• 4SC AG, of Martinsried, Germany, and Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho Co. Ltd., of Nagoya, Japan, achieved a milestone, which triggered an undisclosed payment to 4SC, and entered the next phase of their drug discovery collaboration started in January 2005. To date, 4SC has used its virtual high-throughput screening technology, 4SCan, to identify active agents against specific targets provided by SKK, followed by biological screening experiments.

• Ablynx NV, of Ghent, Belgium, signed a collaboration agreement with Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, to discover and develop Nanobodies against a number of targets in various diseases. Ablynx will receive up-front fees, license fees and funding for research and development, and will be eligible for milestone payments and royalties. Novartis has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the Nanobody products that result. Ablynx has discovered and developed Nanobodies, a class of therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, for inflammation, thrombosis, oncology and Alzheimer's disease.

• Acambis plc, of Cambridge, UK, submitted the first portion of a biologics license application to the FDA for its small pox vaccine ACAM2000. The product, which is being developed for the U.S. government stockpile, has fast-track status. Acambis is submitting the BLA on a rolling basis and expects a decision before the end of 2006.

• Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, UK, received a $2 million milestone payment from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., after the Osaka, Japan-based company started a Phase II trial of Cetilistat in treating obesity. The Japanese trial will recruit 450 clinically obese patients with obesity-related diabetes.

• Amarin Corp. plc, of London, entered a purchase agreement with Tony Ryan for a private equity placement consisting of ordinary shares and warrants, resulting in gross proceeds of $2 million. Amarin will sell 800,000 shares at $2.50 each and issue warrants to purchase an additional 280,000 shares at an exercise price of $3.06.

• Antisense Therapeutics Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, received approval from the Ethics Committee of the University of Essen in Germany to restart the Phase IIa trial of its antisense compound, ATL1102, in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Patient enrollment and dosing are expected to begin in February or March to assess the activity and safety of the drug in 80 patients receiving the drug in twice-a-week subcutaneous injections. The company anticipates the trial to conclude by the end of the year.

• Astex Therapeutics Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, granted a nonexclusive worldwide license to Pfizer Inc., for its Cytochrome P450 crystal structure data. Astex will receive an up-front fee, but no other financial details were given.

• BioAlliance Pharma SA, of Paris, appointed Florence Dupré vice president of sales and marketing. Dupré joins BioAlliance from GlaxoSmithKline, where she was director of hospital commercial activities, France. She will be responsible in particular for preparing and piloting the launch of BioAlliance's first product, Loramyc, its 50-mg formulation of miconazole as a once-a-day, bioadhesive, buccal tablet for the treatment of oropharyngeal candidiasis.

• Biofusion plc, of Sheffield, UK, invested £420,000 (US$741,219) in Axordia Ltd., also of Sheffield, one of the UK's stem cell research companies and part of the Biofusion portfolio. The investment, which will be provided as a convertible loan stock, will be in two tranches - £280,000 invested now and £140,000 payable after July. Biofusion will receive 5 percent of ordinary shares in Axordia, which will take its total holding to about 36 percent.

• Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd., of Petach Tikva, Israel, submitted a draft protocol for a 250-patient Phase IIb study of CF101 in combination with methotrexate in treating rheumatoid arthritis. CF101 is an oral small molecule that showed activity in reducing RA disease symptoms in an earlier Phase II trial.

• Cellzome AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) said results of the first genome-wide screen for protein complexes were published in Nature, and describe the characterization of nearly 500 complexes in the model organism, S. cerevisiae, more than half of which have never been described before. The work is intended to enable the elucidation of the molecular basis of health and disease, and allow for the identification of the most appropriate targets for drug discovery.

• ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, signed a three-year alliance with its long-term partner, Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, to provide preclinical support in the fields of diabetes, insulin resistance and complications. Under the terms of the alliance, ChemGenex will receive a total retainer fee of about A$1 million (US$752,000), with potential additional payments depending on the amount and type of support provided. The agreement will extend through December 2008.

