• 4SC AG, of Planegg-Martinsried, Germany, and the Institute of Molecular Virology of the University of Münster, Germany, said they will collaborate in the development of an agent for treating influenza virus infections. The agreement will extend research activities, and will include other types of viruses to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of suitable active agents in subsequent preclinical and clinical studies.

• CyGenics Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said it plans to acquire a significant stake in the Netherlands-based PharmaCell BV. Through this investment, CyGenics will be able to build on PharmaCell's resources for product and process design and use its manufacturing facility. PharmaCell and CyGenics are two partners in the Pacrima R&D collaboration to develop a platform for growing antigen-specific T cells and to test whether these cells are suitable for therapeutic use in the treatment of cancer.

• GNI Ltd., of Tokyo, agreed to form a strategic alliance and took a minority stake in Beijing Continent Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Beijing. The latter, a sales and manufacturing company, provides the former further inroads into the Chinese pharmaceutical market. NewCap Partners Inc., a U.S. investment banking firm, and China Chengxin Financial Consultancy Co. Ltd., a Chinese investment banking firm, served as GNI's advisers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• InforSense Ltd., of London, joined forces with GeneGo Inc., of St. Joseph, Mich., to integrate their technologies in order to allow researchers to better probe data and share work processes across different research domains. GeneGo also has joined the InforSense Open Workflow Partner Network. The agreement integrates GeneGo's reference system for curated pathway analysis and InforSense's interactive, workflow-based data-mining technology.

• OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Melville, N.Y., said its partner, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, submitted a new drug application in Japan covering the use of Tarceva (erlotinib) for the treatment of advanced or recurrent non-small-cell lung cancer. The filing is based on results of a Phase II study that confirmed the safety and efficacy of the drug, plus data from the NSCLC study BR.21, which compared Tarceva to placebo for patients with advanced NSCLC after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy program.

• Selexis SA, of Geneva, said it entered into a nonexclusive relationship agreement with Henogen SA, of Charleroi, Belgium. Under the agreement, Henogen will have access to the Selexis technology platform and will have the right to use the Selexis engineered cell lines at its production facility to produce proteins and antibodies for product research, development and manufacturing.

• Signalomics GmbH, of Steinfurt, Germany, entered an agreement with Invitrogen Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., to develop nanocrystal reagents with the ability to enhance the identification of tumors in in vivo patient tissue by detecting the presence of a single cancerous cell. The collaboration's initial goal is to develop an imaging agent that can be used to identify colon carcinomas requiring surgical intervention. Through the agreement, Signalomics is continuing the joint development and identification of nanobiotech diagnostic products that it began two years ago in cooperation with the BioPixels business unit of BioCrystal Ltd., of Westerville, Ohio. Invitrogen acquired that business last fall.

Syngenta AG, of Basel, Switzerland, launched a $100 million venture fund called LSP BioVentures. It will be based in Boston and managed by the biotech venture capital firm Life Sciences Partners. Funds will be invested over a three- to five-year period in growth companies and technology start-up opportunities focused on crop biotechnology, crop protection and new growth areas such as biomaterials and biofuels.

VASTox plc, of Oxford, UK, started its fifth drug discovery program, focusing on the Wnt signaling pathway in cancer. The company will use its chemical genomics platform and high-throughput screening of drosophila larvae to screen its proprietary libraries. The Wnt pathway is active in the developing embryo, when cells are required to grow and differentiate constantly. The pathway normally is inactive in adults and is switched on again only in cancers. By using whole organisms in its screening programs, VASTox expects to obtain early safety and efficacy data on compounds that affect Wnt.

Vivalis, of Nantes, France, and SAFC Biosciences, of Lenexa, Kan., and launched their EX-CELL EBx platform to successfully complete the first stage of their ongoing collaboration. The product includes viral growth and production media designed to support EBx cells, a chicken embryonic-derived stem cell line for the growth and production of viral vaccines for therapeutic use. SAFC is part of the Sigma-Aldrich Group, of St. Louis.