• Crucell N.V., of Leiden, the Netherlands, began an evaluation program with Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland. The program will apply Crucell's STAR technology for the selection of biopharmaceuticals production cell lines and to adapt such procedures to specific parental cell lines. The program will be carried out with various monoclonal antibodies. Further details were not disclosed.

• Genomatix Software GmbH, of Munich, Germany, won a BioChance research contract from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to pursue research in RNAi-mediated regulatory networks using its expertise in the biology of gene regulation. The project is scheduled to run for two years and is worth more than $1.6 million.

• InViragen LLC, of Fort Collins, Colo., entered an exclusive patent license agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for technology applicable to vaccines against multiple viral diseases, including dengue fever and West Nile disease. Using the technology, InViragen is developing a four-way vaccine to protect against all four of the different viruses that cause dengue fever. Already, such a product was shown to be safe and lead to long-lasting immune responses in Phase I trials. The same vaccine technology produced a West Nile vaccine that was demonstrated safe and effective in mice.

• NuCana Ltd., of London, began a research and development agreement with Cardiff ProTides Ltd., a drug discovery company spun out from the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University in Wales, UK, which applies its ProTide technology to improve the profile and activity of existing anticancer agents. Cardiff ProTides has granted NuCana exclusive rights to develop and commercialize a series of ProTide derivatives of licensed and marketed anticancer compounds, in exchange for a buy-in fee, developmental milestone payments and royalty payments. NuCana will conduct all preclinical and clinical development and take responsibility for securing regulatory approval worldwide.

• Protalix Ltd., of Carmiel, Israel, completed its previously announced sale of a 14 percent interest in the company for $15 million to a group of investors led by Phillip Frost and Glenn Halpryn. Protalix also issued to investors short-term warrants to acquire an additional 5 percent of Protalix for an aggregate exercise price of about $5.3 million. The financing was part of the company's decision last month to merge with shell company Orthodontix Inc., of Miami. Protalix shareholders voted in favor of the merger, which is expected to close in about 60 days. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 23, 2006).

No Comments