• Epidauros Biotechnologie AG, of Bernried, Germany, and InPheno AG, of Basel, Switzerland, entered a sales and marketing partnership to jointly apply their capabilities in the areas of genotyping and phenotyping, with a particular focus on disease areas, such as virology and oncology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Medivir AB, of Huddinge, Sweden, and Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co., of Shanghai, China, agreed to extend their research collaboration signed December 2003 to develop protease inhibitors against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To date, Medivir has combined its COPD protease inhibitor program, screening systems and enabling technologies with Hengrui's medicinal chemistry, and preclinical models have demonstrated efficacy based on biomarkers. The companies now will conduct further studies with the aim of selecting one or more drug candidates. Financial terms were not disclosed. The agreement now extends to June 18, 2007.

• Neuro-Hitech Inc., of New York, completed its acquisition of Q-RNA Inc., also of New York, gaining research programs in Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. L. William McIntosh, Q-RNA's CEO, will become Neuro-Hitech's chief operating officer and board member, and William Wong, vice president of product development at Q-RNA, was named the combined company's chief scientific officer. Neuro-Hitech also named Donald Weaver to its scientific advisory board and David Dantzker to its board.

• Ortec International Inc., of New York, agreed to amend its 2001 deal with an affiliate of Paul Capital Healthcare (PCH, formerly Paul Royalty Fund) to allow PCH to exchange all of its interest in future OrCel-related revenue for Ortec convertible preferred stock with a face value of $10 million, upon Ortec securing cumulative cash funding of at least $8 million and meeting certain other conditions. That convertible stock will be the same stock Ortec expects to issue to investors involved in the $8 million financing.

• PanGenetics BV, of Utrecht, the Netherlands, completed a licensing agreement with Schering-Plough Corp., of Kenilworth, N.J., which granted PanGenetics exclusive rights to an undisclosed therapeutic antibody from Schering-Plough's preclinical portfolio. PanGenetics will assume responsibility for the investigational new drug application-enabling preclinical program and will carry out initial clinical safety and efficacy evaluation. Schering-Plough then has the option to either assume exclusive responsibility for further development of the antibody or enter a co-development arrangement.

• ReNeuron Group plc, of Guildford, UK, and CellSeed Inc., of Tokyo, a privately owned tissue-engineering company, signed a collaboration agreement to develop novel, patented liver cell culture systems for drug safety screening. The development work, to be conducted in CellSeed's laboratories, will establish protocols for efficiently developing ReNeuron's ReNcell HEP hepatocyte cell lines in combination with CellSeed's UpCell and HydroCell temperature-sensitive polymer products for 3-dimensional functional liver tissue.

• Renovar Inc., of Madison, Wis., closed a $1.2 million financing round, with proceeds expected to support its efforts to secure FDA clearance of its Renokine I product, as well as product research and development activities. To date, Renovar has raised $3.2 million. NEW Capital Fund LP, Wisconsin Investment Partners and individual investors participated in the latest round. Rhona Vogel and Charles Goff were named to Renovar's board.

• Santhera Pharmaceuticals AG, of Liestal, Switzerland, and the Biozentrum at the University of Basel are participating in a pan-European network initiative coordinating research into rare neuromuscular diseases, the Translational Research in Europe - Assessment and Treatment of Neuromuscular Diseases (TREAT-NMD). It is funded by a European Union grant of €10 million (US$13.2 million) over five years. Santhera will select disease-relevant efficacy readout parameters and develop standardized protocols and procedures for harmonizing and accelerating preclinical studies of drug candidates, and in parallel, the university researchers will select appropriate preclinical disease models.

• Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., obtained exclusive rights from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the discovery, development and commercialization of an assay and gene therapy technologies using the SIRT1 gene. That technology will enable Sirtris to further advance its sirtuin platform for drug development against diseases of aging, such as diabetes. Financial terms were not disclosed. The company is studying SRT501 in a Phase Ib trial in Type II diabetes, and has a pipeline of small-molecule candidates designed to activate SIRT1.

• Tenby Pharma Inc., of Tampa, Fla., changed its name to Sirion Holdings Inc. following a recent transaction in which Sirion became a wholly owned subsidiary of Tenby. From Tenby's inception until the Sirion acquisition, Tenby was a shell company with no business or operations and only nominal assets. Pursuant to the deal, Sirion's former stockholders acquired control of Tenby, which became the parent holding company for Sirion and its businesses. Additionally, Tenby secured $25 million in financing from a group of affiliated institutional investors to develop and commercialize Sirion's portfolio of products.

• VistaGen Therapeutics Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., renewed its partnership with Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho Co. Ltd., of Nagoya, Japan, focused on using embryonic stem cells to discover therapeutics against diabetes. Under the terms, VistaGen will apply its embryonic stem cell technologies to discover biological molecules, growth factors and drug targets related to beta-islet cell growth and insulin production. Sanwa will use VistaGen's stem cell-based assay to screen its compound libraries for drug candidates in both Type I and Type II diabetes. VistaGen previously received an equity investment from Sanwa, as well as technology access and license fees, and the renewed agreement calls for VistaGen to receive additional research funding, downstream milestone payments and royalties on any product sales. VistaGen also will retain commercial rights for certain drug candidates and intellectual property developed in the collaboration.

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