• AERES Biomedical Ltd., of London, completed engineering of BT-062, a humanized monoclonal antibody for the treatment of multiple myeloma, being developed by Biotest AG, of Dreieich, Germany.

• Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, UK, opened an investigational new drug application to start U.S. trials of ATL-962 in obesity. The initial trial, with about 80 obese subjects, will test fecal fat levels, safety and tolerability of the lipase inhibitor. Data are expected around the end of 2005, when a Phase IIb European study in 600 obese diabetic patients also is due to report.

• Argenta Discovery Ltd., of Harlow, UK, and TTP Labtech Ltd., of Royston, UK, launched a high-content assay development and screening service to be marketed jointly. The service brings together Argenta's biology and cell-based assay capabilities, with TTP's screening platform.

• Biofusion plc, of Sheffield, UK, is expected to begin trading today following its initial public offering on London's Alternative Investment Market, raising £8.2 million (US$17.8 million). The technology commercialization company has a 10-year exclusive deal to commercialize biological and medical research from Sheffield University.

• UK's BioIndustry Association was awarded government funding of £3 million (US$5.6 million) to set up bioProcessUK, a knowledge transfer network, to promote the development of the UK's bioprocessing capabilities.

• BioPartners Ltd., of Saffron Walden, UK, reversed into the Alternative Investment Market-listed shell RII plc, and raised £3 million (US$5.6 million) in a placing of 400 million shares at 75 pence per share. The company now is seeking re-admission to AIM under a new name, Minister Pharmaceuticals. BioPartners, set up in January 2001 to acquire compounds and progress them to proof of concept, has raised £400,000 to date. Its main assets are two licenses granted by SmithKline Beecham plc giving worldwide exclusive rights to tonabersat for treating migraine and sabcomeline for schizophrenia. An 800-patient Phase II trial of tonabersat carried out by SmithKline was positive but development was discontinued when it merged with GlaxoWellcome plc in 2001. Sabcomeline, a muscarinic cholinergic agonist, was being developed by SmithKline for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, but was dropped in that indication after being tested in more than 2,500 patients. BioPartners has carried out a Phase IIa trial showing sabcomeline has activity in schizophrenia.

• BioWisdom Ltd., of Cambridge, UK, raised £2.3 million (US$5.2 million) in its third funding round, bringing its total raised to £6.9 million. New investors Finsbury Life Sciences Investment Trust and NIF Ventures Ltd. joined existing investors, Merlin Biosciences and MB Venture Capital.

• Cellectricon AB, of Gothenburg, Sweden, opened Cellectricon Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md. Peter Tunon was retained as the company's president and Thomas Guiel as chief operating officer. Cellectricon Inc. will provide sales and technical support and expand the company's presence in the U.S. and Canada.

• Danisco A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, signed an agreement to acquire Genencor International Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif. Danisco will acquire all outstanding shares of Genencor common stock, other than those held by Danisco, Eastman Chemical Co. or their subsidiaries, for $19.25 per share. In connection to the agreement, Danisco also agreed to purchase all outstanding shares of Genencor held by Eastman for $15 per share, and all the outstanding shares of Genencor's preferred stock held by Eastman for $44 million in cash.

• Eirx Therapeutics plc, of Cork, Ireland, is acquiring a 56.1 percent stake in Auvation Ltd., of Aberdeen, UK, in a stock-based deal valued at just more than £1.5 million (US$2.8 million). The company has issued about 25.2 million new shares, priced at 6 pence per share, to Auvation's controlling shareholders and has offered to buy out remaining stockholders on the same terms. The deal gives Eirx access to a tissue bank comprising 1,000 tumor samples obtained from colorectal cancer patients with matched samples derived from normal tissues, more than 20 cancer protein targets, plus an exclusive option to license intellectual property from the London School of Pharmacy.

