• Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, decided to amend its takeover offer for Berlin-based Schering AG to extend the acceptance period two weeks to June 14. Bayer announced in March a takeover offer of €16.3 billion (US$19.6 billion) to the stockholders of Schering, offering €86 in cash per Schering share. The offer continues to be subject to the condition that the minimum acceptance threshold of 75 percent is reached by the end of the acceptance period.

• BioE Inc., of St. Paul, Minn., and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK formed a research partnership to advance the near-term therapeutic application of cells derived from human umbilical cord blood, including stem cells. The two will collaborate using BioE's PrepaCyte cell isolation platform to establish optimal protocols for isolating rare stem cells. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Biovitrum AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, formed through a management buyout iNovacia, a Stockholm-based independent research company with 35 employees. Through the transaction, iNovacia becomes the Nordic region's largest contract research organization in early drug discovery, and Biovitrum gains regional technical expertise for early discovery efforts. iNovacia also entered an alliance with Asinex Ltd., of Moscow, a company that provides chemistry discovery services. Asinex will hold about 20 percent of iNovacia shares. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd., of Charlotte, N.C., entered an exclusive license agreement with Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, for the global development and commercialization rights to L-Threo DOPS (L-DOPS, or Droxidopa), excluding Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. Droxidopa, a synthetic amino acid for the treatment of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension, generates annual revenue of about $50 million in Japan. A clinical program for U.S. and European approvals is expected to begin in 2007.

• Lentigen Corp., of Baltimore, entered a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Edgewood, Md., for a variety of potential research programs focusing on vaccine development, therapeutics and biodefense applications lentiviral vectors. The agreement will provide Lentigen with access to ECBC's cGMP manufacturing facilities and services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Micromet Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., reported results of a study published in Gynecological Oncology, showing overexpression of the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) as an independent prognostic marker in epithelial ovarian cancer. The retrospective study analyzed primary tumor samples from EOC patients at various stages and grades of the disease for the level and frequency of EpCAM expression. Samples of 199 patients were analyzed, 91 of which were at advanced stages of the disease. The frequency of high-level EpCAM expression for all samples was close to 70 percent, and 83.5 percent for samples from patients with grade 3 tumors.

• Tissue Therapies Ltd., of Brisbane, Australia, discovered that its VitroGro technology can be used to replace animal or human serum in the culture of human embryonic stem cells. Research conducted at Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovations showed that human embryonic stem cells can be grown using the approach.

• ViaCell Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said that, following a re-examination, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued two new office actions rejecting all of the claims of Wayne, Pa.-based PharmaStem Therapeutics Inc.'s U.S. Patent No. 5,192,553 and U.S. Patent No. 6,569,427 as being unpatentable over prior art. Recently, the PTO issued initial office actions rejecting all the claims of PharmaStem Patent Nos. 5,004,681 and 6,461,645. All of these patents relate to certain aspects of the collection, cryopreservation, storage and use of hematopoietic stem cells from umbilical cord blood and have been asserted against ViaCell and several other defendants by PharmaStem in pending patent infringement cases.

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