• Centocor Inc., of Malvern, Pa., and Schering-Plough Corp., of Kenilworth, N.J., said data reported at the European League Against Rheumatism annual congress showed that patients treated with Remicade (infliximab) and methotrexate had better bone erosion scores than those treated solely with methotrexate. Specifically, more than 55 percent of combination patients demonstrated improvement, compared with 26.8 percent for methotrexate alone in early rheumatoid arthritis patients with progressive disease and bone erosions. Centocor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J.

• Dendreon Corp., of Seattle, named Richard Brewer chairman following the retirement of Christopher Henney. Already a board member, Brewer formerly served as president and CEO of Scios Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif. Dendreon, which is developing targeted therapies for cancer, also said Timothy Harris resigned from its board.

• ECI Biotech Inc., of Worcester, Mass., received a $100,000 grant from the National Eye Institute, a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to study a Protector Protein-mediated technology to combat microbial keratitis. The company's technology is designed to inhibit proteolytic enzymes secreted by a host and pathogen. The first phase of the grant will involve in vitro biochemical analysis, eventually leading to in vivo animal model studies.

The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology said findings published in the June 11, 2004, issue of Cell detail its researchers' identification of a protein called NDUSF1, a component of the pathway leading to apoptosis. They found that caspase proteins kill a cell by going back into the mitochondria and destroying NDUSF1, which accelerates the destruction of the entire cell.

• MediciNova Inc., of San Diego, acquired a Phase II compound for anxiety disorders from Mitsubishi Pharma Corp., of Tokyo. Called MKC-242 by Mitsubishi, it will be added to MediciNova's portfolio as MN-305. MediciNova obtained exclusive worldwide rights to the 5-HT1A receptor agonist, except an ophthalmic solution to MN-305, excluding Japan, China and other Southeast Asian countries. The privately held company's other treatments include compounds for asthma, anxiety, cancer and premature labor. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Ortho Biotech, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., said data reported at the European Hematology Association meeting indicate hemoglobin increases achieved with Eprex/erypo (epoetin alfa) are associated with improved cognitive function in cancer patients with chemotherapy-related anemia. Specifically, preliminary data showed an 8 percent improvement in combined speed of memory scores (numeric, word recognition, picture recognition) as hemoglobin increased from 10.5 g/dl to around 12 g/dl at weeks 8-12, with improvements sustained for up to 24 weeks.

• ProtoKinetix Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it received a monoclonal antibody from BioCurex Inc., of Richmond, British Columbia. It will be used for future research in an effort to develop a cancer therapy in collaboration with Perigene Inc., of Compeigne, France.