• Androclus Therapeutics, of San Diego, said the Lancet published immunoscreening results of heat-shock protein 60 derived peptides in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Researchers from University of Utrecht, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, and Androclus demonstrated that peptides derived from hsp60 could represent treatment options. The peptides could potentially ameliorate the disease by stimulating regulatory function of the immune system.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, and its contract manufacturer DSM Biologics, of Groningen, the Netherlands, signed a PER.C6 research license agreement with Symphogen A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark. The agreement allows Symphogen to evaluate and use the PER.C6 cell line for production of its recombinant polyclonal antibodies, known as symphobodies. Symphogen will pay a signing fee and annual maintenance fees.

• Epeius Biotechnologies Corp., of Los Angeles, opened a Phase I trial at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, Minn., to test the safety of Rexin-G, a tumor-targeted gene therapy vector designed to block the action of the human cyclin G1 gene. The product previously gained orphan drug status from the FDA for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

• Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., confirmed that its board unanimously recommended that stockholders vote in favor of the proposed acquisition by Shire Pharmaceutical Group plc, of Basingstoke, UK. The meeting of stockholders is scheduled for July 27. TKT and Shire entered an agreement in April in which Shire will pay $37 in cash for each share of TKT common stock, or about $1.6 billion total. (See BioWorld Today, April 22, 2005.)

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