• Acambis plc, of Cambridge, UK, completed bridging trials following scale up to commercial manufacturing of ChimeriVax JE, a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis (JE). That paves the way for a Phase III trial to begin before the end of 2005. In the bridging trial there was 96 percent seroconversion to JE-neutralizing antibodies after a single dose. ChimeriVax JE is built on an attenuated yellow fever 17D vaccine backbone, and Acambis has conducted co-administration tests to ensure there are no interactions between the vaccines and that antibodies to both are generated.

• Affibody AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, and Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., formed an agreement to develop advanced protein sample preparation solutions for human biomarker discovery. Affibody will design and develop engineered Affibody ligands for specific protein targets designated by Agilent, which will use them to expand its line of proteomic sample preparation products. At the end of the development phase, Affibody will supply Agilent with production quantities of the materials. Also, Agilent, which announced the divestiture of its Semiconductor Products Group and the intent to spin off the System-on-a-Chip business, clarified that the sale involves purely electronic products and does not include Agilent's microarray-based "biochip" business. The company said it is still supporting the lab-on-a-chip platform and recently introduced the first commercial mouse genome, a CGH kit as part of its Comparative Genome Hybridization array. Subject to closing adjustments, the Semiconductor Products segment will go to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., of New York, and Silver Lake Partners, also of New York, for about $2.7 billion.

• Antisoma plc, of London, received FDA orphan drug designation for AS1411 in the treatment of renal cancer. The aptamer drug, which has orphan status in pancreatic cancer also, showed activity in a Phase I trial in renal cancer that reported earlier this year, and Antisoma is due to reopen the trial to recruit further patients with that cancer. AS1411 binds to nucleolin on the surface of tumor cells and then passes through the cell wall, killing the cell.

• Argenta Discovery Ltd., of Harlow, UK, agreed to collaborate with the Cambridge, UK subsidiary of Cellzome Inc., to apply its medicinal chemistry, assay development and screening capabilities to Cellzome's drug discovery programs.

• Arpida Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, said the FDA granted fast-track status to intravenous iclaprim for the treatment of complicated skin and skin-structure infections, such as those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Fast-track designation allows for an expedited review process for drugs intended to treat serious or life-threatening diseases.

• BioVision AG, of Hannover, Germany, published an article on "Correlation-Associated Peptide Networks [CAN]" by Jens Lamerz, member of the BioVision bioinformatics team, in collaboration with the ETH Zurich and the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research in a recent issue of Proteomics. CAN supports the statistical analysis of peptide profiling data and allows associating peptides, which are closely related in terms of peptide biochemistry, the company said.

• Cancer Research Technology Ltd., of London, agreed to a worldwide license with TriPath Imaging Inc., of Burlington, N.C., for several cancer diagnostic markers of the minichromosome maintenance family of proteins for detecting cervical cancer. The proteins are markers of precancerous and cancerous cells, and can be used to detect abnormalities in cervical smears. TriPath agreed to an option to license breast, lung and colorectal cancer markers also.

• Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology in Ghent, Belgium, said its scientists discovered the function of a mediator involved in suppressing the development of tumors. Using a mouse model, the researchers showed that the absence of that mediator makes mice susceptible for the development of cancer. Data were published in the EMBO Journal.

• Geneva Bioinformatics SA, of Geneva, reported the latest release of Phenyx, its protein identification platform. The release incorporates the Phenyx Web Interface, a new web-based client used to interact with the Phenyx calculation engine.

• Invitrogen Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., will promote and distribute the life science analysis software, including those for the analysis of 1D and 2D electrophoresis gels, of Nonlinear Dynamics, of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. Nonlinear will provide software from its TotalLab and Progenesis lines to be added to the Invitrogen portfolio.

• Kamada Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, became the first biotechnology company to raise money in an initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), raising NIS30 million (US$7 million) at the institutional phase of its IPO, at a company value of NIS83 million, before the money. Poalim IBI Underwriting and Investments Ltd. is handling the issue, which said that other life science companies should be following shortly. Kamada, founded in 1990, develops, produces and markets plasma therapeutics.

• Kreatech Biotechnology BV, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, launched the latest of its labeling kits for DNA microarray applications, the RNA ampULSe Amplification and Labeling Kit. The kit combines technology obtained from a supply agreement with Austin, Texas-based Ambion Inc. for its MessageAmp II aRNA amplification system with Kreatech's Universal Linkage system.

• MediBIC Alliance, of Foster City, Calif., a subsidiary of MediBIC, and Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, launched a venture capital investment fund targeting biotechnology ventures, mainly in the U.S. and Europe. The fund will invest in private, early stage firms, with a focus on a specific technology related to drug development.

• MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, initiated a Phase II trial of EndoTAG-1 for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. EndoTAG-1 is a combination of paclitaxel and a carrier system that targets paclitaxel to newly formed blood vessels. EndoTAG starves cancerous tumors by destroying blood vessels, thereby cutting off nutrient supply.

• Meditech Research Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, was offered a commercial-ready grant from the Australian government. The grant will contribute $2.98 million over three years toward the development and commercialization of HyCAMP, Meditech's lead cancer product, which is in Phase II testing.

