• Applied Imaging Corp., of San Jose, Calif., retained investment bank Aquilo Partners, of San Francisco, to assist in exploring strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value. The company supplies automated imaging and image analysis systems for detecting and characterizing chromosomes and molecular markers.

• AVI BioPharma Inc., Portland, Ore., gained a nonexclusive license to patent and patent applications from Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron Corp. relating to research, development, and commercialization of antisense therapeutics against hepatitis C virus. Financial terms were not disclosed. AVI is developing AVI-34065, its lead Neugene antisense compound for HCV.

• GenVec Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., said long-term follow-up data from its Phase II study show that 88 percent of patients with locally advanced, respectable esophageal cancer who were treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, plus intratumoral injections of the company's oncology drug, TNFerade, remained alive after one year, compared to the average 52 percent survival rate reported in six comparable recent studies. The data were reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Gastroenterological Cancer Symposium in San Francisco.

• Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said the Committee for Human Medicinal Products of the European Medicines Agency unanimously recommended full approval of Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa) to treat Pompe disease. Marketing authorization by the European Commission is expected within two to three months.

• Geron Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., presented a new production protocol to differentiate islet cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to treat diabetes. The protocol was presented at the Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine meeting in San Francisco.

• GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said the European Commission granted orphan drug designation for its monoclonal antibody 1D09C3 in chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which would provide 10 years of market exclusivity upon product approval. 1D09C3 is in a Phase I trial in patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphomas, such as Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, who have failed prior standard therapy.

• Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said shareholders approved the spinning out of the company's targeted immunotherapy assets into new company Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. Closing of the transaction is subject to the receipt of certain court approvals and approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

• New River Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Radford, Va., said the FDA accepted for review the company's new drug application for NRP104 for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. NRP104 is being developed in collaboration with Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Basingstoke, UK.

• Pharmos Corp., of Iselin, N.J., completed a Phase I trial for cannabinor, a CB2-selective synthetic cannabinoid drug candidate, and data indicated that the drug is safe and well tolerated with no severe adverse events reported. The company plans to initiate a Phase IIa study next quarter in patients experiencing postoperative pain following third molar extraction.

• PTC Therapeutics Inc., of South Plainfield, N.J., initiated a Phase II study of PTC124 in patients with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy due to the presence of a nonsense mutation in the dystrophin gene. The primary endpoint is the assessment of muscle dystrophin expression in response to treatment.

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