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Celladon (La Jolla, California) said it has entered into an agreement with V-Kardia, a company of the Baker Research Institute (both Melbourne, Australia), under which V-Kardia will develop its V-Focus device for percutaneous delivery of Celladon’s gene therapy for congestive heart failure and supply devices to Celladon.

V-Kardia will develop the device for Celladon’s gene therapy product and provide devices for Celladon’s clinical trials in heart failure patients scheduled to begin in 2006. V-Kardia will receive contract development payments, payments for devices and license fees, including milestones and royalties on product sales.

Celladon will receive options to use the V-Kardia system with five additional therapeutic targets for cardiovascular and other indications.

The partnership agreement follows on preclinical results reported June 2 at the American Association of Gene Therapy conference in St. Louis, where the Baker Research Institute presented data from V-Kardia’s research collaboration with Celladon in heart failure.

V-Kardia’s device was used to deliver Celladon’s gene therapy targeting the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum ATPase2a (SERCA2a) calcium cycling pathway in myocardium. In a pacing model of heart failure in sheep, the gene therapy treatments reversed the deterioration of heart function and essentially restored the cardiac function of the animals to normal levels.

V-Kardia developed the V-Focus device based on the pioneering work of the Baker Research Institute. The system delivers therapeutics to the heart in a closed-loop system that includes special catheters, an oxygenator and perfusion pump. The catheter technique is similar to methods currently used for coronary angioplasty and is easily adapted by interventional cardiologists, the company said.

The Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania (LSGPA; Philadelphia) reported an investment of $250,000 in Hanson Technologies (Carlisle, Pennsylvania), a company that will develop integrated biological and chemical sensors applicable in multiple market spaces.

Funds will be matched by other investors and used to complete technology development and a cooperative research and development agreement between the United States Naval Research Lab (Washington) and Hanson Technologies.

This is the second investment in Hanson Technologies by LSPGA, which had previously invested $100,000 for development of a live-blood test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in July 2004. Hanson Technologies has successfully demonstrated biological detection of BSE prion surrogate.

Hanson Technologies is developing an integrated biological and chemical sensor from patent-accepted technology and a licensed technology from the Naval Research Lab. The sensor technology platform has multiple applications including food safety testing, blood diagnostic markets and agricultural testing markets.

In other financing news, Connetics (Palo Alto, California), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology, reported that on June 20, it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission a resale registration statement covering its 2% convertible senior notes due March 30, 2015, and the shares of common stock into which the notes are convertible. The notes were placed in private transactions in March.

The registration statement was filed on behalf of the selling security holders and the company will not receive any proceeds from the resale of the notes or the underlying common stock.

Connetics is focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutics for the dermatology market.

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