• Agencourt Bioscience Corp., of Beverly, Mass., entered an alliance with Amplicon Express Inc., of Pullman, Wash., to co-market a suite of BAC library construction and sequencing services. Amplicon will provide an array of BAC services, including BAC library construction, fingerprinting, nylon filter arraying, clone picking and pooling. Agencourt will offer a suite of high- and low-throughput sequencing services, including end sequencing and shotgun sequencing commonly required downstream of BAC library construction.

• AlphaRx Inc., of Markham, Ontario, completed dosing in a Phase I study of Indaflex, a topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug formulation for symptoms of arthritis. The company expects that topical Indaflex delivery might circumvent the gastrointestinal side effects found with oral NSAIDs.

• Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas said its physicians performed their first islet-cell transplant to treat Type I diabetes as the patient received 300,000 islet cells during her 12-minute infusion. The 27-year-old was discharged the next day, and, since then, she has started producing her own insulin for the first time in 20 years. She still requires low doses of insulin each day, and is expected to have another infusion in the next few weeks, but her blood sugar control has improved.

• BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Birmingham, Ala., said it is pleased with the overall safety profile demonstrated by the oral and intravenous formulation of forodesine hydrochloride. Safety data came from interim results of a Phase I trial of the oral formulation and of a Phase II trial of an intravenous formulation to treat patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The Phase I trial also indicated the efficacy of once-a-day oral dosing with forodesine.

• Bioenvision Inc., of New York, said interim results from the ongoing clinical studies of clofarabine in pediatric and adult acute leukemia trials confirm the drug's profile observed in previous studies. In a Phase II study in older adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia who are unsuitable for intensive chemotherapy, there was a complete response rate of 58 percent. In a European pediatric relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia trial, there was a 42 percent complete response rate. The FDA approved clofarabine in December to treat relapsed and refractory pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia.

• BioXell SpA, of Milan, Italy, presented data from a Phase IIa trial of BXL628 in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia, at the annual meeting of the European Urology Association in Istanbul, Turkey. In the 12-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of 119 patients, BXL628 showed a reduction of 7.2 percent in prostate volume compared to placebo (p<0.0001). Data also demonstrated that in a pre-planned analysis 29 percent of treated patients experienced a clinically significant reduction of prostate volume.

• Caprion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Montreal, said it received an undisclosed milestone payment as a result of its lung cancer research collaboration with Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill. The payment follows Abbott's acceptance of a final data set of tumor antigen targets discovered by Caprion. Both the targets' delivery and their acceptance were made several months ahead of schedule, according to Caprion, which could receive future payments upon successful achievement by Abbott of research and clinical development milestones, as well as royalties. Abbott is pursuing efforts to develop monoclonal antibody therapeutics for cancer directed to the targets.

• Dynavax Technologies Corp., of Berkeley, Calif., said data from a Phase I trial of AIC ragweed allergy immunotherapy showed that AIC treatment resulted in a clinically significant improvement in symptoms and a parallel reduction in medication usage during the peak ragweed season compared to placebo. The trial was designed to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity, and to capture selected clinical efficacy parameters of AIC at higher doses than used in previous studies. AIC is in a 462-patient Phase II/III trial, and the company expects to start a Phase III program in 2006.

• EDC Biosystems Inc., of San Jose, Calif., entered an agreement to co-market its acoustic liquid-handling instrumentation with the ChemLib microplates of Aurora Discovery Inc., of San Diego. EDC said its EnRoute HTS 02 instrument provides researchers with a non-contact alternative to liquid-handling operations in low volume microplates, and used with ChemLib 1,536- or 3,456-well microplates, aids in compound reformatting, hit picking and compound library auditing.

• ISTA Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Irvine, Calif., submitted an investigational new drug application with the FDA to conduct a Phase IIb trial for ecabet sodium, a prescription eye drop to treat dry eye syndrome. ISTA intends to initiate the Phase IIb trial in the second quarter. The trial is designed to evaluate several ocular signs and symptoms, including corneal and conjunctival staining and tear film breakup time.

• Life Medical Sciences Inc., of Oceanport, N.J., initiated a clinical study of Repel-CV involving a number of cardiac surgery centers in Europe. The company also reported that the FDA approved its request to increase, from 15 to 20, the number of surgical sites participating in the Repel-CV pivotal clinical trial. Repel-CV is a surgical adhesion barrier.

• Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., of Scottsdale, Ariz., entered a definitive merger agreement with Inamed Corp., of Santa Barbara, Calif., worth $2.8 billion. The combined company would have annual revenue in excess of $700 million, with 1,500 employees and a portfolio of products in the facial aesthetics, breast aesthetics and therapeutic dermatological markets, as well as surgical devices to treat morbid obesity. Inamed stockholders would receive 1.4205 shares of Medicis common stock and $30 in cash for each share of Inamed common stock.

• MIV Therapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, executed an agreement to acquire SagaX Medical Technologies Inc., a company developing solutions to decrease likelihood of strokes and other complications that result from cardiac procedures. SagaX, a privately held Delaware company, is developing an aortic embolic protection device and related devices at its research and development center in Herzliya, Israel.

• NascaCell IP GmbH, of Munich, Germany, and Discovery Partners International Inc., of San Diego, entered a co-marketing agreement to jointly provide aptamer-based drug discovery services to the life sciences industry. The companies are working to establish aptamers as screening tools to broaden DPI's hit- and lead-finding capabilities. NascaCell's automated in vitro selection platform allows the generation of aptamers for almost any target of choice.

• Ozgene Pty. Ltd., of Perth, Australia, said it reached a final milestone in one of its drug target validation projects for Organon NV, of Oss, the Netherlands. The milestone marks the completion of the first project in a series of studies. The contract research undertaken by Ozgene will form the basis for further studies by Organon.

• ParAllele BioScience Inc., of South San Francisco, introduced a multiplexed assay to include 10,000 non-synonymous SNPs that can be used in human genotyping studies. The new assay panel represents most of the major drug target gene families and is available through ParAllele Genotyping Service, the company said.

• Predictive Diagnostics Inc., of Vacaville, Calif., a wholly owned subsidiary of Large Scale Biology Corp., entered a collaboration with the University of Utah Research Foundation (UURF) in Salt Lake City to identify biomarkers from a simple maternal blood test for the early diagnosis of pregnancy-related complications and disorders, such as pre-term birth and preeclampsia. UURF will provide PDI with blood samples that PDI will analyze using its BAMF technologies to identify and validate blood tests for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of such conditions.

• Quantum Dot Corp., of Hayward, Calif., launched the Mosaic Gene Expression Assay System.

• RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Bethesda, Md., said its stock would begin trading on the American Stock Exchange next Monday under the symbol "RGN." Until then, the shares will continue to trade on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board. RegeneRx is developing TB4 as a platform technology for treating acute and chronic wounds, as well as for a variety of human diseases involving tissue and organ repair.

• Stratagene Corp., of La Jolla, Calif., said its wholly owned subsidiary, Hycor Biomedical Inc., of Garden Grove, Calif., received clearance from the FDA to market its anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) IgG autoimmune test in the U.S. The new test complements the tTG IgA test cleared by the FDA in 2004. TTG is used in the diagnosis of celiac disease, a digestive disorder in which patients cannot tolerate the gluten protein.

• Stressgen Biotechnologies Corp., of San Diego, said that data from a Phase II study in high-grade cervical dysplasia using HspE7, the company's lead candidate for human papillomavirus-related diseases, was presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists annual meeting on women's cancer. The National Cancer Institute's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program and Stressgen are collaborating on the development of HspE7 under a clinical trials agreement.

• Trinity Biotech plc, of Dublin, Ireland, completed the acquisition of Research Diagnostics Inc., of Flanders, N.J., for $4.2 million in cash. RDI, which had sales last year of more than $5 million, provides monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, antigens, proteins, enzymes and immunochemicals to research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, reference laboratories and universities worldwide.

• Vion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., said initial Phase II data reported at the International Symposium and Workshop on Leukemia and Lymphoma in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, showed that its cancer agent Cloretazine (VNP40101M) produced an overall response rate of 30 percent among 67 elderly acute myeloid leukemia patients and 14 high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients. In another set of patients, among whom 90 percent had either intermediate or unfavorable cytogenetics, there was an overall response rate of 7 percent. Vion said investigators concluded that the data demonstrate significant single-agent activity in high-risk AML and MDS patients for whom current treatment strategies are inadequate.

• ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, said results from an independent study that compared the precision and sensitivity of PhenoSense HIV with Antivirogram will be published in the April 1, 2005, issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Results showed that PhenoSense HIV is more precise than Virco BVBA's Antivirogram, and it is superior to detecting resistance to currently approved nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. The study found no significant differences between the two assays in detecting resistance to protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.