• Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., is getting a $40 million milestone payment sooner than first planned. The company amended its agreement with an affiliate of Paul Royalty Fund II LP to accelerate the payment, which will now be received Friday. It previously was due upon the first sale of Rotarix in Europe, which is expected to occur next quarter. Other financial terms of the agreement remain unchanged, and remaining milestone payments to Avant range between $9 million and $11 million. Rotarix is licensed by Avant to GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London.

• Nastech Pharmaceutical Co. Inc., of Bothell, Wash., entered into a multi-compound feasibility study agreement with Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, pertaining to certain undisclosed Novo therapeutic compounds. Financial terms were not disclosed. Nastech is focused on developing products in osteoporosis, obesity, respiratory disease and inflammatory conditions.

• Pharmacopeia Drug Discovery Inc., of Princeton, N.J., extended its ongoing drug discovery and development collaboration with Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego. The alliance now will include an additional disease target against which Pharmacopeia is expected to produce candidates for Neurocrine. The companies established their collaboration in 2003 to produce compounds against multiple disease targets that Neurocrine would advance into development and on the market. Pharmacopeia is entitled to milestone payments, as well as royalties

• Shanghai Wanxing Bio-Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Shanghai, China, signed an agreement with the U.S.-based PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to support development of a pediatric malaria vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum. The agreement focuses on the candidate vaccine PfCP2.9, which was licensed to Wanxing Bio-Pharmaceuticals in 2001 and is designed to target the malaria parasite at the stage where it begins rapid replication in human red blood cells.

• Valera Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., said that Paladin Labs Inc., of Montreal, received Canadian approval for Vantas, a 12-month implant developed by Valera for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Valera previously received regulatory approval for Vantas in that indication in the U.S. in late 2004 and in Denmark last November. The product’s first full-year sales reached $26.8 million in the U.S.

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