• CellCyte Genetics Corp., of Kirkland, Wash., formerly Shepard Inc., closed its share exchange agreement to complete the acquisition of CellCyte, a company focused on discovering and developing stem cell enabling therapeutics. As of the closing date, the company has raised nearly $6 million through a private placement of common shares or units. CellCyte appointed Gary Reys and Ronald Berninger to the board, and named Reys as the president and CEO and Berninger as the secretary, treasurer and executive vice president.

• Galapagos NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, reached two significant milestones in its multi-year drug discovery alliance with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, in osteoarthritis, triggering payments of €3.2 million (US$4.27 million) from GSK. The deal is worth up to €130 million in milestones for two marketable products to Galapagos, plus up to double-digit royalties on global product sales. In January, Galapagos announced the alliance's first milestone, triggering a €400,000 payment from GSK.

• Hana Biosciences Inc., appointed Leon Rosenberg as its non-executive chairman. Rosenberg is the former head of the Pharmaceutical Research Institute at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, and former dean of the Yale University School of Medicine. He has been serving as a director of the company since February 2004.

• Interleukin Genetics Inc., of Waltham, Mass., entered a new research agreement with Access Business Group International LLC, a subsidiary of Ada, Mich.-based Alticor Inc., encompassing the development of genetic tests to guide consumers' selection of skin care products. Under the terms, Interleukin is eligible to receive up to $2.3 million in additional research funding in 2007.

• Mendel Biotechnology Inc., of Hayward, Calif., acquired a Miscanthus breeding program from Tinplant Biotechnik und Pflanzenvermehrung GmbH, of Klein Wanzleben, Germany. Miscanthus is one of the leading candidate crops for the production of lignocellulosic plant material to create biofuels such as ethanol. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but include a five-year collaboration between the two companies for ongoing breeding work.

• Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, agreed to an FDA request to voluntarily discontinue marketing and sales of Zelnorm (tegaserod maleate), a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and chronic constipation. The agency based its request on newly available information of an increased risk of serious cardiovascular adverse events associated with the drug, including heart attacks, unstable angina and stroke. Based on this new information, the FDA has concluded that Zelnorm's overall risk-vs.-benefit profile is unfavorable for continued marketing. Novartis is communicating with the agency on how to continue to make it available to appropriate patients, and is in discussions with foreign regulatory agencies to determine the next steps abroad.

• The Van Andel Institute, of Grand Rapids, Mich., published a study in Current Biology regarding its discovery that the cellular protein DIP can trigger "blebbing" - cell bubbling linked to cancer cell metastasis. DIP binds to and inhibits the activity of mDia2, a Formin protein that works to control tumor cell metastasis. The binding results in cell blebbing, which may inhibit the control mDia2 has over tumor cell metastasis and lead to development of secondary tumors.

• VioQuest Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Basking Ridge, N.J., obtained an exclusive license from Asymmetric Therapeutics LLC to develop and commercialize Xyfid, an adjunctive therapy for a common and serious side effect of cancer chemotherapy. Also, VioQuest has added VQD-002-Oral an orally bioavailable pro-drug analog of VQD-002 (triciribine- phosphate) to its preclinical pipeline.

• Vivalis, of Nantes, France, granted Bavarian Nordic A/S, of Kvistgard, Denmark, a license to evaluate its embryonic stem cell-derived ebx cell lines as a production platform for MVA-BN vaccines. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. MVA-BN is a multivalent vaccine vector for the development of vaccines against smallpox, HIV/AIDS, breast and prostate cancer. Bavarian Nordic is conducting Phase I and Phase II trials with MVA-BN-based vaccines, which are currently produced in chicken embryonic fibroblasts.

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