• ExonHit Therapeutics SA, of Paris, extended its strategic collaboration with Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif., to identify, develop and commercialize drugs targeted at neurodegenerative diseases, pain and ophthalmology. The decision was based on the positive preclinical trial results.

• Integrated DNA Technologies Inc., of Coralville, Iowa, acquired RNA-TEC, of Leuven, Belgium, to broaden its capabilities in specialized large-scale RNA synthesis and purification. RNA-TEC's team, led by Brian Sproat, will join IDT's staff, and the Berlin headquarters will be expanded as IDT's European base. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

• Luminex Corp., of Austin, Texas, and Exiqon A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, signed an agreement to co-develop and commercialize microRNA products. Exiqon will develop and manufacture microRNA products on behalf of the Luminex Bioscience Group based on Luminex's xMAP technology and Exiqon's Locked Nucleic Acid technology.

• Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., earned a milestone payment as part of its collaboration with NV Organon, of Oss, the Netherlands. The payment was triggered by Pharmacopeia's delivery of two additional advanced lead compound series meeting stringent pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic requirements and demonstrating activity in relevant preclinical models of pain and obesity. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 14, 2006.)

• Poniard Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, broadened its license agreement with Vancouver, British Columbia-based AnorMed Inc. for picoplatin, Poniard's lead product candidate, that would add improved financial returns for Poniard and exclusive worldwide rights. Under the terms, Poniard agreed to pay AnorMed a $5 million cash payment by Oct. 16, and an additional cash payment of $5 million by March 31, 2007. The expanded deal eliminates the payment of development milestones and reduces the royalty rate to AnorMed to a single-digit percentage on potential sales. The companies originally signed the deal in April 2004, and Poniard said encouraging Phase II results of picoplatin as a second-line therapy in patients with platinum-resistant or refractory small-cell lung cancer led to the increased investment. Those preliminary results show that about half of the 54 evaluable patients have shown evidence of stable disease. (See BioWorld Today, April 4, 2004.)

• Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency intends to award a $3.6 million grant to a consortium, which includes the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and Protiva. The project will use the company's Stable Nucleic Acid Lipid Particle (SNALP) technology to develop a therapy for hemorrhagic fever viral infection, including the Ebola and Marburg viruses. Protiva's portion of the grant is about $1.4 million.

• Schering AG, of Berlin, and Organon NV, of Oss, the Netherlands, said they will continue separate work in male fertility control, and will conclude their research collaboration at the end of the Phase II study. The decision follows the companies' conclusion that the administration route investigated in the trial - an annual implant combined with three-monthly injections - would be unlikely to result in a product acceptable for widespread everyday use. Schering and Organon began collaborating in November 2002, and started the Phase II study in January 2004 to test a combination of two hormones in combination known to have a suppressive effect on sperm production.

• Tissue Genesis Inc., of Honolulu, was awarded a $4.5 million contract from the Department of Defense to continue its research and development in cell recovery and cell delivery systems. It is the company's fourth award from the department, and money received from such contracts totals about $16.4 million. The contract focuses on using regenerative cells collected from a patient's own fat to improve wound, muscle and heart tissue repair, improve vascularization and other acute and chronic medical needs.

• Vical Inc., of San Diego, granted nonexclusive, academic licenses for its broad DNA delivery technology patent estate to six additional leading research institutions: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, University of Iowa, University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh and University of Washington. Earlier this year, the company announced the grant of academic licenses on the same terms to Stanford University, Harvard University, Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The academic licenses are intended to encourage widespread commercial use of the company's DNA delivery technologies in the development of new antibodies, vaccines, therapeutic proteins and diagnostics.

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