• Mesoblast Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, entered an agreement with what it called "one of the world's largest medical device companies." The unnamed medical device company, which has a "major international presence in the orthopedic field," will provide FDA-approved carrier materials for use in combination with Mesoblast's adult stem cells in preclinical trials. No further details were disclosed. Also, Mesoblast began preclinical trials at Colorado State University in Fort Collins in support of its investigational new drug submissions to the FDA. Mesoblast is trialing its universal adult stem cells for treatment of long bone fractures and for spinal fusion.

• MIP Technologies AB, of Lund, Sweden, closed a financing round of $3.9 million. Catella Healthcare Investments AB took the major part of the round, with Malmohus Invest and company management also participating. MIP is a developer of molecularly imprinted polymers.

• Neuren Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of North Sydney, Australia, received positive results for its neuroprotective compound, NNZ-2566, showing it reduced functional deficits from severe brain trauma. Those findings were presented by U.S. Army scientists at the Advanced Technology Applications for Combat Casualty Care conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is collaborating with Neuren to optimize the treatment dose and duration and to evaluate its effects on a new biological marker of brain injury in preparation for clinical trials. Neuren expects to start Phase I trials in early 2006.

• Nobex Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Biocon Ltd., of Bangalore, India, signed a new agreement for global co-development of an oral brain-type natriuretic peptide product for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The collaboration combines the delivery technology of Nobex with Biocon's peptide production capabilities to create a drug to treat heart failure and cardiovascular disorders. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Pharmaxis Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, was expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol "PXSLY" by this week. No new shares will be issued in conjunction with the listing, which is subject to approval by the SEC, and one American depository receipt will continue to equal 15 Pharmaxis ordinary shares. Pharmaxis develops pharmaceuticals to treat human respiratory and autoimmune diseases, including Aridol for asthma, Bronchitol for cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and PXS64 for multiple sclerosis.

• Prima Biomed Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, acquired 100 percent of the issued shares of three subsidiaries from the Austin Research Institute - Cancer Vac Pty. Ltd., Panvax Ltd. and Oncomab Pty. Ltd. - and 92.5 percent of the issued shares of Arthron Ltd. Prima said the agreements give greater flexibility and potential for commercial benefits. Prima also updated its agreement with ARI that provides Prima first rights on ARI technologies, excluding xenotransplantation, in the fields of immunology and cancer immunotherapy.

• pSivida Ltd., of Perth, Australia, raised $4.2 million through a private placement of 650,000 American depository receipts at $6.50 each. Each depository receipt represents 10 ordinary shares, and the offering was structured as a private investment in public equity. pSivida focuses on the development of BioSilicon, a modified form of silicon, and potential applications of BioSilicon are being developed through pSivida's subsidiary AION Diagnostics Ltd.

• Reaction Biology Corp., of Malvern, Pa., and Key Organics Ltd., of Cornwall, UK, created a joint venture to use high-throughput drug discovery to identify a series of compounds to sell or partner with firms interested in selected targets. The companies will jointly select drug targets, with Key Organics providing the compounds for screening and RBC contributing its DiscoveryDot screening technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Regenera Ltd., of Perth, Australia, received its first licensing payment of $1.3 million from Alcon Manufacturing Ltd. on a steroid product used during ocular surgery. Regenera develops ophthalmology drugs, specifically targeting diseases of the back of the eye and those related to diabetes.

• SIRS-Lab GmbH, of Jena, Germany, entered a collaboration with Biosite Inc., of San Diego, for the evaluation and potential commercialization of sepsis markers. SIRS-Lab will provide access to selected biomarkers for sepsis. Biosite then will make antibodies to those selected targets using the company's antibody development process, which combines immunization of mice and phage display to generate diverse libraries of omniclonal antibodies with high affinity and low cross-reactivity.

• Symphogen A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, entered a patent license agreement with Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc, of Cambridge, UK. Symphogen will receive a license to use CAT's antibody phage display patents for research purposes and to develop and commercialize a number of therapeutic and diagnostic antibody products. Upon signing, Symphogen made an up-front payment for the license and exercised its first option to develop and commercialize its lead product Sym001, which is being developed for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and hemolytic disease of newborns. As a result, the company paid a product license fee, and may make future milestone and royalty payments to CAT.

• Vernalis plc, of Reading, UK, started Phase II trials of V1003, an intranasal formulation of the opiate drug buprenorphine, in treating moderate to severe pain. V1003 was acquired by Vernalis when it took over Ionix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., earlier this year. The drug is partnered with Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare, the consumer products company that markets buprenorphine, and the start of Phase II triggers a milestone payment to Vernalis. Reckitt Benckiser will pay all future development costs and further milestones.

• Zealand Pharmaceuticals A/S, of Glostrup, Denmark, gained €13 million (US$15.8 million) in new financing, completing the second stage of a Series C investment round worth €26 million in total, which it negotiated in February. The second tranche of cash was tied to the attainment of several milestones, including continued clinical progress of its two out-licensed development programs and its in-house projects. Zealand aims to commence a U.S. dose-finding Phase II trial of ZP120 in October. The compound, a peptide with aquaretic activity, is in development for the relief of fluid overload in the lungs of patients with acute heart failure. The company aims to move ZP1846, in development for chemotherapy-induced diarrhea, into the clinic early next year. Sanofi-Aventis Group, of Paris, is developing Zealand's compound ZP10, now called AQVE0010, for Type II diabetes. Wyeth, of Madison, N.J., has licensed the company's candidate arrhythmia treatment ZP123, now called GAP486.

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