• Accera Inc., of Broomfield, Colo., granted Nestle Purina PetCare Global Resources Inc. the right to develop its AC-1203 compound for use in healthy aging and wellness in dogs and other companion animals. Under the terms, Purina will handle future development, manufacturing and commercialization costs for those indications, and will pay Accera an up-front fee and additional milestone payments. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.

• Advanced Viral Research Corp., of Yonkers, N.Y., entered a financing agreement in which Cornell Capital Partners agreed to purchase $1.5 million in three-year 9 percent secured convertible debentures, and five-year warrants to acquire 48 million shares of Advanced Viral common stock priced at 3 cents per share. Proceeds will be used to support the company's clinical programs in cancer and dermatology, and also to supplement its product pipeline with additional products and technologies. Advanced Viral's lead product, AVR118, is a cytoprotective agent aimed at treating cachexia-related disorders.

• BioVeris Corp., of Gaithersburg, Md., said it has received a $2.8 million payment from Roche Diagnostics, a division of F. Hoffman La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland. However, BioVeris believes it is owed more under a nonexclusive license to its ECL technology. The payment represents Roche's preliminary calculation of amounts owed for 2004 sales that were outside Roche's licensed field, and BioVeris has notified Roche that this amount does not fully satisfy its obligations. BioVeris, which does not believe that the payment is indicative of amounts that will be owed for subsequent years, has appointed an independent auditor to examine the sales and accounting records and accounts of all uses of BioVeris' ECL technology by Roche and its affiliates.

• Caliper Life Sciences Inc., of Hopkinton, Mass., launched its Caliper Discovery Alliances & Services business, a service organization created from the integration of NovaScreen Biosciences, a provider of in vitro discovery services, and Xenogen Biosciences, a provider of in vivo discovery services. Caliper Discovery Alliances & Services offers more than 700 in vitro assay types, including receptor, enzyme, and ion channel screening and profiling assays, side-effect and ADME-tox panels, as well as cellular models for immunology, oncology and other fields. In vivo offerings include more than 85 pharmacological assays that measure more than 400 different parameters for applications such as in vivo compound profiling and phenotyping, and target validation studies. Other in vivo services include creation of genetically modified animal models and biophotonic imaging-based animal models for oncology and other therapeutic areas. Caliper acquired NovaScreen in October 2005 and Xenogen last August.

• Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT), of Palo Alto, Calif., granted iCo Therapeutics Inc. an exclusive worldwide license to develop CAT-213, a human monoclonal antibody. The compound, initially developed by CAT as a potential treatment for allergy disorders, will be advanced by iCo for treatment of ocular allergies. Under terms of the agreement, Vancouver-based iCo will pay CAT an up-front fee, clinical and regulatory milestone payments, and royalties on future sales.

• Cytochroma Inc., of Markham, Ontario, entered a license and supply agreement with aOvaTechnologies Inc., of Madison, Wis., to co-develop and commercialize products directed at treating and preventing hyperphosphatemia in patients with chronic kidney disease. Cytochroma is gaining exclusive worldwide rights to aOvaTech's technology for use in human health care, and in exchange, aOvaTech will receive an undisclosed up-front license fee and royalties on the sale of products covered by the license. aOvaTech also will supply Cytochroma with material. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.

• Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc., of Chadds Ford, Pa., and Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co., of Danbury, Conn., amended several components of their collaboration for Opana ER (oxymorphone HCl) extended-release tablets CII. With respect to the product's U.S. sales, Endo's royalty payments to Penwest will be calculated starting at 22 percent of annual net sales, and based on agreed-upon levels of net sales achieved, the royalty rate can increase to a maximum of 30 percent. No royalty payments will be due to Penwest for the first $41 million of royalties that would otherwise have been payable beginning from the time of the product launch last July. Penwest is entitled to receive milestone payments of up to $90 million based upon the achievement of certain agreed-upon annual sales thresholds. The amendment also resolves the parties' ongoing disagreement with regard to sharing of marketing expenses during the period prior to when the product reaches profitability.

• Illumina Inc., of San Diego, and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario entered a research collaboration to develop molecular diagnostic tests to screen newborn babies for spinal muscular atrophy and hemoglobinopathies. Under the terms, Illumina and CHEO initially will develop assays to screen newborns for those two indications using Illumina's VeraCode technology and BeadXpress reader. Illumina will gain global commercialization rights to assays developed in the collaboration.