• Flamel Technologies SA, of Lyon, France, entered an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, which resolves all outstanding matters with respect to the former licensing agreement between the companies for Flamel's formulation of long-acting human insulin, Basulin. Flamel will receive a cash payment, as well as clear title to certain data produced in connection with the relationship between the parties, including the results of a Phase IIa study of Basulin. The deal originally was signed in August 2003 and valued at up to $165 million.

• GB Therapeutics Ltd., of Mississauga, Ontario, gained an exclusive license to a Phase III molecule labeled CHF1512 from Chiesi Farmaceutici SpA, of Parma, Italy. The compound is a methyl-ester of levodopa, melevodopa, combined with the decarboxylase inhibitor carbidopa. Its clinical development for Parkinson's disease has been completed in Europe, leading to a registration in Italy. Additional Phase III trials to meet FDA and ICH guidelines targeting motor fluctuations are expected to begin in the first quarter of next year. Financial considerations given to Chiesi include an equity investment in GB Therapeutics.

• Inpharmatica Ltd., of London, entered a series of agreements to allow Pfizer Inc., of New York, access to four core components of Inpharmatica's PharmaCarta gene-to-candidate technology platform. Those components are provided to Pfizer in addition to an existing Biopendium subscription, which is moving into its sixth year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• IntegraGen SA, of Paris, said it would participate in the DiOgenes (Diet, Obesity and Genes) project. IntegraGen is one of a consortium of 30 European Union organizations that has been awarded €14.5 million (US$18.8 million) to carry out a coordinated investigation into a broad range of factors influencing weight gain, from diet intervention to gene nutrient interactions. IntegraGen will, in collaboration with the INSERM consortium on the Functional Genomics of Obesity, be responsible for the genetic aspects of the project.

• Medical Marketing International Group plc, of Cambridge, UK, said independent safety tests indicated its lead ruthenium compounds are toxic to cancer cells at lower levels than marketed platinum-based chemotherapeutics. The tests were carried out by CXR Biosciences, of Dundee, UK.

• Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, appointed Roland Scollay CEO. Scollay's pharmaceutical experience includes five years on the global research management board of Novartis AG. Metabolic has programs aimed at treating obesity, pain and Type II diabetes.

• Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., entered a deal with UCB Pharma's Celltech Antibody Research Centre of Excellence in Brussels, Belgium, to collaboratively research, develop and commercialize antibody therapeutics generated from two validated Millennium targets: a co-stimulatory molecule and a chemokine receptor. The former is a CD28 homologue implicated in the regulation and activation of T cells. The chemokine receptor is expressed on peripheral T cells and has been implicated in multiple inflammatory diseases. UCB will handle development activities and related costs through Phase II, including generating antibody candidates and preclinical and early stage clinical evaluation. Millennium retains an option to co-develop and co-commercialize products with UCB, under a cost- and profit-sharing deal. UCB will make payments to Millennium upon certain clinical milestones.

• MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, expanded its existing license agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York. MorphoSys granted BMS access to its HuCAL Gold library for use in discovery programs for target characterization and validation, and for therapeutic and diagnostic antibody product development. Financial details were not disclosed.

• Neuro3d, of Mulhouse, France, which is focused on drug discovery and development for psychiatric disorders, began Phase I trials of ND7001, an antidepressant drug with anxiolytic activity. ND7001 acts on a new target that has never been associated with depression or anxiety. The company said it is the first of a new generation of psycho-active compounds potentially devoid of several problems seen with existing treatments.

• NeuroSearch A/S, of Ballerup, Denmark, received DKK45 million (US$7.9 million) from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, arising from their December 2003 alliance involving the drug development candidate NS2359 (GSK372475), plus other research programs. NeuroSearch will recognize DKK67 million in revenue from the program in 2005. That figure includes part of the up-front payment it received in 2003. NeuroSearch has received DKK394 million of the DKK610 million in committed payments it stands to receive in the alliance.

