, Ontario, settled a lawsuit brought in August by Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass. The complaint, which alleged misappropriation of vitamin D-related trade secrets, was amicably resolved and the case was formally dismissed, but settlement terms were not disclosed.

• Encysive Pharmaceuticals, of Houston, announced the commercial availability of Thelin 100 mg tablets in the Netherlands for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The company received European Union marketing authorization for Thelin in August. Thelin (sitaxentan sodium) is the first selective endothelin A receptor antagonist and the first once-daily oral treatment available for patients with PAH. Thelin can be marketed in all 27 member states of the European Union.

• GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said the FDA accepted its new drug application for satraplatin in combination with prednisone hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients whose prior chemotherapy has failed, and the review should be complete in the middle of August because the agency granted the submission priority status. That designation, intended for products that address significant unmet medical needs, sets FDA action dates at six months from the date of submission, and GPC completed its filing on Feb. 15. GPC in-licensed satraplatin's global rights five years ago from Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., and the agency's acceptance triggered a $4 million milestone payment to Spectrum. The drug's European filing is expected this quarter through a sub-licensor, Pharmion Corp., of Boulder, Colo.

• Lipid Sciences Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif., entered an agreement to in-license in vitro assay technology from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The one-year agreement, which can be renewed in one-year increments thereafter, covers intellectual property to determine the cholesterol efflux potential for serum. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Sernova Corp., of Kelowna, British Columbia, said a study published in the March 2007 issue of The Journal of Clinical Immunology confirmed the success of the company's experimental diabetes treatment involving use of transplanted porcine Sertoli cells and insulin-producing islets without immunosuppressive drugs. The results confirmed that the Sertoli cells reduce the immune responses and allow the survival of the transplanted islets. It is the first human study demonstrating the potential of porcine Sertoli cells for replacing anti-rejection drugs in transplants. Sernova owns the rights to more than 20 patents related to the therapeutic use of Sertoli cells, which are a key component of Sertolin, the company's experimental diabetes treatment.

• Shanghai Wanxiang, of Shanghai, China, has signed a technical cooperation agreement with Blue Blood Biotech Corp., of Taiwan, under which Blue Blood will pay it $400,000 to conduct a development investigation into the mass production of recombinant NEFG protein. NEFG is the first protein drug to stimulate angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels. The drug, developed to treat diabetes patients, will undergo clinical testing with assistance from a biotechnology program under the Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs

• Sirion Therapeutics Inc., of Tampa, Fla., said the FDA named its antiviral therapy, ganciclovir, an orphan drug for the treatment of acute herpetic keratitis. In Europe, the product is marketed as Virgan by Laboratoires Théa, of Clermont-Ferrand, France. Sirion, which in-licensed its U.S. rights in January, is planning Phase III trials of a topical gel formulation of ganciclovir.

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