• Juvaris BioTherapeutics Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif., closed the first two rounds of a Series A financing, with a $6 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Pandemic & Biodefense Fund. The second closing, excepted to occur within 120 days, would bring the total round to $12 million. Funds will be used to advance the company's lead vaccine products for influenza and pneumonia into the clinic, and to pursue immunotherapy products for hepatitis B and biodefense applications.

• Merck Serono SA, of Geneva, was launched after Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, successfully closed its share purchase agreement of Serono SA, of Geneva. The new company will have 28 projects in clinical development and a combined research and development budget totaling about €1 billion (US$1.3 billion). The $13.3 billion deal was announced last year. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 22, 2006.)

• Movetis NV, of Belgium, closed a €49 million (US$63.8 million) Series A round, led by Sofinnova Partners (France) and Life Science Partners, with participation from Sofinnova Ventures (US), KBC Private Equity, KBC Private Equity Fund Biotech, GIMV, Quest for Growth and BIP Investment Partners. Movetis, which specializes in gastroenterology, licensed products and technologies from Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, of Belgium, and U.S.-based Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., both of which are affiliates of Johnson & Johnson. The company's late-stage development compound has completed three pivotal trials in chronic constipation, targeting patients who are treated with laxatives without satisfactory results. Other products in development are aimed at treating ascites, pediatric regurgitation, diabetic gastroparesis and severe forms of dyspepsia. Movetis' board includes CEO Dirk Reyn; Staf Van Reet; Antoine Papiernik, of Sofinnova Partners; Martijn Kleijwegt, of Life Science Partners; and Jim Healy, of Sofinnova Ventures. Ruth Devenyns, of KBC, will be an observer.

• Protherics plc has filed a New Drug Submission to Health Canada for DigiFab, a digoxin antidote already approved in the U.S. for treatment of life-threatening digoxin toxicity or overdose. The London-based company hopes to receive Canadian approval in 2008. It already has filed for approval in the U.K. and in Europe and hopes to have approvals in six to 12 months. Protherics recently announced an agreement with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, to replace its digoxin antidote, which is being withdrawn from the market.

• Provid Pharmaceuticals Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Tripos Discovery Research, the Bude, U.K.-based drug discovery division of Tripos Inc., for $2 million. The Tripos board of directors has approved the sale. North Brunswick, N.J.-based Provid said it will continue to offer the TDR LeadQuest libraries and LeadDiscovery platform to customers. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter.

• Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, and Qiagen GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qiagen NV, of Venlo, the Netherlands, entered a strategic collaboration to jointly develop a preanalytical solution for small-molecule (fetal) DNA enrichment for prenatal diagnostics. The arrangement will combine Qiagen's preanalytical sample preparation technologies in life sciences and molecular diagnostics with Sequenom's capabilities in genetic analysis technology. The primary goal is to develop a set of reagents that optimize the enrichment of small nucleic acid fragments, such as circulating free fetal nucleic acids in maternal plasma or serum, as well as short nucleic acids in blood, plasma or serum, for the analysis of cancer and other key disorders. Sequenom will retain exclusive distribution rights to the specific technology for enriching short nucleic acids developed under this collaboration.

• Targeted Genetics Corp., of Seattle, is raising $8.72 million in a private placement of 2.18 million shares, along with warrants to purchase up to an aggregate of 763,000 shares, priced at $4 each. Warrants will be exercisable at $5.41 per share. The company anticipates net proceeds of about $8.1 million, which will be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes. Special Situations Fund, through its Special Situations Life Sciences Fund, is the lead investor in the financing. Greenway Capital also participated in the investment. Pacific Growth Equities LLC acted as the exclusive placement agent.

• The North Carolina Biotechnology Center, of Research Triangle Park, N.C., approved $350,000 in loans to four young research-based companies. Addrenex Pharmaceuticals, of Morrisville, N.C., is developing Clonicel, an oral, extended-release formulation for symptoms associated with excessive adrenaline secretion, and Teotten Diagnostics, also of Research Triangle Park, is developing tests for hospital-acquired infections. Both received one-year Small Business Research loans of $150,000. Two other companies each received $25,000 Business Development Loans: Axitare, which is developing technology to screen libraries of natural compounds that could enhance the flavor and aroma of foods, and BioMedomics, which focuses on diagnostics targeting point-of-care personalized genetic testing for specific disease biomarkers.

• Zyentia Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, entered a research collaboration to allow Louisville, Ky.-based Potentia Pharmaceuticals Inc. access to its AggreSolve platform for characterizing compounds. No financial terms were disclosed. Zyentia plans to seek additional research collaborations to support its internal pipeline. The company anticipates moving into preclinical testing with its lead candidates this year.

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