• Altachem Pharma Ltd., of Edmonton, Alberta, completed enrollment of the first group of four patients in its Phase I trial of ACP-HIP for Kaposi's sarcoma. The study is designed to test the compound in three groups of four patients each at three different doses. The company said it would report data and give an interim report from the first group late next month.

• Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., of Hercules, Calif., sold its Hemel Hempstead, UK-based confocal microscopy business to Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH for an undisclosed amount. Carl Zeiss has a plan to bring together technological and application knowledge to provide support for modern biomedical research. Bio-Rad manufactures and distributes life science research products and clinical diagnostics.

• Bioxel Pharma Inc., of Sainte-Foy, Quebec, appointed Pascal Delmas CEO and executive vice president. He joined Bioxel, which manufactures taxane, from Ethypharm SA, of Paris, a drug delivery system developer, at which he held various positions.

• Bruker AXS, of Madison, Wis., entered a joint marketing agreement under which its Crystal Farm product will be available as an imager in the Rock Maker software product from Formulatrix Inc., of Waltham, Mass. Crystal Farm is an integrated incubation and imaging system for protein crystallization, while Rock Maker is a software solution that automates and tracks the protein crystallization process.

• Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc., of Richmond, Va., closed a $2.5 million private placement of 400,000 common shares at $6.25, as well as warrants to purchase an additional 100,000 shares. The warrants' exercise price was set at 110 percent of the closing price of the company's stock on the transaction's closing date. Jesup & Lamont Securities Corp. acted as exclusive placement agent. Commonwealth said it would use a portion of the funds to enhance its bio-defense capabilities by installing new biosafety level 3 virology and bacteriology production suites to service new contract work.

• MicroIslet Inc., of San Diego, said its common stock was approved for listing on the American Stock Exchange and is expected to begin trading today under the symbol "MII." The listing is contingent upon compliance with all applicable standards, said MicroIslet, which is developing transplantation therapy products for people with insulin-dependent diabetes.

• Neurogen Corp., of Branford, Conn., received an undisclosed payment after achieving a preclinical milestone in its research and development alliance with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. Focused on the discovery and development of next-generation drugs for pain, the alliance enables the partners to pool drug candidates targeting the vanilloid receptor, an integrator of pain signals in the nervous system, and combine their ongoing VR1 programs to form a global research and development collaboration.

• Opperbas Holding B.V., of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is conducting a Phase II trial of its PEGylated liposomes to prolong the half-life and hemostatic efficacy of recombinant factor VIII, a protein used to treat hemophilia A. The delivery technology showed encouraging results in a Phase I/II trial completed last year. Opperbas' technology has the potential of reducing the number of infusions to a third of what is currently used, while retaining clinical efficacy. It might lead to improved convenience for patients, enabling them to prevent painful and disabling bleeding episodes. The company plans to out-license the first indication to a pharmaceutical company and to further develop its technology in other indications.

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