• Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif., is consolidating its research and preclinical activities into the company's facility in Burnaby, British Columbia, and reducing its work force by about 15 percent to focus resources on its development pipeline. The company's lead product, panitumumab, is a fully human monoclonal antibody to inhibit EGFr generated with Abgenix's XenoMouse technology, and is being evaluated as a monotherapy and in combination with other agents for the treatment of various types of cancer. Panitumumab is co-developed with Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen Inc. Abgenix expects to incur restructuring charges of $13 million to $16 million, most of which will be recorded this quarter.

• Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., introduced a microarray to provide genomic-wide coverage of the zebrafish, and the first commercial whole-mouse genome microarray based on the National Institute of Aging (NIA) Mouse Gene Index. The microarrays were developed in collaboration with Icoria Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., a member of the Toxicogenomics Consortium, and the NIA.

• Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle pledged $450 million to the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, an effort it launched with the National Institutes of Health in 2003 to achieve breakthroughs against diseases in the poorest countries. The initiative offered 43 grants, totaling $436.6 million for research projects in 33 countries, with the goal of creating "deliverable technologies," or health tools that are effective and easy to use. The initiative also received funding commitments of $27.1 million from the Wellcome Trust, and $4.5 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

• BioDiscovery Inc., of El Segundo, Calif., entered a collaboration with Tecan Schweiz AG, of Mannedorf, Switzerland, to offer a data management solution to interpret and verify microarray results. The collaboration is based on direct integration of data collected by Tecan's HS series of automated hybridization stations with BioDiscovery's GeneDirector microarray data management software.

• Biogen Idec Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said new data from the global QUASIMS (Quality Assessment in MS Therapy) study boosting its Avonex therapy were presented at the European Neurological Society meeting in Vienna, Austria. Among the findings, one investigator said the results suggested that higher doses and frequencies of interferon beta might not necessarily be better taking into account the comparable disease progression as assessed by the Expanded Disability Status Scale and the fact that patients treated with Avonex could have significant advantages in the long term due to its low incidence of neutralizing antibodies and its once-weekly dosing.

• Biopure Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., said its trading symbol for its Class A common stock will be reverted from "BPURD" to "BPUR." Biopure develops and makes intravenously administered oxygen therapeutics that deliver oxygen to the body's tissues.

• Callisto Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New York, received orphan drug designation for Annamycin, its candidate for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Orphan drug designation provides certain tax credits and potential research grants, and allows the product seven years of market exclusivity if approved. Annamycin is designed to circumvent multiple drug resistance and decrease cardiotoxicity.

• Caprion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Montreal, expanded a collaboration with Wyeth, of Madison, N.J., for the discovery and development of protein biomarkers to include two clinical programs under way at Wyeth. The companies previously worked on preclinical biomarker research in inflammatory disease using CellCarta, Caprion's protein expression profiling technology. The expanded agreement calls for Caprion to conduct proteomic analysis of human blood plasma samples from patients in two Phase II trials in asthma and renal-cell carcinoma to identify disease-state protein biomarkers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Ceragenix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Denver, said in vitro data reported at the National Foundation for Infectious Disease meeting on antimicrobial resistance in Bethesda, Md., showed that the company's lead compound, CSA-13, had activity against all strains of vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and all but one strain of vancomycin-resistant enterococci. Also, in tobramycin-resistant Pseudomonas infections in clinical isolates from patients with cystic fibrosis, CSA-13 showed potent activity against all strains with minimum inhibitory concentration values ranging from 0.8 micrograms/ml to 3 micrograms/ml.

• ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, and Stragen Pharma SA, of Geneva, entered an alliance to develop Ceflatonin, ChemGenex's lead cancer therapeutic. ChemGenex will be responsible for its global clinical development and registration and marketing in North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Stragen will be responsible for drug production and global supply, as well as facilitating regulatory approvals in Europe. Once Ceflatonin is approved in Europe, the partners would market the product under the ChemGenex brand and share sales profits in that territory, with Stragen getting 51 percent and ChemGenex 49 percent. The drug is in Phase II testing at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, treating chronic myeloid leukemia patients who are resistant to Gleevec (Novartis AG). Also, Ceflatonin has established clinical activity in other hematological malignancies including myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia.