• Nucleis, of Lyon, France, says it earned a "two-digit net profit ratio" on revenues of €1.5 million (not including grants and subsidies) in 2004, its second full year of activity. The company creates genetically modified mice and supplies associated biological services. It expects to close a €1.5 million funding round before the end of the first quarter to support its plans for opening a research center in Montreal and sales offices in North America and Singapore this year.

• Pluristem Life Systems Inc., of Haifa, Israel, completed a $755,000 interim private placement to further its development efforts. Funds will be used to achieve short-term growth objectives and to continue its stem cell development plan for cell regenerative therapy. Pluristem said, as a condition of the interim funding, the new investors were entitled to appoint two members to the company's five-person board.

• Sanofi-Aventis Group, of Paris, presented preliminary results of two large prospective trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of Eloxatin (oxaliplatin for injection)-based regimens in metastatic colorectal cancer at the Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, co-sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, and the Society of Surgical Oncology. TREE-2 is the first study to assess the safety of Eloxatin-based regimens combined with Avastin (bevacizumab, Genentech Inc.) for the first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Preliminary efficacy results suggested that adding bevacizumab improved the response rate of all Eloxatin-based regimens. Researchers from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group also reported results of the E3200 study, which demonstrated a 26 percent reduction in the risk of death for patients receiving Eloxatin-based chemotherapy (FOLFOX4) plus bevacizumab compared to those who received FOLFOX4 alone.

• Starpharma Holdings Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia; Dendritic NanoTechnologies Inc., of Mount Pleasant, Mich.; and The Dow Chemical Co., of Midland, Mich., reached an agreement that provides DNT and Starpharma with ownership or access to Dow's intellectual property portfolio and associated royalties in the field of dendrimers. Dow will assign 196 patents, comprising 41 patent families, to DNT for a significant equity stake in DNT. Starpharma, which already held a 42 percent interest in DNT, will make an additional cash equity investment for exclusive rights to DNT and former Dow intellectual property for polyvalent, dendrimer-based pharmaceutical applications. DNT's product development areas include protein, antibody, and anti-inflammatory drug delivery technologies, as well as siRNA drug targeting and delivery solutions.

• The University of Dundee in Scotland said nearly £9 million (US$16.7 million) was awarded by the European Commission to establish scientific evidence on how exercise prevents weight gain, obesity and Type II diabetes. The money also will start the process of developing a drug, which will mimic the beneficial effects of exercise for people who are unable to exercise themselves. Led by the university, the project responds to the urgent problem of obesity, which has increased threefold in the UK over the last 20 years.

• VASTox plc, of Oxford, UK, announced a chemical genomics screening deal with MNLpharma Ltd., of Aberystwyth, UK, to characterize plant-derived small-molecule immunomodulators discovered by MNL and confirm the mechanism of action.

• Wyeth, of Madison, N.J., and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, said Enbrel (etanercept) received Japanese regulatory approval for rheumatoid arthritis in patients with an inadequate response to existing therapies. It will be co-promoted in Japan by the companies. In the U.S., it is marketed by Wyeth and Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

• YM BioSciences Inc., of Mississauga, Ontario, has partnered with Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Co., of Seoul, South Korea, to expand the development program of its lead drug, tesmilifene, in gastric cancer. The companies will form a joint development team, and Shin Poong will fund development costs and provide an undisclosed up-front fee, as well as milestone and royalty payments. In addition, Shin Poong will begin a study in the local population this year to allow the breast cancer indication under study by YM to be launched in Korea and other Asian countries. Also, YM said it was advised by its European partner, Oncoscience AG, of Wedel, Germany, that the Phase II trial in children with brain cancer using the EGF receptor monoclonal antibody (h-R3) as a monotherapy achieved the clinical milestone that permits conversion of the trial into a pivotal trial. The new study will be a randomized Phase III trial comparing radiation to radiation plus h-R3 as a first-line therapy following surgery.

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