• Cellectis SA, of Paris, appointed Marc Le Bozec as chief financial officer. Le Bozec was previously chief operating officer of Paris-based Alfact Innovation, which is developing therapies for liver diseases.

• Diatos SA, of Paris, appointed Jamal Gasmi Medoicla director and James Cowburn sales and marketing director. Gasmi, who has 20 years' clinical development experience in oncology and hematology, was previously international medical leader, oncology, at Roche in Basel, Switzerland, and before that held a similar position at the French pharmaceutical company Pierre Fabre. Cowburn was formerly Global Oncology Products Director of Zeneus Pharma, a UK-based subsidiary of Cephalon Inc.

• Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, and Biogen Idec Canada, of Mississauga, Ontario, said Health Canada granted approval of Tysabri (natalizumab) in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis following a priority-review process. The drug is indicated as a monotherapy aimed at reducing the frequency of clinical relapses, delaying the progression of disability and decreasing the number and volume of active brain lesions identified by magnetic resonance imaging scans. Tysabri is administered once every four weeks by intravenous infusion. In June, the drug was granted a second approval in the U.S. in a limited capacity of patients. That came more than a year after the companies voluntarily withdrew Tysabri from the market after it was linked to rare cases of progressive multimodal leukoencephalopathy. In other news, Elan and Biogen Idec Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said Phase III data reported at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's Educational Conference in Chicago show that treatment with Tysabri (natalizumab) significantly reduced corticosteroid use and hospitalizations, and increased the proportion of multiple sclerosis patients with no disease activity. In addition, another analysis showed that the cost per relapse avoided for Tysabri ranged between $12,730 and $23,274, which was lower than that of the other approved disease-modifying therapies.

• Eurand International SpA, of Milan, Italy, entered an agreement to use its taste-masking and oral disintegration tablet technologies to develop a new formulation of an undisclosed product from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London. GSK, which will have exclusive U.S. commercialization rights for the new product, will fund its development, and Eurand will receive royalties. Both parties have certain rights to commercialize the product outside the U.S., and Eurand has exclusive, worldwide manufacturing rights. The companies expect to begin clinical trials this year and apply for FDA approval by the end of next year. GSK will pay Eurand payments of up to $42 million based on development, regulatory and sales milestones.

• Movianto Deutschland GmbH, of Stuttgart, Germany, signed an exclusive long-term contract to distribute Savene, a newly launched product of TopoTarget A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark. The compound, an antidote to chemotherapy accidents, has orphan-drug status in both Europe and the U.S. Movianto will provide warehousing services as well as packaging, labeling and distribution to hospitals and oncology centers, predominantly in the European market.

• Oncalis AG, of Schlieren, Switzerland, and ChemDiv Inc., of San Diego, entered a research and development collaboration whereby Oncalis will apply its proprietary yeast cell-based technology, as well as develop biological assays, and ChemDiv will apply its medicinal chemistry, and in vitro and in vivo biology services in the quest for development candidates inhibiting receptor tyrosine kinase and other cancer-related targets.

• Pharmaxis Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, received regulatory clearance to begin the UK arm of an international Phase III trial of Bronchitol in cystic fibrosis patients. The study, which will be conducted across Europe and Australia, will assess patients' improvements in lung function, exacerbations and quality of life. Dosing is expected to begin next quarter and recruitment is expected to last about a year. Subjects will receive treatment for six months, and results are expected in the middle of 2008.

• Santhera Pharmaceuticals AG, of Liestal, Switzerland, and the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health completed their six-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II trial of SNT-MC17/idebenone in Friedreich's ataxia. Preliminary data analysis from the 48-patient study suggested that the drug has a trend toward dose proportional improvement in neurological parameters in FRDA patients, as determined by the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale, a semi-quantitative scale based upon 19 test parameters that assess sensory and motor skills.

• Shire plc, of Basingstoke, UK, in-licensed exclusive worldwide rights to develop tissue protective cytokine (TPC) technology in non-nervous system indications, including renal and genetic disease areas, from Warren Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Philadelphia. Warren has identified TPCs - modifications of erythropoietin - which down-regulate the effect on blood cell production while maintaining its tissue protective effects, potentially making the therapy useful in a variety of disease areas. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Starpharma Holdings Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, agreed to acquire Dendritic Nanotechnologies Inc., of Mount Pleasant, Mich., in exchange for about $7 million worth of Starpharma shares. Starpharma is interested in Dendritic's Priostar dendrimer technology that has applications in the pharmaceutical, life sciences and industrial sectors. Starpharma already owns a third of Dendritic, and its other major shareholder is The Dow Chemical Co., of Midland, Mich., with a 30 percent stake.

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