• Active Biotech AB, of Lund, Sweden, reported positive data from a Phase Ib study of TASQ, an oral agent being developed to treat prostate cancer. The Swedish study in hormone-refractory patients showed five of six patients had a decrease in prostate-specific antigen velocity of more than 50 percent compared to prior treatment. Three of the five patients exhibited a decrease in absolute PSA levels. The study also demonstrated safety of 1 mg/day of TASQ, double the previously reported maximum tolerated dose. Phase II studies are scheduled to start sometime this year.

• Bio-Bridge Science Inc., of Oak Brook, Ill., signed a cooperative agreement with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences to develop a human papillomavirus vaccine expected to provide broader protection than Gardasil (Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus [Types 6, 11, 16, 18] Recombinant Vaccine, Merck & Co. Inc.) with lower production costs. Bio-Bridge has assumed a 60 percent interest in the project and will receive preferential right to develop the vaccine. Bio-Bridge also is developing an HIV vaccine in cooperation with the Beijing Institute of Radiation Medicine.

• F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, filed a supplemental new drug application to market 30-mg and 45-mg pediatric doses of Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), which was co-developed by Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, CA. Tamiflu currently is available in a 75-mg capsule for adults and a liquid suspension formulation for children, but the lower-dose capsules have a longer shelf life than the liquid and may appeal to the government for stockpiling efforts. Roche anticipates an FDA decision by mid-2007. Also on Friday, the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said it will not make Tarceva (erlotinib, Roche and Genentech Inc. and OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc.) available on the National Health Service for the treatment on non-small-cell lung cancer. Roche said it will appeal the ruling.

• IGI Inc., of Buena, N.J., said that Kearny, N.J.-based Pharmachem Laboratories Inc. made an equity investment of $1.5 million by purchasing 1.5 million shares of IGI's common stock. Those funds will be used to repay outstanding debts and accrued interest, as part of IGI's efforts to comply with requirements for its continued listing on the American Stock Exchange. The company previously signed an agreement for a $1 million line of credit with Pharmachem, though it cancelled that arrangement in favor of an 18-month, $1 million revolving line of credit with Pinnacle Mountain Partners LLC. IGI manufactures dermatological, consumer, skin care and hair care products for third parties using the Novasome lipid vesicle encapsulation technologies licensed from Malvern, Pa.-based Novavax Inc.

• Innogenetics NV, of Ghent, Belgium, said the U.S. Court of Appeals denied a motion by Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., for a stay of an injunction pending appeal. The ruling overturned a temporary stay ruling from Jan. 19. Innogenetics successfully sued Abbott in September 2005, alleging Abbott was infringing a patent covering a method of genotyping the hepatitis C virus. Jan. 4, a judge dismissed Abbott's requests for a new trial, affirmed the jury's finding that the patent was valid in all respects and approved the award of $7 million in damages. Jan. 10, the judge granted Innogenetics' request for a permanent injunction, enjoining Abbott from any further sales or other uses that would infringe on the Innogenetics' technology.

• Pressure BioSciences Inc., of West Bridgewater, Mass., received its second Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant (SBIR) from the National Institutes of Health. The grant is for $150,000 over six months, and follows a six-month, $150,000 SBIR grant received last October. Funds will be used to demonstrate the feasibility of using the company's Pressure Cycling Technology to develop a novel, automated sample preparation procedure for the extraction and purification of nucleic acids from a variety of biological samples in a single processing step.

• Protalix BioTherapeutics Inc., of Carmiel, Israel, said its stock was approved for listing on the American Stock Exchange. It is expected to begin trading on AMEX shortly under the symbol "PLX." The stock has been trading over the counter. The move followed the Jan. 3 completion of the merger between Protalix and the Miami-based public shell company Orthodontix Inc. That deal originally was announced in August. Protalix's technology is based on its plant cell culture and bioreactor system for industrial production of recombinant biopharmaceuticals.

• Scolr Pharma Inc., of Bellevue, Wash., revealed that its previously undisclosed partner in the development of an oral formulation of a promising antiviral flu compound is BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Birmingham, Ala. The companies are using Scolr's CDT drug delivery platform to develop an oral version of peramivir to treat and prevent various types of flu. An intramuscular formulation or peramivir is in Phase II, and BioCryst recently received a $102.6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the drug for the treatment of seasonal and life-threatening influenza, including avian flu. Japanese rights have been licensed to Shionogi & Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, in a $130 million deal. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 5, 2007 and March 7, 2007.)

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