• Cobra Biomanufacturing plc, of Keele, UK, entered an agreement with Debiopharm SA, of Lausanne, Switzerland, for the manufacture of the biopharmaceutical protein huTNFa Kinoid. The agreement includes process development and supply of material for clinical trials. The new agreement replaces a prior manufacturing deals with Neovacs SA, which has licensed to program to Debiopharm.

• CombinatoRx Inc., of Boston, and Bio One Capital, of Singapore, established CombinatoRx Singapore Pte. Ltd. CombinatoRx Singapore and Bio One said that David Lane has joined the CombinatoRx Singapore board. CombinatoRx Singapore will apply CombinatoRx's high-throughput screening technology to infectious diseases, with an initial focus on hepatitis C and B.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, reported that Ark Therapeutics Group plc, of London, decided to renew its PER.C6 technology licensing agreement. The parties have negotiated research and also commercial terms for Ark's development and manufacture of gene-based medicine using Crucell's PER.C6 technology.

• DeCode Genetics Inc., of Reykjavik, Iceland, acquired privately held Icelandic cancer research firm Urdur, Verdandi Skuld, for $5.5 million to be paid in DeCode common stock based on the average closing price over 30 days The acquisition enables DeCode to broaden and enhance its cancer program by applying the company's gene discovery and drug development capabilities to a larger set of population-based resources. DeCode also said a scientific paper reported the discovery of a variant in a gene on chromosome 10 that represents a significant genetic risk factor for Type II diabetes. More than one-third of patients studied were found to carry one copy of the at-risk variant, which appeared to increase their risk for the disease by about 45 percent, compared to controls. About 7 percent of those tested carried two copies of the variant, putting them at a 141 percent greater risk over control. Findings are published online and will appear in the February issue of Nature Genetics.

• DeveloGen AG, of Goettingen, Germany, appointed Alexander Fleming to its scientific advisory board. Fleming served for more than a decade at the FDA as a reviewer and medical team leader. DeveloGen concentrates on metabolic disorders.

• EvoGenix Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said results of OVP (OPG Variant Protein) in bone loss showed that the company's optimization technology, EvoGene, produced a variant of a naturally occurring regulator protein, Osteoprotegerin (OPG). The variant retains all of OPG's ability to stop abnormal bone erosion and loss, but lacks the secondary activity of OPG to increase cancer incidence in treated patients. Results were presented at the annual CHI conference on Protein Engineering in San Diego.

• Evotec AG, of Hamburg, Germany, said it will expand its drug discovery collaboration with Ingelheim, Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH to double the size of their program, and extend the term from August 2007 to the end of 2008. The companies are working jointly to identify and develop preclinical candidates suitable for future clinical testing. The original contract, signed in September 2004, exclusively targeted therapeutics acting on G-protein coupled receptors, while the extension includes targets from different classes, such as ion channels and enzymes. Boehringer would have ownership and global responsibility for all clinical development and commercialization, and Evotec would be entitled to research payments and milestones.

• Galapagos NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, and Cancer Research Technology, of London, entered a collaboration in cancer research. Galapagos' service division BioFocus will perform medicinal chemistry services on a series of CRT anticancer drug programs. In return, CRT will fund the work of four BioFocus scientists in 2006. Also, BioFocus signed a three-year collaboration with Ingelheim, Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH in the field of autoimmune discovery research. Under the agreement, BioFocus will expand its SilenceSelect siRNA-based gene collection with an additional gene set, develop a dedicated cellular assay and use the assay to run a target discovery screen. Galapagos will receive up-front fees and research and development funding, as well as potential milestones. If all discovery criteria are met, Galapagos could receive more than €2 million (US$2.4 million).

• Gammacan International, of Givat Shmuel, Israel, a developer of immunotherapies for cancer and other diseases, reported that the company has consummated two private placements aggregating $1.2 million. Those investments follow the recently reported initial investment of $500,000 by Sal Oppenheimer Jr. & Cie. Ltd. out of a potential $2.5 million aggregate investment.

• Gentium SpA, of Villa Guardia, Italy, started a Phase II/III trial with Defibrotide, a single-stranded DNA that protects the vascular endothelial cells, to prevent veno-occlusive disease (VOD), a complication of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation (SCT), in pediatric patients. The study will include 270 patients undergoing SCT at 30 clinical sites in Europe and Israel.

