• 7TM Pharma A/S, of H rsholm, Denmark, entered a collaboration with Synaptic Pharmaceutical Corp., a unit of H. Lundbeck A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark. Terms were not disclosed, but during its initial phase, the agreement will operate as a research collaboration. 7TM Pharma will apply its Site-Directed Drug Discovery approach to finding chemical leads to an undisclosed number of CNS-related 7TM receptors supplied by Synaptic. 7TM will establish drug discovery projects on the CNS targets. Synaptic has options on exclusive rights to any CNS-related drug candidates emerging from the collaboration, in return for up-front payments, milestones and royalties. Should Synaptic opt not to move on a particular project, 7TM Pharma would retain rights. 7TM also has rights to develop any non-CNS applications might emerge, while Synaptic would receive royalties on resulting product sales.

• Acambis plc, of Cambridge, UK, said pre-tax profits for the year ended Dec. 31 would be £12 million (US$21.9 million) lower than previous guidance as a result of a shipping delay of its ACAM2000 investigational smallpox vaccine for emergency use by the U.S. government. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta delayed its order because of a heightened security alert, rescheduling delivery for early next month. Consequently, pre-tax profits for this year are expected to be £12 million higher than previous guidance.

• AERES Biomedical Ltd., of London, said it was awarded a contract by the U.S. National Cancer Institute to design, construct and express a humanized antibody against CD-22, for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

• AstraZeneca plc, of London, awarded a research milestone to Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., in its collaboration in which scientists identified lead compounds from Pharmacopeia's compound collection active against a gastrointestinal receptor target. The milestone was triggered by AstraZeneca's acceptance of the compounds identified from the collaboration. Pharmacopeia received an undisclosed payment for reaching the milestone.

• Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc, of Cambridge, UK, and Lonza Group Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, reported the extension of their November 2001 agreement, confirming that Lonza Biologics will manufacture and supply clinical-grade antibody drugs to CAT through the end of 2006. The agreement will guarantee that CAT and its collaborators have access to Lonza's manufacturing capability at production scale for both ongoing programs and future projects.

• Cobra Biomanufacturing plc, of Keele, UK, was awarded a U.S. patent covering its ORT-VAC system for the production of live, oral, genetically engineered vaccines. The ORT-VAC technology makes it possible to create stable, engineered strains of microorganisms without the use of antibiotics or antibiotic-resistant genes, Cobra said.

• Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, granted an exclusive license to Pfizer Inc., of New York, to develop and commercialize Crucell's West Nile virus veterinary vaccine for use in horses. Pfizer will pay Crucell an up-front license fee, milestones, annual fees and a royalty on sales of the vaccine. Further financial details were not disclosed. Also, Crucell signed a nonexclusive PER.C6 technology research and commercialization license agreement with Biogen Idec Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., for the production of recombinant proteins to be used in in-house antibody discovery programs. Crucell will receive up-front and annual payments, as well as royalties on net sales of products discovered using the PER.C6 technology. Further financial details were not disclosed.

• CSL Ltd., of Australia, and Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., formed a collaboration to develop a therapeutic hepatitis C vaccine. Chiron will provide its hepatitis C virus antigens, and CSL will contribute its Iscomatrix adjuvant technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Direvo Biotech AG, of Cologne, Germany, will receive a €3.9 million grant from the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia to fund a pharmaceutical development project over four years. The aim of the project, in which Direvo is generating therapeutic proteins in a specific disease area, is to promote innovation with high technological and economic potential. The company also entered an enzyme-optimization collaboration with an undisclosed partner. Direvo will receive research and development funding, milestone payments and potential royalties in exchange for using its technologies to improve an enzyme in the area of food and feed.

• D-Pharm Ltd., of Rehovot, Israel, reacquired full rights to DP-VPA from Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Andover, UK. The new chemical entity, a phospholipid derivative of the generic drug Valproic acid, significantly reduced the number of seizures in a Phase II study in patients with complex partial epilepsy. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• DSM Pharma Chemicals, of Sittard, the Netherlands, entered a collaboration with Diversa Corp., of San Diego, to discover and develop biocatalytic solutions designed to simplify a variety of chemical transformations. DPC will identify targeted chemical conversions, and Diversa will work to develop appropriate biocatalysts. DPC then will scale-up those processes to manufacture pharmaceutical intermediates and active ingredients. Diversa will receive research and development payments and be entitled to milestones and royalties on products commercialized by DPC.

