• Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., released the second application in its line of proteomics products that removes high-abundance proteins from blood serum. The Multiple Affinity Removal Column removes the three most highly abundant proteins specific to mouse serum, Agilent said, unmasking previously undetectable proteins that could be biological markers of drug toxicity or disease.

• Amarin Corp. plc, of London, signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Laxdale Ltd., of Stirling, Scotland. The neuroscience development company's pipeline includes programs in Huntington's disease, treatment-unresponsive depression and other neurological disorders. Amarin previously licensed U.S. rights to Laxdale's Miraxion (formerly LAX-101) for Huntington's disease in November 2000. The purchase price includes an initial payment of 3.5 million Amarin American depository shares, worth about $3.3 million. Other success-related milestones could include a stock or cash payment of GBP7.5 million (US$14 million) on Miraxion's approval for Huntington's disease in the U.S. and Europe, for each approval, and a stock or cash payment of GBP5 million for each of the first two approvals for any other indication or product using Laxdale intellectual property. The transaction remains contingent on Amarin shareholder approval, completion by Amarin of a $15 million financing and other customary conditions. Amarin agreed to loan Laxdale up to GBP950,000, a facility secured by a floating charge against Laxdale's assets. On Monday, Amarin's stock (NASDAQ:AMRN) gained 19 cents, or 24.4 percent, to close at 97 cents.

• Antex Biologics Inc., a sister company to BioPort Corp., of Lansing, Mich., received a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., in connection with its Helicobacter pylori vaccine candidate. The grant will be distributed over three years to support the development of a dry formulation of the vaccine, including clinical manufacturing of the vaccine's active ingredient and a new recombinant vaccine adjuvant.

• Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., said its licensee, Sanofi-Synthelabo Canada, received formulary approval in Quebec and Ontario. Eligard 7.5 mg and 22.5 mg received a notice of compliance in November, and Eligard 30 mg followed in March. The formulary approval process takes place on a province-by-province basis broadening the reimbursement of the product. Eligard is designed for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

• Biomira Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, and Phenomenome Discoveries Inc., of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, signed a deal in which Phenomenome will perform DISCOVAmetrics comprehensive metabolome analysis to discover markers for efficacy of cancer treatments. Metabolomics analyzes small molecules, or metabolites, in biological samples. Biomira believes metabolomics could allow it to screen patients for a marker indicating they would respond to a particular therapy.

• Celera Genomics Group, of Rockville, Md., and Celera Diagnostics, its joint venture with Applied Biosystems Group, of Foster City, Calif., entered a joint research collaboration with General Electric Co., of Niskayuna, N.Y., for personalized and targeted medicine products. The first project is intended to support GE's development of new imaging agents for cancer that selectively target cell-surface proteins identified by Celera Genomics to be associated with cancer. The same cell-surface proteins also are the basis for complementary drug discovery programs undertaken by Celera Genomics and other partners. Under the latest agreement, GE will have exclusive access to selected protein targets for research and development of medical imaging agents. The parties will share certain responsibilities and costs associated with research and development, as well as value from resulting commercial products. A second project, related to bioinformatics, supports the development of new algorithms and tools to advance the partners' diagnostic and/or therapeutic programs.

• Cell Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, received fast-track designation from the FDA for pixantrone to treat aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Phase I/II data of pixantrone have shown a complete remission rate ranging from 20 percent as a single agent to 59 percent in a variant of the standard front-line CHOP combination therapy, in which pixantrone replaces doxorubicin.

• EPIX Medical Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., began a Phase IIa trial of MS-325 for imaging coronary arteries and myocardial perfusion. The multicenter study's goal is to assess the feasibility of using MS-325-enhanced MRA for coronary angiography and cardiac perfusion imaging. The magnetic resonance imaging blood-pool contrast agent is being co-developed by EPIX and Schering AG, of Berlin. A new drug application for MS-325 vascular imaging was accepted for filing by the FDA in February, and a separate filing was accepted last month by European regulatory authorities.

• Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., entered inventory management agreements with three wholesalers that distribute more than 90 percent of its products in the U.S. to limit speculative buying and help ensure that wholesaler purchasing is consistent with customer demand. It signed deals with AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp., of Chesterbrook, Pa.; Cardinal Health Inc., of Dublin, Ohio; and McKesson Corp., of San Francisco. Gilead agreed to pay them a fee in exchange for product distribution and inventory management services, market research information, return goods processing assistance and counterfeit product-detection services. Each wholesaler agreed not to exceed specified maximum levels of inventory.

• GlycoGenesys Inc., of Boston, entered definitive agreements to raise gross proceeds of $5 million in exchange for 10 million common shares at 50 cents apiece and warrants to purchase 8 million shares at $1 each. The company, which focuses on carbohydrate drug development, said it would use proceeds to fund its ongoing Phase I trial of GCS-100LE, begin a planned Phase I/II trial in multiple myeloma, increase staffing levels, as well as working capital for general corporate purposes.

