• Affitech AS, of Oslo, Norway, completed a milestone in its collaboration with Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tustin, Calif. Affitech generated human versions of 2C3, a mouse antibody targeting vascular endothelial growth factor that has demonstrated antitumor activity in preclinical models. Peregrine disclosed data on the program at the International Symposium on Anti-Angiogenic Agents in La Jolla, Calif.

• Australian Cancer Technology, of Sydney, Australia, established a corporate office in San Diego. The company said its board approved a name change to Avantogen Ltd., subject to shareholder approval. Also, the company said results from an extended Phase I/II study evaluating RP101 with chemotherapy demonstrated a doubling of survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. The study involved 13 patients with metastasized pancreatic cancer treated with RP101 and gemcitabine plus cisplatin. For the treatment group, the 50 percent probability of survival was increased to an average of 15 months from a historic average of 7.5 months (p=0.008).

• Bavarian Nordic A/S, of Kvistg rd, Denmark, plans to raise about DKK300 million (US$52.3 million) in a rights offering directed at existing shareholders. The company would use proceeds to accelerate its development programs in smallpox, HIV and cancer in the U.S. and in Europe, and to extend its production activities. The company expects to break even in 2005 on revenues in the range of DKK450 million to DKK500 million and to hire about 85 employees during the year, in production, quality assurance, and research and development. It expects to conduct the fund raising during the early summer.

• Cerep SA, of Paris, signed an agreement with Sanofi-Synthélabo Recherche, a unit of Sanofi-Aventis Group, of Paris, for the supply of compound libraries. The deal calls for Cerep to synthesize several thousand compounds exclusively designed for Sanofi-Synthélabo Recherche, using proprietary and original monomers selected by the client, and to design new ones that meet Sanofi's diversity criteria.

• ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, provided updated data from a Phase I/II study of Quinamed (amonafide dihydrochloride) and new preclinical data showing the drug's ability to enhance the activity of other standard cancer drugs. The Phase I/II data showed that one patient with hormone-refractory prostate cancer had a 40 percent reduction in tumor volume and a 50 percent reduction in prostate-specific antigen count, while two other patients with refractory metastatic ovarian cancer experienced a stabilization in the growth of their tumors. The data were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Oncogenomics 2005: Dissecting Cancer Through Genome Research conference in San Diego. Separately, ChemGenex licensed a patented molecule, now called CXS299, from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. CXS299 is a platinum IV cancer agent designed to selectively block tumor cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle, which would make the product less prone to cross-resistance, compared to approved platinum II therapies. The company said it also has properties that might allow physicians to target patients most likely to benefit from therapy. Terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed.

• Co.don AG, of Berlin, appointed Joerg Richter to the company's board, with responsibility for sales and marketing. Richter previously was a board member at bitop AG, of Witten, Germany, responsible for business development and sales.

• Cytos Biotechnology AG, of Zurich, Switzerland, reported its Phase I results for the Immunodrug candidate CYT006-AngQb, a therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of hypertension. Those data were obtained from a pilot study with 15 volunteers. All 12 participants receiving the vaccine mounted an angiotensin II-specific antibody response; the four participants receiving placebo showed no detectable angiotensin.

• Diosynth BV, of Oss, the Netherlands, signed a manufacturing agreement with Pharming Group NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, for the production of recombinant human C1 inhibitor (rhC1INH) for commercial use. Diosynth is responsible for technology transfer, purification-process development, scaling-up and commercial production of Pharming's rhC1IHN at its downstream processing facility. Pharming will prepare for the drug's market launch for the treatment of hereditary angioedema. Financial details were not disclosed.

• D-Pharm Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, started enrolling patients for a confirmatory Phase IIb study of DP-b99 in acute stroke. The double blind, placebo-controlled trial is designed to reconfirm efficacy previously observed in stroke patients, and to strengthen data found in the Phase IIa study. The study will recruit 150 patients in Europe and Israel who will receive placebo or DP-b99 administered intravenously over four days.

• Flamel Technologies SA, of Lyon, France, posted a summary of Phase IIa data conducted on its long-acting insulin, Basulin, on its website. The company said that it obtained data on 30 Type I diabetic patients. Flamel is developing two polymer-based delivery technologies for medical applications.

• Gastrotech Pharma A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, named Hans Schambye CEO, replacing Claes Post who will continue to serve as a board member and senior vice president. Post will focus on identifying and evaluating product in-licensing opportunities. Schambye has served as Gastrotech's senior vice president of research and development since March.

• GeneCopoeia Inc., of Germantown, Md., and Deutsches Ressourcenzentrum fur Genomforschung GmbH, of Berlin, entered a partnership to distribute GeneCopoeia's seven sets of 16,000 OmicsLink ORF expression clones in the region of EU member states and Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

• Iceland Genomics Corp., of Reykjavik, Iceland, and Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, entered a research collaboration to analyze Sequenom's panels of genetic markers associated with breast and prostate cancer in Icelandic patient samples. The markers were discovered through a series of genome-wide association studies. Among the markers to be studied are SNPs from the ICAM and NuMA gene regions.