• Evotec OAI AG, of Hamburg, Germany, formed a medicinal chemistry partnership with Rib-X Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn. Evotec will use its integrated medicinal chemistry and parallel synthesis platform to facilitate Rib-X's efforts to identify antibiotics for clinical development. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Fresenius Biotech GmbH, a division of Fresenius AG, of Bad Homburg, Germany, entered an agreement with Xcyte Therapies Inc., of Seattle, to transfer the latter's Xcellerate technology for a T-cell-based gene therapy program for treating HIV infection. The agreement grants Fresenius an exclusive license to the technology in Europe for treating HIV/AIDS with gene-modified T cells, and provides Xcyte with milestone and royalty payments. The technology was designed for the activation, expansion and production of human T cells outside the body.

• Genedata AG, of Basel, Switzerland, and Schering AG, of Berlin, expanded their four-year collaboration. Schering extended the license for Expressionist, the Genedata computational system for large-scale gene-expression analysis in the pharmaceutical industry. Genedata will provide consulting services to Schering. Financial details were not disclosed.

• GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, of Rixensart, Belgium, and Corixa Corp., of Seattle, received FDA approval of an investigational new drug application and plan to initiate a Phase I study to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a prophylactic vaccine for tuberculosis. The trial will be conducted in the U.S.

• GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said it has received about $1.5 million in milestone payments triggered by progress in its five-year alliance with the Altana Research Institute, a division of Altana Pharma AG, of Bad Homburg, Germany. The achievements included two implementation milestones, the validation of transferred technologies and related automation, as well as research milestones under the drug discovery collaborations that are part of the agreement with the institute. The research milestones included the successful performance of LeadCode screens on several compounds of interest, the completion of a pathway-mapping screen and the generation of a specialized clone library for use in the collaborations.

• Gradipore Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, completed the purchase of the therapeutic plasma business of Serologicals Corp., of Atlanta, with the effective date of sale Dec. 28. Serologicals said the sale of that business marks a major milestone in the transformation of Serologicals to an innovation-based company providing products in support of the life sciences.

• Jerini AG, of Berlin, reported positive results from its POC Phase II study to evaluate its lead compound, Icatibant, for the treatment of acute attacks of hereditary angioedema. Symptoms resolved rapidly in all eight patients, and the treatment response was sustained over the observation period. The company said such data confirm that Icatibant can be of benefit in acute attacks of hereditary angioedema. Icatibant is a bradykinin receptor antagonist that, in contrast to other agents, acts directly on the effects of bradykinin causing rapid symptom relief.

• Kemin Pharma, of Herentals, Belgium, said it identified two molecules that appear to have good biological effects against hepatitis C virus. The first molecule, KPE02003002, is being tested in Phase II trials and was discovered in October 2002 through a collaborative effort with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Leuven, Belgium. The second molecule, KPE00001113, was discovered last year as part of the same collaborative, in vitro, in an antiviral screening program.

• Kyorin Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, and ActivX Biosciences Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., entered a collaboration to develop protein activity profiles for certain Kyorin compounds. ActivX agreed to use its technology to analyze specific protein activities in order to understand the biological activity of Kyorin's compounds and their potential to treat metabolic diseases. The companies first collaborated in May 2002 to identify and optimize drug candidates for Type II diabetes. Under the continuing collaboration, ActivX will be responsible for assay development, screening, profiling and selectivity analysis of hit and lead compounds. Kyorin will be responsible for medicinal chemistry and animal pharmacology, as well as clinical development.

• LGC Ltd., of Teddington, UK, and Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, entered a collaboration to develop and validate a genetic marker panel for paternity and forensic identification. Successful results will enable LGC to use the validated panel of single nucleotide polymorphism assays on Sequenom's MassArray platform to provide paternity and forensic testing services. LGC provides analytical and diagnostic services.

• MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, named Tokyo-based Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. as its pan-European marketing partner for the Eligard prostate cancer products licensed from Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo. Eligard received marketing authorization in Germany earlier this month for advanced prostate cancer.

• MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, and Bayer Healthcare AG, a unit of Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, agreed to cross-license certain technology. MorphoSys will receive the human cell line HKB11 for production of HuCAL antibodies and for its own research, as well as an option for the commercial production of antibodies using the HKB11 cell line. Bayer will switch its in-house research and development programs to the MorphoSys HuCAL GOLD antibody technology and will pay an installation fee to MorphoSys, which also will receive annual license payments and possibly milestone payments and royalties.

• MWG Biotech AG, of Ebersberg, Germany, said a hydrogel electrophoresis purification process expands its synthetic nucleic acid portfolio. Highest purity oligonucleotides produced in the process open to customers a range of genomic applications, such as cloning and gene building, crystallography and mutagenesis and other applications requiring long- and short-mer oligonucleotides, the company said. The technology is designed to enable removal of all synthesis-failure products, n-x products and other impurities to achieve purity degrees of typically 99 percent.

• Nadag AG, of Munich, Germany, agreed to merge with SiREEN AG, also of Munich, to form Sirenade Pharmaceuticals AG, a company with clinical and preclinical projects in central nervous system diseases and oncology. Following the merger, the company will begin a financing round to raise about €20 million in additional investments for the combined entity.

• Nippon Chemiphar Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, and Esperion Therapeutics Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., entered a license agreement to develop small molecules based on peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor delta agonists. Esperion will have access to a range of PPAR delta agonists, which have been shown to elevate levels of HDL. Nippon Chemiphar will retain commercialization rights in Asia for any new products, while Esperion will have rights in the U.S., Europe and other markets outside Asia.

The North West Development Agency, of Warrington, UK, is investing £1.5 million (US$2.6 million) in the formation of the North West Institute for Bio/Health Informatics, to provide a training and research facility for companies in the region. The institute is the first of its kind in the UK and has a total investment of £2.7 million, including funding and management support from AstraZeneca plc, of London. It will be based at Manchester University.

• Onyvax Ltd., of London, is teaming up with the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minn., for the development of an ovarian cancer vaccine. They expect to commence Phase II trials within 24 months. Onyvax specializes in the development of cell vaccines containing stable cell lines representing different stages of the growth of a cancer. The aim is to stimulate an immune response against a broad range of cancer-associated antigens.

• Oxford BioMedica, of Oxford, UK, said the UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee cleared a Phase II study of its cancer gene therapy product, TroVax, in 20 colorectal cancer patients who are about to have surgery for resectable liver metastases. The trial, to be conducted by Cancer Research UK, is the third Phase II TroVax study to receive approval.

• Oxxon Pharmaccines Ltd., of Oxford, UK, was granted a U.S. patent on the generic use of its platform technology Heterologous PrimeBoost. The patent covers Oxxon's technology for the generation of a CD8+ T-cell immune response using any immune prime, followed by a disabled pox virus booster, where the prime and the booster differ, but both encode for the same disease-related antigen. Oxxon has a melanoma and hepatitis B product in Phase II trials.

• PPL Therapeutics plc, of Edinburgh, UK, raised £192,000 in a second public auction of laboratory equipment from its research facility, as it continues with the winding down of the company. Earlier this month the Edinburgh headquarters was sold, along with the rights to the cloning technology that was used to create Dolly the sheep.

• Protherics plc, of Runcorn, UK, shares rose by 4.75 pence to 59 pence last week when Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., announced that it has applied for a U.S. license to distribute a bovine spongiform encephalopathy diagnostic test based on Protherics' technology. The post-mortem test allows carcasses to be tested for the disease at the abattoir before being released into the food chain, and is approved for use in the European Union.