• Hemosol Corp., of Toronto, said a report from the auditors of its predecessor, Hemosol Inc., contained a going concern qualification. But the company noted that an agreement with MDS Inc., which provided a $16 million infusion into Hemosol Corp.'s blood product business, would enable it to continue its initiatives.

• Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, of Boca Raton, Fla., began construction of a bulk vaccine manufacturing facility within its biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Boca Raton. The site's production capacity initially will be used to support the commercialization of StaphVAX (Staphylococcus aureus polysaccharide conjugate vaccine), the company's lead product candidate initially targeted to prevent staph infections in end-stage renal disease patients. The facility is designed for the manufacture of StaphVAX and NicVAX (nicotine conjugate vaccine), the company's vaccine being developed to prevent and treat nicotine addiction, as well as its next generation of Gram-positive pipeline vaccine products.

• Nuvelo Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., decided to close its Phase II trial of alfimeprase in patients with occluded central venous catheters sooner than expected in order to accelerate the program. The trial concluded with 56 patients dosed, the company said, adding that a data safety and monitoring board analysis suggested that there were no safety concerns in any of the dose groups and that two of the groups demonstrated efficacy that merits further study. Nuvelo believes the data are suffcient to guide continuing development efforts.

• Pain Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, received a $100,000 innovation research grant from the National Institutes of Health for research and development efforts in the area of neuropathic pain. Pain Therapeutics' principal investigator, Lindsay Burns, will work with academic collaborators from the University of Arizona and the City University of New York. Preclinical data announced in May showed that rats receiving morphine/ultra-low-dose naltrexone combinations had significant anti-hyperalgesia, compared to morphine alone or placebo for the entire week of testing.

• PamGene International BV, of s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, licensed its 3-D Flow-Through Microarray Platform to Nottingham University in England. The license, which includes the sale of a PamGene 4-array PamStation, will enable the university to develop Multiplex Amplifiable Probe Hybridization (MAPH) as a service on the PamGene platform. MAPH is designed to determine copy number changes in genomic DNA.

• Penn Biotech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, is receiving commercialization support from the National Research Council of Canada, a government science and technology organization. The seed potato-production company will apply the funding to growing its operations in Asia.

• Samaritan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Las Vegas, and Samaritan Research Labs, Georgetown University, received a $188,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health's Small Business Technology Transfer Research program to develop a blood test to predict Alzheimer's disease. The grant will support the research collaboration between Samaritan and Georgetown University.

• Schwarz Pharma AG, of Monheim, Germany, said findings from a multinational Phase IIb trial of rotigotine for restless legs syndrome produced a statistically significant and clinically relevant reduction of symptoms. The company, which licensed the dopamine agonist from Aderis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Hopkinton, Mass., is preparing to begin Phase III testing next spring. Schwarz also plans to submit marketing approval applications for rotigotine for the treatment of Parkinson's disease this quarter.

• Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, helped develop a process to determine genetic mutations in circulating fetal nucleic acids in maternal plasma through a collaboration with an international consortium led by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Boston University. Details of the process are published in the online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Investigators used MassArray technology to detect the inheritance of the four most common Southeast Asian beta-thalassemia mutations in at-risk pregnancies between seven and 21 weeks of gestation to analyze fetal haplotypes based on a genetic variation linked to the beta-globin locus HBB. The platform also might be useful in a prenatal diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, the company said.

• Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said the FDA granted fast-track designation to Spheramine for advanced Parkinson's disease. The cell therapy product, which consists of normal, human retinal pigment epithelial cells adhered to spherical microscopic carriers, is in a Phase IIb study. The company said a previously completed open-label, six-patient pilot study demonstrated substantial improvement in motor function following treatment with Spheramine. On Monday, Titan's stock (AMEX:TTP) gained 31 cents, or 13.5 percent, to close at $2.60.

• Vasogen Inc., of Toronto, said preclinical data reported at the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies Forum in Lisbon, Portugal, demonstrated the ability of VP025 to reverse a key measure of memory and learning impairment associated with aging. The results showed that the product, the company's lead candidate for neuroinflammatory disease, reverses the impairment in long-term potentiation in aged animals and significantly reduces concentrations of IL-1 beta and activated JNK in the hippocampus. Such benefits also were associated with a significant increase in the cell survival factor, phosphorylated extracellular regulated kinase.

• VizX Labs LLC, of Seattle, released its GeneSifter Core Edition microarray analysis system for microarray core facilities. The company said the product builds on its existing GeneSifter system, now renamed GeneSifter Lab Edition, by adding administrative tools that allow core facilities to provide and manage GeneSifter accounts for clients.

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