• Acologix Inc., of Hayward, Calif., granted an exclusive license to AC-200 in Japan to Toray Industries Inc., of Tokyo. Also called Phosphatonin, the product is a recombinant protein in preclinical development for hyperphosphatemia, a condition in which serum phosphate levels are elevated. Acologix will maintain primary development responsibility for AC-200, and Toray may participate in certain development activities. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Aeolus Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, selected AEOL 11207 as its first development candidate from its pipeline. The firm has not yet ascertained what the most robust therapeutic use of AEOL 11207 might be, though data suggest the compound could be useful as a once-every-other-day oral therapeutic treatment option for central nervous system disorders, most likely Parkinson's disease.

• Althea Technologies Inc., of San Diego, has been awarded a contract from PowderMed Ltd., of Oxford, UK, to produce a plasmid DNA-based vaccine to combat influenza. PowderMed is a private immunotherapeutic company focused on the development and manufacture of therapeutic and prophylactic DNA-based vaccines for viral diseases and cancer. Financial details were not disclosed.

• Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said the FDA will extend its review period of the Neurodex new drug application for involuntary emotional expression disorder by 90 days, moving the PDUFA data to Oct. 30. The additional time is needed to sufficiently review data from the recently completed QT study, which was conducted by Avanir to provide additional safety data.

• Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, retained Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, of Philadelphia, to help the company explore pipeline development options. Janney will work with Biomira to identify in-licensing and acquisition opportunities that fit Biomira's core competencies. Specifically sought are mid-stage products with good safety and efficacy data, and option rights to license earlier-stage product candidates, with an immediate focus on cancer.

• BioProgress plc, of Cambridge, UK, entered an agreement to acquire Segix Farma SRL, of Rome, for consideration of up to nearly €2 million (US$2.5 million). Privately held Segix markets established products in the anti-infective, gastrointestinal and oncology therapeutic areas. The cash and equity acquisition will be made through a newly formed subsidiary of Dexo BioPharm Ltd., the pharmaceutical division of BioProgress. It is expected to close July 4.

• Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd., of Petach Tikva, Israel, reported preclinical studies demonstrated that its lead drug, CF101, is minimally metabolized in the liver and excreted intact in the urine, preventing adverse events. The company said the finding supported its plans to proceed to a Phase IIb trial in rheumatoid arthritis. CF101 is designed to work by targeting the adenosine A3 receptor.

• Cytokinetics Inc., of South San Francisco, agreed to a one-year extension of its alliance with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, on the mitotic kinesin, centromere-associated protein E (CENP-E). To date, the five-year relationship has generated two drug candidates that inhibit kinesin spindle protein, ispinesib and SB-743921, and a potential drug candidate, GSK-923295, which targets CENP-E. Ispinesib and SB-743921 are in clinical trials, and GSK-923295 remains in preclinical development. In the research extension, both companies will perform activities focused to translational research directed toward CENP-E, a mitotic kinesin. Financial terms were not disclosed. (See BioWorld Today, June 26, 2001.)

• Discovery Laboratories Inc., of Warrington, Pa., engaged Jefferies & Co. Inc., of New York, to assist in identifying and evaluating strategic alternatives, such as alliances, commercial and development partnerships, financings and business combinations, intended to enhance the future growth potential of the company's surfactant replacement therapy pipeline. In April, Discovery's lead product, Surfaxin, received its second approvable letter for the prevention of respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. The FDA cited manufacturing concerns, and the company has not yet been able to resolve those issues. Shares of Discovery (NASDAQ:DSCO) gained 33 cents, or 24.6 percent, Tuesday to close at $1.67. (See BioWorld Today, April 6, 2006, and April 26, 2006.)

• EMD Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Durham, N.C., a U.S. affiliate of Merck KgaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, completed submission of a new drug application for Cyanokit (hydroxocobalamin), in development for the treatment of known or suspected cyanide poisoning and is marketed in France by Merck KGaA affiliate Merck Sante. The FDA previously granted Cyanokit fast-track status.

• Praecis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Waltham, Mass., said it terminated efforts to license or sell its Plenaxis assets by June 30, 2006, and will, as previously planned, work with the FDA to discontinue the limited distribution of Plenaxis, a prostate cancer drug, in the U.S. Praecis estimates it will record a total charge of $7.5 million in the second quarter relating to the remaining value of Plenaxis inventory and commitments. The company continues to believe that its existing cash and investments will be sufficient capital to sustain operations through the end of 2007. As of March 31, Praecis has cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaling $52.7 million. Its shares (NASDAQ:PRCS) fell 33.4 percent Tuesday, closing at $3.43, down $1.72. (See BioWorld Today, May 23, 2005, and Oct. 12, 2005.)

• Reaction Biology Corp., of Malvern, Pa., was awarded a $940,000 SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute to create a new kinase profiling and high-throughput screening method using radioisotopes and microarrays. The funding will be used to migrate the current well-plate radioisotope methods onto the company's DiscoveryDot nanoliter screening platform.

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