• 7TM Pharma A/S, of Hørsholm, Denmark, entered an agreement with Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., concerning a drug discovery program based on finding antagonists to a particular 7-transmembrane receptor target. Financial terms were not disclosed, but 7TM Pharma is receiving an up-front fee and research funding, and is eligible for milestone payments and royalties. J&J is responsible for development. The program will focus on asthma and other allergic conditions.

• Amarin Corp. plc, of London, said it completed its U.S. investigators' meeting for its upcoming U.S. Phase II trial of Miraxion to treat the symptoms of Huntington's disease. The trial will enroll about 300 patients in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study over a six-month period, followed by an additional six months in which placebo-treated patients will be switched to active Miraxion. Amarin said the trial is expected to begin in July, and a second European Phase III study with 240 patients is set to begin during the third quarter.

• Antisoma plc, of London, started a Phase II trial of AS1404, a vascular disrupting agent, in ovarian cancer. The trial will include 70 patients for Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Half are receiving standard chemotherapy, while the other half are receiving chemotherapy plus AS1404. The endpoints will be response rates, time to tumor progression and survival. It is the third and final trial in a series evaluating AS1404 in combination with chemotherapy. Phase II studies in lung and prostate cancers are ongoing, with the first data from the lung study expected during the second half of 2005.

• Avantogen Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, said it is initiating a preclinical study to develop a therapeutic vaccine for HSV-2 in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Avantogen said it will combine its GPI-0100 adjuvant, which has been shown to enhance the immune response in cancer and chronic infectious diseases, with a genetically engineered, live, attenuated HSV-2 vaccine candidate. The vaccine is aimed at reducing the recurrence and shortening the duration of herpetic lesions and, if effective, is expected to be useful for immunization of high-risk groups.

• Bavarian Nordic A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, reached a milestone in the development of Imvamune with the publication of a study that demonstrated Imvamune protects monkeys from a lethal challenge with monkeypox, a closely related virus to smallpox. Imvamune induced the same level of protection as traditional smallpox vaccines, and showed that an MVA-based vaccine candidate could protect monkeys from an infection induced through the lungs. The study was published in the June 2005 issue of Journal of Virology.

• BioAlliance Pharma SA, of Paris, appointed Piers Morgan chief financial officer. Morgan previously was finance director of London-based Arrow Therapeutics.

• CeNeS Pharmaceuticals plc, of Cambridge, UK, announced successful results from its Phase IIa proof-of-concept study of CNS 5161, its selective NMDA antagonist, in neuropathic pain. In the study, which was designed to establish the therapeutic window of CNS 5161, the product was associated with a trend to improvement in pain levels and was well tolerated with no instances of the psychotomimetic side effects associated with some NMDA antagonists. The study involved 48 patients and compared a single dose of CNS 5161 to placebo.

• CMC Biopharmaceuticals A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Ambrx Inc., of San Diego, entered a development and manufacturing agreement for the cGMP production of PEGylated recombinant growth hormone using Ambrx's ReCODE technology. The product will be manufactured for use in human studies, set to begin following the planned submission of an investigational new drug application in 2006 for Ambrx's human growth hormone.

• Co.don AG, of Berlin, reached a marketing agreement with Bioengi Ltd., of Milan, Italy, to market Co.don's products for the treatment of osteoarthritic knee joints and degenerated intervertebral discs. At present, Italy is the largest market in Europe for autologous articular cartilage transplants. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Compugen Ltd., of Tel Aviv, Israel, reported a collaboration with Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics Inc., a company of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, for the development and commercialization of immunoassay diagnostic markers. They will jointly develop diagnostic products based on biomarkers discovered by Compugen. Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics will have worldwide rights for commercialization, with Compugen receiving development milestones and royalties.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, said study results demonstrated that a fully human monoclonal antibody, derived from patients who survived West Nile infection, effectively neutralized the virus in cell culture and fully protected mice from the lethal infection. The discovery complements Crucell's West Nile virus vaccine development program that is due to enter the clinic at the end of the year.

• CzechInvest, of Prague, Czech Republic, the investment and business agency of the Czech Republic, said scientists at the Czech Academy of Sciences made significant breakthroughs in stem cell research that suggest embryonic stem cells maintained in a universal, or totipotent, status, can, under certain conditions, be used to develop any type of cell in the human body. The scientists will detail the discovery of the mechanism that would sustain human stem cells in their original "blank" state in findings published later this year in Stem Cells. Legislation under consideration by the Republic's parliament would allow researchers to use stem cells extracted from embryos left over from fertility treatments.

• Exact Sciences Corp., of Marlborough, Mass., and OncoMethylome Sciences SA, of Liege, Belgium, and Durham, N.C., entered a research collaboration to evaluate the performance of certain gene methylation markers for use with Exact's next-generation, non-invasive colon cancer screening technology. The markers were identified by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and are exclusively licensed to OncoMethylome. OncoMethylome said the agreement will further solidify the potential of its methylation-specific PCR technology and its patented genes in cancer diagnosis and personalized medicine.

• Fournier Pharma, of Paris, and Xytis Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of London, signed an agreement for the development and commercialization of Anatibant (LF16-0687MS) in traumatic brain injury. It originated from Fournier's research. Fournier has granted Xytis an exclusive worldwide license for the development, manufacture and sales of the product containing its bradykinin B2 antagonist Anatibant for traumatic brain injury and, possibly, other indications.

• Genmab A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, said that objective responses of up to 63 percent, according to Cheson criteria, were achieved at all dose levels with HuMax-CD20 in a Phase I/II study to treat patients with relapsed or refractory follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Patients were given four weekly infusions of HuMax-CD20 at doses of 300 mg, 500 mg, 700 mg and 1,000 mg, and tumor responses were recorded at 63 percent, 33 percent, 20 percent and 56 percent, respectively.

• GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said preclinical data on its cancer product 1D09C3 demonstrated that the compound appears to show improved efficacy if treatment intervals are increased up to seven days. That indicates that the antibody might not need to be continuously present in the bloodstream to achieve a cell-killing effect. The company said preclinical data also showed that frequent repeat treatments were not more potent than a single treatment. 1D09C3, an anti-MHC (major histocompatibility complex) Class II monoclonal antibody, is in a Phase I study in patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphomas who have failed prior standard therapy.

• Immuno-Designed Molecules SA, of Paris, received the designation of "cell therapy establishment" from Afssaps, the French drug agency, for its European production site based in Paris, and was granted a renewable period of five years. As a result, IDM obtained approval from Hungarian health officials to recruit patients for its Phase II/III trial of Rexidem, a cell therapy product made of activated macrophages derived from the patient's white blood cells, for bladder cancer indications.

• IntegraGen SA, of Paris, formed a partnership with the French-based Fondation Austisme and the research organization Cure Autism Now to create a databank of samples from French families with autism. The databank will be available to the scientific community for research into the genetic causes of autism.

• Medac GmbH, of Hamburg, Germany, 25 percent-owned by Schering AG, of Berlin, has been sold by Schering to the stakeholders of Medac for a "two-digit euro figure," Schering said. At the same time, Schering has acquired from Medac the remaining 50 percent of the shares in Medac Schering Onkologie GmbH. The activities of that company are to be integrated into a new oncology business unit at Schering Deutschland GmbH, Schering's German subsidiary. The employees of Medac Schering Onkologie will be taken over by Schering Deutschland.

• MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, started a Phase I trial of G207 in malignant glioma. The trial is a collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is substantially supported by a grant from the U.S. National Cancer Institute. G207 is a genetically modified herpes simplex virus, adapted to destroy tumor cells without harming healthy tissue. The trial is expected to involve 20 patients over the next 24 months. In addition to safety, tolerability and efficacy, the trial will evaluate potential synergy with radiation therapy.

• Morria Biopharmaceuticals plc, of London, completed a £1.9 million (US$3.5 million) private placement of 3.2 million ordinary shares at a price of 60 pence per share. The round was led by Charles Street Securities, of London, and follows a £200,000 private bridge financing. Morria said proceeds would be used to advance its three core preclinical development programs in the fields of dermatology, respiratory and gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders. Its leading drug candidates are MRX1, a topical formulation for treating atopic dermatitis, and MRX3, an inhaled application for treating respiratory inflammation such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. As a result of the financing, Gilead Raday, of CSS, joined Morria's board.

• Nuevolution A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Biovitrum AB, of Stockholm, Sweden, signed a drug discovery collaboration focused on metabolic diseases. Nuevolution will use its Chemetics drug discovery technology to find new drug leads against a disease target to be provided by Biovitrum. Nuevolution will generate several 100 million membered Chemetics libraries from which high-affinity ligands will be selected. Nuevolution is entitled to certain milestone payments and a share of future product sales resulting from the collaboration.

• PartnerChip, of Evry, France, became an official service provider for the products of Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif. The agreement covers products and services incorporating Affymetrix GeneChip technology, such as oligonucleotide arrays and instruments for processing and analyzing arrays. PartnerChip, which offers microarray genetics testing, gene expression and functional genomics services, also will provide chips based on the technology dedicated to health care, agro-food and environmental applications, as well as carry out the standard controls needed for clinical applications.

• Peptech Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, said results of a preclinical trial of its human domain antibody demonstrated potency levels about three times higher than a leading anti-TNF drug against rheumatoid arthritis in an industry standard model. Peptech's drug is being designed as a treatment for multiple inflammatory diseases and has shown dose-dependent disease development suppression.

• Quintiles Transnational Corp., of Research Triangle Park, N.C.; pharmaceutical services group, Interpharma Asia Pacific, of Hong Kong, parent of drug distributor Zuellig Pharma; and Asia investment company Temasek Holdings Ltd. signed a letter of intent to enter a joint venture to commercialize pharmaceutical products in the Asia-Pacific region.

• Scil Technology GmbH, of Martinsried, Germany, reported positive preclinical results from its regenerative dental bone augmentation material, designated MD05. The study compared MD05, a bone substitute, with other substitutes in reconstructing defects, and the company said that its material showed better effectiveness than autologous bone or competing products. Scil focuses on dental and orthopedic tissue regeneration, particularly bone and cartilage repair.

• Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem, said results from an ongoing study demonstrate that Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) is associated with lower relapse rates than interferon therapies in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Compared to interferon beta 1b (Betaferon, Chiron Corp.) interferon beta 1a (Avonex, Biogen Idec) and 22 microgram interferon beta 1a (Rebif, Serono SA), Copaxone produced a statistically significant reduction in annual relapse rates at 24 months after initiation of treatment vs. pre-study rates.

• Transkaryotic Therapies Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said it has received government clearances, with the expiration of required waiting periods, to proceed with the proposed acquisition by Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Basingstoke, UK. The company has not yet set a date for the stockholder meeting to approve the acquisition. Closing is expected in the third quarter. The companies announced the $1.6 billion merger in April.

• Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., is expanding the scope of its collaboration with Berlin-based Schering AG. Valentis agreed to grant Schering a worldwide license to its GeneSwitch gene regulation and PINC polymer delivery technologies for research purposes on a nonexclusive basis. Schering paid Valentis an up-front license fee and Valentis is entitled to annual license maintenance fees. The initial agreement was formed in December 2002.