• IDEA AG, of Munich, Germany, began a clinical Phase II study of IDEA-070 to treat various inflammatory skin diseases. The goal of the double-blind, placebo-controlled study is to identify dermatological diseases that might benefit from topical treatment of the product. IDEA-070 will be further tested in a Phase III program focusing on certain conditions, such as atopic eczema, dishydrotic hand eczema, plaque-type psoriasis, seborrheic eczema and acne vulgaris.

• LION bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, and Xennex Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said they will develop wrappers for the human genes' compendium GeneCards, enabling researchers to view GeneCards data within SRS, LION's data-integration platform. LION also entered a collaboration with BioBase GmbH, of Wolfenbuettel, Germany, aimed at integrating BioBase's network content into LION's software products. That will enable scientists to access network and cellular pathway information from LION's SRS technology.

• m-phasys GmbH, of Tubingen, Germany, closed its Series C private equity financing and is expected to use the proceeds to expand business activities for therapeutic and diagnostic antibodies against human membrane proteins. The company said the investment will sustain operations to mid-2007, and allow m-phasys to extend ongoing collaborations and look for additional partners in the antibody field.

• NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Salt Lake City, said it will extend the time it will take to prepare the new drug application for its osteoporosis drug candidate Preos in light of European deadlines and filing requirements of its partner Nycomed Group, of Roskilde, Denmark, and the process of incorporating data from multiple clinical studies into different regulatory submission documents. The company also said that Nycomed intends to submit a marketing authorization application in Europe next month for approval to sell Preotact, the European brand name for Preos, and that NPS and Nycomed are cooperating to meet the submission deadline.

• Pharmaxis Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, received approval to begin a Phase II study in the UK with Bronchitol, a therapeutic for cystic fibrosis. The study, designed to determine the effects of Bronchitol on mucus clearance and lung performance over a three-month period, will compare the effects of twice-daily administration of the product vs. the marketed product pulmozyme. Pharmaxis said 42 patients are to be enrolled, and the study is expected to conclude in 2006.

• Qiagen GmbH, of Venlo, the Netherlands, entered a manufacturing and supply agreement with Roche Molecular Systems, of Pleasanton, Calif., which will market Qiagen's media sample-preparation kits under its AmpiLute trademark. The customized kit will incorporate a specific version of Qiagen's QIAamp technology to purify DNA from specimens stored in liquid cytology media.

• Roslin Institute, of Edinburgh, UK, received a one-year license to clone human embryos for research into motor neuron disease from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority. The research team, led by Ian Wilmut, will take the nuclei from skin cells of patients with the disease, and inject them into enucleated eggs donated by women undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment. Once the egg is activated, it will be allowed to grow into a 5- to 6-day-old embryo that will then be used to develop embryonic stem cells. Wilmut was the scientist behind Dolly the cloned sheep.

• Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho Co. Ltd., of Negoya, Japan, and Quark Biotech Inc., of Fremont, Calif., entered an agreement for Quark to license the Phase II compound BT16 to Sanwa for the treatment of dyslipidemia. Sanwa gains exclusive development, manufacturing and marketing rights in Japan and other Asian countries. Quark will receive an up-front payment, as well as development milestone payments and royalties on sales.

• Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Basingstoke, UK, said that Health Canada requested the suspension of sales of Shire's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment, Adderall, in Canada, following the agency's interpretation of adverse event data as part of routine label updating. Shire said that while the company is complying with the request, it disagrees with the conclusions drawn by Health Canada. The interpretation of the same data by the FDA led to a revised U.S. label for Adderall XR in September, clarifying that the drug generally should not be used in children or adults with structural cardiac abnormalities, Shire said.

• Sinovac Biotech Ltd., of Beijing, completed the acquisition of an additional 20.6 percent of its Beijing-based operating subsidiary, Sinovac Biotech Co. Ltd., for about $3.3 million. The company's holdings now include almost 72 percent of Sinovac Biotech and 100 percent of the Tangshan Yian R&D and production facility, which was acquired in February.

• Sosei Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, said SOT-107 (TransMID) was granted orphan drug status for the treatment of glioma in Japan. Sosei licensed rights to the product in Japan and Taiwan from Xenova Group plc, of London, in November 2002. The FDA and the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products granted orphan designation for TransMID in 2001 and 2002, respectively. TransMID entered Phase III trials last year.

• Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., of Jerusalem, and Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc., of East Brunswick, N.J., announced the U.S. launch of Tev-Tropin (somatropin for injections), a growth hormone product to treat children with short stature due to growth hormone deficiency. The product is manufactured by Savient using recombinant DNA technology.

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