• Adherex Technologies Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., started enrolling patients at two additional sites, Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto and Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, for its Phase II trial of ADH-1 (Exherin). The study was launched in May at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre and is designed to evaluate the antitumor activity and tolerability of repeated doses of ADH-1 on an every three-week schedule in patients whose tumors express the molecular target N-cadherin.

• Alethia BioTherapeutics Inc., of Montreal, appointed Yves Cornellier president and CEO and member of its board. Cornellier previously founded Montreal-based Seyvika Pharmaceuticals, and served as senior vice president of business development for LAB International Inc., which acquired Seyvika. Alethia focuses on discovering and developing therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and cancer-related complications.

• Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals of Cleveland said its researchers identified a new DNA gene marker, vimentin, for detecting colon cancer. Using the marker, researchers were able to detect colon cancer in 46 percent of patients studied, compared with 15 percent for the standard fecal occult blood test. The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. It was conducted by a team that included researchers at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and from Exact Sciences Corp., of Marlborough, Mass.

• Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Thomas Jefferson University said their genetic researchers developed a customized gene chip to scan tumor samples for specific DNA changes that offer clues to prognosis in cases of neuroblastoma. The microarray focuses on suspect regions of chromosomes for signs of deleted genetic material known to play a role in the cancer. The proof-of-principle study appears in the August 2005 issue of Genome Research.

• Coastal Holdings Inc., of Houston, entered negotiations to acquire an interest in two biotechnology firms based in Tel Aviv, Israel. The investment will be used to fund the current product development process of those firms and enable them to expand their operations into the U.S., particularly into the San Diego and Los Angeles areas, for research and testing of their products.

• Cobra Biomanufacturing plc, of Keele, UK, and Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Malvern, Pa., formed a $3.3 million agreement to produce and supply the protein biopharmaceutical AA4500 through 2006. Cobra will provide scale up and cGMP manufacturing services and supply of drug for Phase II/III trials. Auxilium is developing the orphan drug AA4500 as a treatment for Peyronie's and Dupuytren's disease.

• Cytochroma Inc., of Markham, Ontario, said Phase Ib data of CTA018, a vitamin D analogue for the treatment of psoriasis, indicated the drug is safe and unlikely to produce adverse reactions. The study involved 28 subjects who displayed no severe or serious adverse events. The company plans to initiate a Phase II trial with CTA018 in the fourth quarter.

• CytoGenix Inc., of Houston, and Aldevron LLC, of Fargo, N.D., entered a collaboration to conduct experiments with a DNA vaccine produced using CytoGenix's DNA production process. CytoGenix scientists will prepare the synthetic DNA vaccine designed to stimulate an immune response to a hepatitis B surface antigen, while Aldevron will evaluate the vaccine using its Genetic Immunization and Antibody technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Isotechnika Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, said the Canadian Phase III psoriasis trial for its lead drug ISA247 continues to demonstrate a promising safety and efficacy profile. The trial began last December and includes 453 patients with stable moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Based on blinded data from 369 patients treated with ISA247 or placebo for at least 12 weeks, the mean decrease in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index scores was 38 percent. The blinded data also indicated a good safety profile.

• King Pharmaceuticals, of Bristol, Tenn., and Palatin Technologies Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., initiated patient enrollment in two double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase IIb trials of PT-141 in patients with erectile dysfunction. The first study will evaluate 560 non-diabetic patients with mild to severe ED and should conclude in mid-2006, while the second trial will evaluate 265 diabetic patients with ED and conclude in the second half of 2006.

• Large Scale Biology Corp., of Vacaville, Calif., said its common stock will transfer from the Nasdaq National Market to the Nasdaq SmallCap market. The delisting from the national market is due to the company not meeting certain requirements. Its plan for compliance was not mature enough to warrant an exception to the delisting, the exchange told Large Scale in a letter this week.

• OraSure Technologies Inc., of Bethlehem, Pa., received a worldwide, nonexclusive license from Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron Corp. and Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics Inc., a unit of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, to patents relating to the hepatitis C virus. The license will allow OraSure to manufacture, distribute and sell a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic product to detect HCV antibodies in both oral fluid and blood. Under the terms, OraSure agreed to pay up-front fees and ongoing royalties on product sales.

• PRB Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., and Hong Kong, and Lee's Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd., of Hong Kong, said a recent study by Taiwan researchers from the National Health Research Institutes demonstrates TF2b and TF3, two components of v38 AMF-1, inhibit the 3C-like protease encoded by SARS-CoV. V38 AMF-1 is best known for its ability to inhibit bird flu virus infections. The study was published in the June edition of Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.

• Santhera Pharmaceuticals AG, of Liestal, Switzerland, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, agreed to collaborate to develop and commercialize Idebenone (SNT-MC17), a small-molecule drug for the treatment of Friedreich's ataxia. The terms call for Santhera to conduct all clinical development, while Takeda obtains an exclusive license to market Idebenone in the European Union and Switzerland. Santhera stands to receive an up-front payment of €5 million (US$6.2 million), along with potential development milestones and royalties. The product has orphan drug status in the U.S. and Europe and is set to enter Phase III trials, starting in Europe.

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