• Affectis Pharmaceuticals AG, of Munich, Germany, entered a contract services agreement with Toronto-based Dalton Pharma Services for the manufacturing of preclinical tox materials, with the potential for cGMP production. The agreement relates to the company's P2X7 antidepressant candidate, which is set to enter preclinical development. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., opened a new European Development Center in London, to support the company's largest international clinical trial program. In 2007, Amgen expects to enroll 55,000 patients in more than 250 clinical studies worldwide, with more than half coordinated by the UK-based R&D staff. The center, Amgen's largest R&D investment outside the U.S., was opened by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair last week.

• Argenta Discovery Ltd., of Harlow, UK, expanded its drug discovery agreement with Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, to add a second two-year discovery project. The companies are using Argenta's computer-aided drug design, medicinal chemistry and biology technologies to discover new chemical entities acting against a second, undisclosed drug target defined by Genentech. The first agreement began in December 2005. Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed, but the agreement does provide options to expand the relationship, including opportunities to pursue additional discovery projects.

• Arrow Therapeutics Ltd., of London, said the acquisition of the company by AstraZeneca plc, also of London, has closed. The $150 million cash deal originally was announced on Feb. 1. Arrow Therapeutics, founded in 1998, is focused on antiviral drug discovery and development. The company was expected to continue operating as an independent unit, maintaining its facility in London, with Ken Powell, co-founder and CEO, as its head.

• BioAlliance Pharma SA, of Paris, reported a sharp jump in its net loss to €13.2 million (US$17.3 million) last year from €7.7 million in 2005. Although the company earned revenues for the first time, €460,000 through the supply of services to Eurofins-VirAlliance, it invested €7.9 million in preclinical and clinical development activities, while its labor costs rose to €5.5 million as it prepares to commercialize its first product, Loramyc, which is due to be launched in Europe in 2008. In addition, BioAlliance said it received approval from regulatory authorities in Australia, France and the Czech Republic for the conduct of a Phase III clinical trial of acyclovir Lauriad in labial herpes. The company also has a Phase III trial of Loramyc under way in the U.S., which will be completed this year, as well as a Phase II/III trial of doxorubicin Transdrug in primary liver cancer. BioAlliance had cash in hand of €17.6 million at the end of 2006.

• Cancer Research Technology Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Cancer Research Technology Ltd., of London, and Fox Chase Cancer Center, of Philadelphia, entered a collaboration to develop small-molecule inhibitors of an undisclosed kinase. The program builds on a series of validated hit compounds identified by Fox Chase scientists. Hit-to-lead studies to optimize potency and drug-like characteristics of the compounds will be performed in CRT's development laboratories in London, and then the compounds will be characterized in specialized secondary biological assays by Fox Chase. It is the first U.S.-academic relationship to be announced by CRT Inc. since it was established in May 2006.

• Eurofins Scientific, of Nantes, France, reported a 40 percent rise in its net earnings to €37.3 (US$48.9 million) million in 2006, when its revenues jumped by 58 percent to €368 million and its post-tax rate of return on capital employed rose to 23.5 percent from 20.9 percent in 2005. The company has raised its revenue target for 2007 from €420 million to €450 million.

• Evotec AG, of Hamburg, Germany, and Interprotein Corp., of Amagasaki-City, Japan, signed a collaboration to develop Interprotein's interleukin-6 inhibitors program for inflammatory disease. Evotec will use its expertise in medical chemistry, computational chemistry and profiling to optimize compounds discovered using Interprotein's in silico drug design. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Help the Aged, a UK-based charity, said it will fund 20 new studies totaling £1.7 million (US$3.3 million) through its biomedical Research into Aging program. The studies cover conditions related to older age including dementia, wound healing and osteoporosis. The program has been in operation for 31 years, and the 20 new studies bring the current total of research programs to 67.

• KeyNeurotek AG, of Magdeburg, Germany, entered an exclusive licensing agreement to take over development and marketing rights to GRT 203 from Grünenthal GmbH, of Aachen, Germany. The compound, in development for treating aconuresis (urinary incontinence) via the central nervous system, has successfully completed Phase I trials in healthy volunteers under Grünenthal's watch. KeyNeurotek is preparing for Phase II trials in patients with urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said the six-month dosage form of its cancer drug Eligard has been launched in Germany. Previously, it had been available in Germany and other European countries only in one- and three-month dosages. Eligard is sold by Astellas Pharma Inc., of Tokyo, from which MediGene is entitled to a milestone payment of an undisclosed amount.

• Nautilus Biotech SA, of Evry, France, filed an investigational new drug application with the FDA for oral Belerofon, its long-lasting human interferon (IFN) alpha. It filed an IND for injectable Belerofon in the U.S. in October. The company said all IFN drugs now on the market are administered by injection and the oral formulation is designed to improve safety and patient compliance. Oral Belerofon is one of several proteins being developed for oral administration by Nautilus Biotech using its protein-engineering technology.

• Vaxon-Biotech, of Evry, France, appointed Nadège Le Roux director, drug development. Le Roux, previously Bexidem clinical project leader at IDM Pharma Inc., of San Diego, will be responsible for all of Vaxon's preclinical and clinical development programs.

• Vivalis, of Nantes, France, granted Fort Dodge Animal Health, a division of Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth, rights to the embryonic stem cell-derived EBx cell lines for evaluation in the production of viral vaccines. Vivalis said its chicken and duck EBx cell lines could provide an alternative to embryonated eggs for the industrial viral vaccine production.

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