• Icon Genetics AG, of Munich, Germany, was acquired by Bayer Innovation GmbH, of Leverkusen, Germany. Icon is engaged in plant engineering, working to address precision, speed, yield, expression control and safety of transgene management. Financial details were not disclosed.

• ImmunoBiology Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, raised £5.5 million (US$9.5 million) in a third round funding, led by Inventages Venture Capital Investments Inc. Another new investor, Biosciences VTC, was joined by existing investors Avlar BioVentures, Oxford Technology VCT, Generics Asset Management and Yorkshire Fund Managers. The company has developed a technology platform based on heat-shock protein complexes and is applying it to flu, tuberculosis and hepatitis.

• Intercell AG, of Vienna, Austria, reported results on the safety of the company's vaccine against Japanese encephalitis. The vaccine is undergoing Phase III trials, and the company said that its independent data and safety monitoring board had found no safety concerns in the first portion of persons vaccinated in the trial. The company now is proceeding with its plans to recruit 5,000 subjects for participation in the trial. Intercell expects to have results from the Phase III trial by the middle of 2006. It also achieved a milestone in its collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, of Lyon, France, in the preclinical development of a bacterial vaccine candidate, triggering a payment of €1 million (US$1.2 million).

• Lipoxen plc, of London, listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) Tuesday following the completion of its acquisition of Lipoxen Technologies Ltd., a drug and vaccine delivery company. Lipoxen also raised about £3.8 million (US$6.7 million) by placing 28 million shares at price of 13.5 pence per share. The funding will be used to drive product candidates through preclinical studies.

• Lonza Inc., of Basel, Switzerland, acquired the bioproducts manufacturing division of Brussels, Belgium-based UCB for €120 million (US$145.2 million.) UCB Bioproducts handles chemical peptide manufacturing, with 300 employees and a facility in Braine-l'Alleud. This deal is intended to allow UCB to focus more on therapeutic development, while Lonza gains assets that complement its existing work in peptide production.

• MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, signed a collaboration with Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases in Singapore, a public-private partnership between Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis AG and the Singapore Economic Development Board. The collaboration will focus initially on identifying compounds for the treatment of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral infection, and includes options for the development and commercialization of discoveries in other therapeutic areas. As part of the agreement, NITD could license potential drug candidates from MerLion, and developing them as part of a portfolio of treatments for tropical diseases endemic in developing countries.

• Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said the low-dose Phase IIb trial of its obesity drug, AOD9604, is proceeding on schedule, with the last subject expected to begin treatment in April or May. The study, known as OPTIONS, is designed to evaluate the drug's efficacy following daily oral delivery at lower doses than previously tested. Treatment is expected to be completed on all subjects by January 2007.

• Micromet AG, of Munich, Germany, granted access to single-chain antibody (SCA) technology under its exclusive marketing agreement with Bridgewater, N.J.-based Enzon Pharmaceuticals Inc. to four companies: Abbott Park, Ill.-based Abbott Laboratories; Lund, Sweden-based Alligator Bioscience AB; Aberdeen, UK-based Haptogen Ltd.; and an undisclosed biopharmaceutical company. All received research licenses, and the undisclosed company received a product license for the development and commercialization of an SCA product to treat cancer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Norwood Immunology Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, a subsidiary of Norwood Abbey Ltd., entered a call option to acquire all of the share capital of Netherlands-based Bestewil Holding Ltd., the 100 percent owner of Virosome Biologicals Ltd., which is developing and commercializing a platform-enabling technology for vaccines. The technology is based on the combination of an adjuvant with virosomes and achieves a significantly enhanced immune response to an antigen challenge. If the option is called, the transaction will be worth €25 million (US$30.3 million), subject to certain milestones.

Novexel, of Paris, appointed Gordon Waldron chief financial officer. Waldron joined Novexel from another French biotechnology company, Synt:em SA, of N mes, where he had been vice president, finance and chief financial officer since 1997. Novexel focuses on antibacterial and antifungal compounds for a variety of bacterial and fungal infections.