• GeneMax Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, received its lead vaccine candidate, AdhTAP (OS-1) from its PER.C6 technology licensor and contract manufacturer, Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands. The adenovirus construct has been optimized to allow enhanced expression of the transporter of antigen processing that, in animal models, has been shown to increase both the killing of tumors by the immune system and animal survival.

• Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said this month's issue of the American Heart Journal published the design and rationale behind the EARLY ACS trial, which incorporates new technologies and reflects current treatment patterns in patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes in a real-world setting. The 10,500-patient trial is designed to provide evidence regarding the potential benefit of initiating Integrilin, a glycoprotein IIb-IIIa inhibitor, early after patients present with high-risk acute coronary syndromes vs. delaying use until patients undergo coronary angiography. In addition, the randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, international study also will explore the ability of biomarkers to identify high-risk patients who will receive the greatest benefit from an early aggressive approach.

• Neurorecovery Inc., of Tuscaloosa, Ala., hired Reston, Va.-based PRA International, a global clinical research organization, to assist Neurorecovery in the completion of a Phase II trial for the investigational drug 4-aminopyridine at the Wayne State University Medical School in Detroit. The drug 4-aminopyridine is being investigated for the treatment of chronic Guillain-Barre syndrome.

• NeuroSolutions Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, and Sosei Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, said they identified a candidate for neuropathic pain, the result of a year-old collaboration that brought together Sosei's Drug Reprofiling Platform (DRP) and NeuroSolutions' drug activity assay platforms. Labeled DRP-043 by Sosei and NSL-043 by NeuroSolutions, it originally was developed in Japan for a different indication but was terminated by its originator due to a lack of advantage at a late clinical stage. Intellectual property rights will be shared, and NeuroSolutions intends to raise funds to co-develop the compound with Sosei.

• New River Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Radford, Va., submitted an investigational new drug application for NRP290, an opioid that is a bioreversible derivative of hydrocodone. The company expects to begin clinical trials later this year to assess the product's safety and efficacy as a treatment for acute pain.

• Ortec International Inc., of New York, said it reached an agreement with the FDA on the parameters of a 60-patient confirmatory trial evaluating OrCel in the treatment of venous ulcers and has submitted a final version of the study protocol to the FDA. Patient enrollment is expected to begin at the end of July.

• RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Bethesda, Md., said a paper published in the July issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science showed that thymosin beta 4 treatment decreases corneal inflammation and promotes corneal wound repair in animal studies. Researchers said the product appears to modulate overexpression of MMP-9 in the cornea, which is associated with dysregulated inflammation and impaired healing.

• Santarus Inc., of San Diego, said the FDA accepted for filing the company's new drug application for Zegerid (omeprazole) capsules 40 mg and 20 mg. Pursuant to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, Santarus expects the FDA will complete its review or otherwise respond to the NDA by Feb. 26, 2006. Santarus is seeking marketing approval of Zegerid capsules as the first immediate-release proton pump inhibitor in a capsule formulation for the treatment of heartburn and other symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, erosive esophagitis, duodenal ulcers and gastric ulcers.

• Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem, and Active Biotech AB, of Lund, Sweden, submitted an investigational new drug application to the FDA to initiate a trial in the U.S. with laquinimod to assess drug-drug interaction. Laquinimod is an orally administered immunomodulatory substance, developed by Active Biotech and recently licensed to Teva.

• Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., reported the initiation of its registration program of TH-070 (lonidamine). The company began a Phase II trial evaluating the dosing, safety and activity of TH-070 for the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. A Phase III European trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of TH-070 is expected to begin in mid-2005. The Phase II trial is a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study expected to enroll about 200 patients.

• Xpention Genetics Inc., of Conifer, Colo., signed a development contract to develop a molecular diagnostic cancer test for use on canines. The test will use Xpention's licensed p65 technology from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

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