• Akesis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered a consulting agreement with Profil Institute for Clinical Research, of Chula Vista, Calif., to develop a clinical research protocol and conduct other activities for new trials in Type II diabetes. Akesis is developing a set of product formulations designed to lower and control blood glucose levels in Type II diabetes patients, and has conducted an initial trial, during which one of those formulations demonstrated an average two-point decline in glycated hemoglobin levels, compared to baseline, after three months of treatment.

• ImmunoGen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., agreed to collaborate with Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco to create a commercial manufacturing process for Genentech's trastuzumab-DM1 TAP compound. The companies also agreed to amend their 2000 agreement granting Genentech exclusive rights to use ImmunoGen's TAP technology with therapeutic antibodies to HER2 to increase the total potential milestone payments by $6.5 million to $44 million total, and to include royalties to ImmunoGen on any HER2-targeting TAP compound that might be developed by Genentech. (See BioWorld Today, May 9, 2000.)

• Phoenix Biotechnology Inc., of San Antonio, and scientists from the Christus Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center agreed to collaborate on a research project to study the effect of a drug developed by Phoenix against melanoma. Phoenix is creating a product pipeline based on botanical extracts in development with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and plans to submit an investigational new drug application this summer.

• Resverlogix Corp., of Calgary, Alberta, said it will expand its research and development program for its lead technology, NexVex into stroke to fully develop the commercial opportunity of its pipeline of ApoA-1 enhancement therapies. The company added that trials have shown that improving the levels of ApoA-1 to Apo B lead to a reduction of stroke in patients at risk for cardiovascular disease.

• Sirna Therapeutics Inc., of San Francisco, and partner, GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, initiated programs in asthma and respiratory syncytial virus as part of their multiyear collaboration signed last month. The companies also plan to pursue RNAi-based therapeutics against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allergic rhinitis. Sirna will provide GSK with optimized and formulated siRNAs against targets for those diseases, and GSK will assume all responsibility for the further preclinical and clinical development of compounds that emerge from the programs. (See BioWorld Today, April 4, 2006.)

• Uluru Inc., of Dallas, signed a joint development agreement with BioProgress plc, of Cambridge, UK, to develop an anti-emetic product for the relief of nausea, using a combination of BioProgress' film technology and Uluru's Oradisc drug delivery technology. The partnership could then go on to develop further therapeutic products. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• ViroPharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., saw its shares fall nearly 10 percent on lower-than-expected earnings Thursday, citing a reduction by wholesalers of its antibiotic Vancocin. The company reported a net profit of $8.2 million, of 12 cents per share, for the first quarter, lower than the 21 cents per share predicted by analysts. ViroPharma's revenue came in at $27.2 million, also lower than the $40 million forecast, as wholesalers reduced their stocks of Vancocin. However, the company said that underlying prescription demand for Vancocin remains strong, and reiterated its net sales projection for 2006 of between $160 million and $170 million. Shares of ViroPharma (NASDAQ:VPHM) closed at $9.92, down $1.05.