• Antisense Therapeutics Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, said its American depository receipt (ADR) program has been declared effective by the SEC. The Bank of New York was appointed as the depository bank for the ADR program, which facilitates the purchase of Antisense shares by U.S. investors. The company's lead compound, ATL1102, is in a Phase IIa study in multiple sclerosis.

• BioMena SA, of Tunis, Tunisia, is a new company that has resulted from a technology alliance between Tunisia and Canada. With a $48 million initial investment by North African and European banks and private investors from Tunisia and surrounding regions, the company has a mission to manufacture affordable biopharmaceutical products to treat diseases such as anemia, cancer, hepatitis and multiple sclerosis. BioMena is an exclusive licensee of Montreal-based Prometic Life Sciences Inc.'s Mimetic Ligand technology.

• The Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington reported that BioGroup, a subsidiary of Rhode Island's Tech Collective, formed to represent the state's focus in the life sciences industry. The Tech Collective is an alliance of independent technology industry associations in Rhode Island.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, said it was accepted as a new member of the influenza vaccine supply international task force. The task force was created in February 2002 to assist business leaders in ensuring adequate flu vaccine production. Crucell is focused on developing vaccines and antibodies that prevent and treat infectious diseases.

• Emergent BioSolutions Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and the Health Protection Agency in London announced a two-year collaboration to develop botulism vaccines. Under the agreement, Emergent will hold worldwide, exclusive rights, except in the UK, as well as royalty-bearing rights to manufacture, market and sell the botulinum vaccines to be developed using HPA's technology. Emergent said it committed $2 million during the course of the agreement.

• FASgen Inc., of Baltimore, said preclinical studies of its tuberculosis drug, FAS20013, suggest that it targets slow-growing mycobacteria and kills more organisms in a four-hour exposure period than isoniazide or rifampin. The company said early data also indicate the drug could treat MDR-TB, the disease caused by organisms resistant to common TB drugs. Initial clinical trials are scheduled for later this year.

• GeneGo Inc., of St. Joseph, Mich., launched MetaDrug V1.0, a platform that combines software for predicting metabolites and more than 40 ADME/Tox properties with visualization and analysis of toxicogenomics and metabolomics data. It can be used as a stand-alone product or together with GeneGo's analytical platform MetaCore.

• GenoMed Inc., of St. Louis, filed a patent application on two genes linked to common cancers. The first gene, involved in copying DNA, was linked to pancreatic and ovarian cancers. The second gene codes for a scaffolding protein involved in building protein networks inside the cell.

• Helsinn Healthcare SA, of Lugano, Switzerland, and PT Kalbe Farma Tbk, of Jakarta, Indonesia, signed an agreement granting Kalbe the exclusive license and distribution rights for Aloxi (palonosetron hydrochloride) in Indonesia. Aloxi is a new generation of 5-HT3 antagonists, with activity for the prevention of nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy.

• Illumina Inc., of San Diego, announced the availability of its new DASL assay for generating reproducible gene-expression profiles from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples and other samples containing partially degraded RNA. The DASL assay enables researchers to measure RNA abundance of more than 500 genes in parallel per sample. The assay probes three unique sequences per target gene.

• Martek Biosciences Corp., of Columbia, Md., plans to conduct an underwritten offering of 1.5 million shares of common stock under an existing shelf registration statement. Martek expects to grant the underwriters an option to purchase up to 225,000 additional shares to cover overallotments. Citigroup will act as sole bookrunner, while Adams Harkness Inc. will act as co-lead manager, and Needham & Co. Inc., First Albany Capital and D.A. Davidson & Co. will act as co-managers. In addition to nutritional oils and supplements, Martek develops fluorescent markers for diagnostics, rapid miniaturized screening, and gene and protein detection.

• Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said that it completed the previously announced redemption of all of its 4.25 percent convertible senior notes due Aug. 15, 2010. The aggregate outstanding principal of the notes at the time the redemption was reported was about $147 million. Holders of all outstanding notes converted their notes shares of Medarex stock prior to the redemption date. As a result of those conversions, about 21.9 million shares of Medarex will be issued to holders of the notes. Medarex paid about $12.5 million in cash, which includes "make whole" payments and cash paid in lieu of fractional shares.

• Miraculins Inc., of Winnipeg, Manitoba, launched its breast cancer study program with the initiation of an agreement with Radiant Research, near Seattle. The study will apply Miraculins' BEST platform to clinical samples collected on behalf of the company by Radiant Research, a clinical research company. The study is designed to discover and validate protein and peptide biomarkers for improving the diagnosis of breast cancer. The company said that represents a new area of study for Miraculins and complements the company's focus on developing improved methods for the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

• Senetek plc, of Napa, Calif., offered a "merger of equals" deal to Buena, N.J.-based IGI Inc., in which each company receives 50 percent of the shares of a newly formed U.S. holding company that might be eligible for listing on a national stock exchange. The offer is conditional upon Senetek's satisfactory completion of its due diligence review and is in effect for 45 days. Senetek also said the companies will collaborate to evaluate IGI's patented Novasome and micellar nanoparticle technologies for the topical local delivery of Senetek's Invicorp erectile dysfunction therapy.

• Starpharma Holdings Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, established a Level 1 American depository receipts program, allowing investors to purchase Starpharma ADRs on the U.S. Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board. Each ADR will equal 10 ordinary shares of Starpharma, as traded on the Australian Stock Exchange.

• Xencor Inc., of Monrovia, Calif., formed a collaboration with Basel, Switzerland-based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. to use Xencor's XmAb technology on a Roche antibody against a proprietary cancer target. The goal is to create antibodies with enhanced potency. Xencor will receive technology access and license fees, and it is eligible to receive additional license fees, milestones and royalties.

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