• 3SBio Inc., of Shenyang, China, received Chinese regulatory approval to produce and sell pre-filled syringe erythropoietin products in 2,000 IU, 3,000 IU, 4,000 IU and 10,000 IU strengths under its brand name, EPIAO. The company plans to launch the pre-filled EPIAO syringes this year.

• Antisoma plc, of London, signed a deal with Microtest, a contract manufacturing and testing laboratory based in Agawam, Mass., to begin the aseptic manufacturing of the cancer drug AS141. Under the terms, Microtest will handle formulation and aseptic fill/finish of AS1411 material supply for upcoming Phase II trials and will be responsible for stability testing of the compound. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• BioLineRx Ltd., of Jerusalem, in-licensed two therapeutics candidates: BL-3040, a small molecule for treating estrogen-regulated malignancies and osteoporosis; and BL-3050, a protein complex for treating atherosclerosis. BL-3040 and BL-3050 were licensed from Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Medical Research and Infrastructure Fund of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. BioLineRx said it now has 14 drug candidates under development. In other news, BioLineRx signed a worldwide, exclusive license agreement with Yissum Research Development Co. of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd., for the development and commercialization of BL-4020, a peptide for inflammatory diseases. Designed to mimic ManLAM, a protein from the cell surface of Myocbacterium tuberculosis, BL-4020 has shown in preclinical testing to be effective in animal models of inflammation, including asthma, colitis and others. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Chroma Therapeutics Ltd., of Oxford, UK, said its oral, once-daily therapy CHR-2797 entered its first Phase II trial, in elderly patients with treatment refractory acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The aminopeptidase inhibitor recently completed a dose-ascending Phase I study in which there were indications of efficacy in a significant proportion of the AML patients treated. CHR-2797 is being evaluated also as a treatment for solid tumors in two Phase I studies, as immunotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, and DSM Biologics, of Sittard, the Netherlands, granted the Development Center for Biotechnology in Taipei, Taiwan, a nonexclusive PER.C6 research license. DCB will use the PER.C6 human cell line for its in-house production of undisclosed recombinant proteins.

• Curidium Medica plc, of London, said it discovered the existence of four statistically significant diagnostic gene expression profiles in blood samples from schizophrenia/bipolar disorder patients using its Homomatrix tool and whole genome screening technology from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Affymetrix Inc. The genes identified in each of four subgroups of patient/control members include known and new drug targets and biomarkers. The company now is in the process of determining specificity and sensitivity of a potential blood diagnostic test.

• Episteme Holdings plc, of Manchester UK, a specialist in adult stem cells, will float on the Alternative Investment Market in London, raising £3 million (US$5.9 million) The company's expertise is focused on the regulation of adult stem cells in epithelial tissue, which includes the gastrointestinal tract, skin, hair follicles, breast and prostate gland. It has two divisions, a contract research services unit, which provides preclinical efficacy testing and a therapies arm, which is focused on developing stem cell therapies and diagnostic biomarkers.

• EvoGenix Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, said it received an undisclosed milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, upon GSK's confirmation of successful completion of the companies' first project. EvoGenix is using its EvoGene protein-optimization technology to develop improved versions of a GSK protein product. The protein variants generated had improvements in affinity that exceeded the 20-fold goal specified in the collaboration. EvoGenix is eligible to receive additional milestone payments, as well as royalties on resulting sales, under the October 2005 collaboration.

• Genetic Technologies Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, entered a deal under which Tampa, Fla.-based UTEK Corp. will help it identify genetic analysis intellectual property developed by U.S.-based researchers that may be of interest to GTL's genetic testing business. The initial focus of the relationship will be in the area of non-coding DNA analysis. Terms were not disclosed.

• GW Pharmaceuticals plc, of Salisbury, UK said it received clearance from U.S. authorities to go ahead with its deal giving Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, exclusive rights to develop and market the cannabis extract Sativex, in the U.S. The companies are also in discussions with a view to entering a cannabinoid research collaboration in central nervous system disorders and cancer.

• MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said its business unit, AbD Serotec, expanded for another five years its license agreement with MRC Technology, the technology arm of Great Britain's Medical Research Council, providing the company access to a range of hybridoma cell lines as a source of research antibodies. The expanded deal includes additional products, which will be implemented in AbD Serotec's offering. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Mymetics Corp., of Nyon, Switzerland, said all litigation with MFC Merchant Bank SA was resolved. The dispute related to a €4 million (US$5.3 million) credit facility provided by the bank. Mymetics agreed to pay Geneva-based MFC €1.49 million and provide 12.5 million restricted shares. All liens held by MFC on Mymetics' intellectual property were relinquished.

• Procognia Ltd., of Maidenhead, UK, entered a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, to explore the use of Procognia's arrays within the GSK drug-development processes. They will combine Procognia's functional protein array technology and GSK's fluorescently labeled broad-specificity kinase inhibitors. Procognia will supply arrays containing more than 300 functional human kinases. They also will work to assess integrating Procognia's protein array technology into GSK's screening process. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• SkyePharma plc, of London, completed the sale of its injectables business to the private equity group Blue Acquisition Corp. The deal called for about $20 million up front and up to about $61 million in potential milestone payments. The deal means a previous £14.8M (US$29 million) placement of shares no longer is conditional, and the shares began trading. At the same time, Paul Capital Healthcare restructured investments in SkyePharma, converting its royalty participation in 14 of SkyePharma's marketed and pipeline products into a $92.5 million secured note, with additional contingent payments linked to the future sales performance of DepoDur, a pain-management product from the injectables business. The moves complete a financial restructuring SkyePharma disclosed in January.

• Tecpar, of Curitiba, Brazil, and ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, have signed a technology transfer and licensing agreement allowing Tecpar to manufacture a complex biopharmaceutical product for the Brazilian domestic market as well as all other South American countries. The total transaction is valued at C$19 million (US$16.41 million). ProMetic will manage development of the manufacturing process, which is based on technology licensed from a division of the National Research Council of Canada, and ProMetic's own bioseparation process. ProMetic has granted Tecpar an exclusive license to use the technology for a selected biopharmaceutical product for the entire South American market. ProMetic will received about C$9 million for license, milestone and development payments. Also, C$10 million will go to modify Tecpar's current facility.

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