• AdnaGen AG, of Hanover, Germany, licensed its technology for detecting circulating tumor cells to Gen-Probe Inc., of San Diego. AdnaGen's techniques involve isolating cancerous cells from healthy cells with monoclonal antibodies linked to magnetic particles. Then the RNA from captured cells is amplified to identify genes that are markers for specific cancers. The license grants Gen-Probe exclusive access to the technology for tests for prostate and bladder cancers. AdnaGen will receive $1 million in an initial license fee, with $750,000 potentially to follow. Three milestone payments adding up to $2.25 million are provided for in the deal, as are royalties on products that use the technology.

• Faustus Forschung Translational Drug Development AG, of Vienna, Austria, and Bioaccelerate Inc., of London, will jointly develop several new cancer drugs. Bioaccelerate will fund the development of eight projects from Faustus' portfolio in return for shares of future revenues. The Austrian company will be responsible for preclinical development. The companies declined to specify the size of the payments involved, although they did say that Bioaccelerate's support would amount to "several" million euros.

• The German Ministry of Education and Research awarded about €30 million (US$40 million) to 60 research projects in biotechnology companies. The BioChancePLUS program aims to support research-intensive projects in young biotech firms and covers a spectrum of topics from diagnostics to industrial processes. The program was begun in 2004 and will run through 2006. Over that span, the government expects to award about €100 million.

• Medivir AB, of Huddinge, Sweden, said it will continue development of the HIV compound MIV-210, though London-based GlaxoSmithKline plc terminated their research agreement. Medivir plans to initiate a Phase IIa study in HIV drug-experienced patients in 2005 to determine MIV-210's effectiveness. The cost of the trial is estimated at less than $1 million, it said.

• Micromet AG, of Munich, Germany, licensed some of the patents in single-chain antibodies it holds jointly with Enzon Pharmaceuticals Inc. to EvoGenix Pty. Ltd., of Sydney, Australia. EvoGenix will use single-chain antibodies together with its proprietary technology to create and optimize antibodies for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The license provides for an up-front payment, annual maintenance fees and sub-licensing fees. The money will be shared by Micromet and Enzon.

• Mologen AG, of Berlin, reduced its board from three people to two. Guido Sandler, who had been a member since the beginning 2002, left at the end of his term on Dec. 31. This year the company plans to add a chief operating officer who also will be a board member. The remaining members are Burghardt Wittig, one of the company's co-founders, and Matthias Reichel.

• Pharming Group NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, said it will acquire ProBio International Holdings Pte. Ltd., of Melbourne, Australia, to expand Pharming's commercial opportunities with recombinant human lactoferrin and to enhance its protein product technology platform. Pharming already owns about 45 percent of ProBio's shares, but it will gain control of the intellectual property portfolio through the acquisition. It also will gain rights to the non-pharmaceutical applications of recombinant human lactoferrin, and it will benefit from ProBio's relationships with pan-Asian entities. The total consideration for the acquisition will be paid in shares and accounts for about 1.5 percent of the company's capitalization. Detailed terms were not disclosed.

• Synt:em SA, of Nimes, France, and Sonus Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bothell, Wash., revised the terms for a proposed acquisition of Synt:em originally announced in November. Under the new agreement, Sonus will issue a maximum of 5.4 million shares, instead of 7.6 million to 8.9 million shares, to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Synt:em. The new terms state that Sonus' shares at closing will have a value of about $12 million, and additional shares will be issued at certain milestones met by Synt:em's product candidates entering Phase II trials, instead of Phase I trials. Synt:em shareholders would own 20 percent, as opposed to 25 percent to 29 percent, of the combined entity if the milestone payments are earned. The new agreement also includes a mechanism to reallocate a portion of the Sonus shares issued at the closing to the contingent milestone pool if Sonus reaches an agreement with the FDA on Phase III testing or if it enters a partnership for Tocosol Paclitaxel, a cancer product. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter. The terms were amended following an end-of-Phase II meeting with the FDA regarding Tocosol Paclitaxel.

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