• RecomGenex Ltd., of Budapest, Hungary, entered a research collaboration with AstraZeneca plc, of London, to produce functional nuclear receptors to be used for research purposes. Applying their RefoldAll protein renaturation technology to inclusion bodies provided by AstraZeneca, RecomGenex will determine optimal conditions needed to properly fold the complex proteins so they demonstrate full functionality. Resulting proteins will be owned exclusively by AstraZeneca.

• Ribopharma AG, of Kulmbach, Germany, an affiliate of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., granted three nonexclusive licenses to its RNA interference (RNAi) technology in a trio of deals that permit the use of short double-stranded RNAs to mediate RNAi. Invitrogen Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., gained a nonexclusive license to provide research products and services under that particular RNAi patent family, which includes European Patent No. 1 144 623. Financial terms were not disclosed. Cell Signaling Technology Inc., of Beverly, Mass., also gained a nonexclusive license to the use of such technology in exchange for payment to Alnylam of an initial and annual license fees, as well as royalties on the sales of licensed products. Cenix BioScience GmbH, of Dresden, Germany, received a nonexclusive license to market research services under the patent in exchange for payment of annual fees and royalties.

• Shimadzu Corp., of Kyoto, Japan, reported a worldwide OEM distribution agreement with Nonlinear Dynamics Ltd., a provider of bioinformatics software solutions. Shimadzu will distribute a dual-branded version, Shimadzu Phoretix, of a selection of Nonlinear's software solutions. The products are for the analysis and data mining of 2D and 1D electrophoresis gels used in proteomics and genomics research. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, of Andover, UK, and AnorMED Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, expanded the terms of their licensing agreement, granting Shire exclusive rights to develop, manufacture, use and sell Fosrenol (lanthanum carbonate) worldwide for all potential human indications and veterinary uses. AnorMED will receive an up-front payment of about $180,000, followed by a royalty on sales and a percentage of net income received by Shire from any veterinary sub-licensees. Shire will begin a clinical study of the product, based on its ability to bind oxalate, as a treatment for kidney stones.

• Sienabiotech SpA, of Siena, Italy, entered an agreement to implement the ActivityBase suite of technology from IDBS, of Guildford, UK. Sienabiotech, a research-based drug discovery company focused on central nervous system disorders, will use the product in lead discovery to capture, manage and integrate biological, chemical and inventory data.

• SkyePharma plc, of London, entered an agreement with Critical Therapeutics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., to develop a controlled-release formulation of the oral asthma drug zileuton for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a drug the company would market in the U.S. with its own specialist sales force. A four-times-a-day, immediate-release version was marketed as Zyflo Filmtab (zileuton tablets) by Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill. SkyePharma developed a controlled-release formulation of zileuton, using its Geomatrix technology. Abbott completed Phase III development in asthma with the product.

• Syngenta AG, of Basel, Switzerland, paid Diversa Corp., of San Diego, milestone payments of $1.7 million under its agreements for achievements attained in 2003. In the past year, Diversa delivered product candidates for feed- and food-processing applications to Zymetrics, its joint venture with Syngenta, triggering development milestone payments. Additionally, Zymetrics' Quantum Phytase animal-feed enzyme received regulatory approval in Mexico.

• Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s, of Jerusalem, proposed merger with Sicor Inc., of Irvine, Calif., was approved by Sicor stockholders. Sicor would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Teva. The merger is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year.

• UK government scientific advisers gave a thumbs-up to planting genetically modified maize in the UK, following analysis of the results of field-scale trials published in October. However, the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) said the other two crops in the field-scale trials, herbicide-tolerant GM beet and oilseed rape, should not be grown because they would reduce weed populations with subsequent effects on higher organisms, including birds. ACRE's advice will now be passed to ministers who will make the final decision.

• Wilex AG, of Munich, Germany, began a Phase Ib trial of WX-UK1 in head and neck cancer patients. The study is designed to assess the safety, tolerability and biological activity of the drug candidate, a non-cytotoxic, small-molecule inhibitor of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator system. Patients will be treated at escalating doses in order to determine the maximum tolerated dose, which when determined will be administered to 18 patients for four weeks. In addition, concentrations of WX-UK1 in tumor tissue will be assessed.