• Novosom AG, of Halle, Germany, began a collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH, of Ingelheim, Germany, to validate liver and pulmonary targets in vivo using siRNA. The collaboration will use Novosom's technology to deliver siRNA in vivo. Boehringer Ingelheim will fund all research in the collaboration.

• Omrix Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Brussels, Belgium, a portfolio company of Hercules Technology Growth Capital Inc., filed for an $80.5 million initial public offering. UBS Investment Bank, CIBC World Markets, Leerink Swann & Co., and Oppenheimer & Co. will serve as underwriters. Omrix develops biosurgical and passive immunotherapy products using its protein purification technology.

• Pharmaxis Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, signed a distribution agreement for its first product, Aridol, with Nigaard Pharma AS, of Oslo, Norway, throughout the Scandinavian countries. Aridol is an asthma management tool that helps doctors accurately determine the severity of a patient's disease. Pharmaxis filed for regulatory and marketing approval of Aridol with the Swedish Medical Products Agency in May 2005, and anticipates registration for Aridol in the first half of 2006.

• Protherics plc, of London, said its licensing agreement with London-based AstraZeneca plc for the global development and commercialization of its sepsis drug, CytoFab, became effective, triggering a £7.5 million (US$13.2 million) equity investment by AstraZeneca in return for nearly 11 million Protherics shares. The potential $341 million deal was signed early last month.

• ReNeuron Group plc, of Guildford, UK, was granted a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent Office for its methods of transplanting neural stem cells. The patent covers ways of treating different types of brain damage by transplanting conditionally immortalized stem cells that are capable of dividing indefinitely in vitro, but whose division can be stopped by various means. The patent includes cell lines produced using the conditionally immortalized technology.

• Retroscreen Virology, a medical research institute subsidiary of Queen Mary College at the University of London, demonstrated in vitro that a bioengineered preparation of elderberries, Sambucol, developed by Razei Bar Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem, reduced the number of cells infected with the H5N1 strain of avian flu virus by 99.9 percent, when compared with control.

• Rosetta Genomics Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, and Asuragen Inc., of Austin, Texas, will collaborate to develop three prostate cancer diagnostic products. One of Asuragen's three business units, Molecular Diagnostics (formerly Ambion Diagnostics Inc.), had entered a licensing agreement with Rosetta in September, based on its microRNA sequences. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Sareum Holdings plc, of Cambridge, UK, entered a collaboration with H. Lundbeck AS, of Copenhagen, Denmark, under which Sareum will provide protein structure services to show how Lundbeck's drug candidates interact with their target protein. Sareum will receive research fees and milestone payments.

• Speedel Holding Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, said its partner, Novartis AG, also of Basel, reported positive Phase III results of SPP100 (aliskiren, Rasilez) in hypertension, both as a monotherapy and in co-administration with amlodipine (calcium channel blocker) and ramipril (ACE inhibitor). Novartis also confirmed that it is on track for the first regulatory submission of SPP100 in the U.S. early this year and in the European Union during the fourth quarter. Speedel licensed the compound from Novartis, and successfully developed the product through Phase I and Phase II before Novartis exercised its license-back option in 2002.

• VASTox plc, of Oxford, UK, said it obtained positive results in the preclinical development of its lead product for treating Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. The company has demonstrated up-regulation of utrophin by a number of small-molecule candidates. Utrophin has been shown to replace the function of dystrophin, which is missing in muscular dystrophy patients. The utrophin gene was discovered by Kay Davies, a co-founder of VASTox.

• Vectura Group plc, of Chippenham, UK, received orphan drug designation from the European Medicines Agency for VR040, for the treatment of "off episodes" in patients with Parkinson's disease. VR040 is an inhaled formulation of apomorphine, which is expected to require a lower therapeutic dose, and thus reduce side effects compared to the existing subcutaneous method of delivery.

• Vernalis plc, of Reading, UK, launched a 34-strong U.S. neurology sales force to sell its Parkinson's disease drug Apokyn and co-promote the migraine treatment Frova, with Vernalis' partner Endo Pharmaceuticals.

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