• Acambis plc, of Cambridge, UK, will pay £12 million (US$20.4 million) to discharge all past and future rights, obligations and claims after settling with BTG International Ltd., of London, concerning payments due under an assignment consideration agreement. Signed in 1997, the agreement relates to a technology license agreement between Acambis and BTG originally established in 1994. The agreement provided for Acambis to pay 2 percent of its reported turnover to BTG potentially until 2024.

• Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said data reported Sunday at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) meeting in Orlando, Fla., showed that patients on Amevive (alefacept) experienced improvement in their disease. The three-month study, which evaluated the drug in combination with methotrexate, revealed that 67 percent of Amevive patients achieved an ACR index score of 20 at any time, in contrast to 17 percent on placebo. Among Amevive patients, 25 percent achieved an ACR 50 score and 8 percent hit ACR 70, compared to no placebo patients. Also, patients in the 3.75-mg Amevive group who reached ACR 20 maintained their improvement for three months after treatment.

• Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc., of Chadds Ford, Pa., said results from its pivotal Phase III trial of the investigational oral rinse EN3247 (0.1% triclosan) indicated that the product did not meet its primary endpoint of preventing oral mucositis. Primary clinical endpoints included the presence or absence of ulcerative mucositis as well as the duration of intraoral ulcers. Severity of erythematous mucositis, oral pain and difficulty in swallowing also were assessed. The 355-patient trial did not achieve statistical significance in the comparison of active treatment versus vehicle or standard of care. Endo's stock (NASDAQ:ENDP) fell 33 cents Friday to close at $15.27.

• Gene Logic Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., entered a multiyear business agreement to provide toxicology services to Aventis Inc., the U.S. pharmaceutical division of Aventis SA, of Lyon, France. More specifically, Aventis will subscribe to the Gene Logic ToxExpress System and use the company's toxicogenomics services to evaluate and prioritize leads based on toxic profiles and to better understand the mechanisms of toxicity. In the process, Aventis has become the first enterprise-wide user of Gene Logic's pre-formatted, summary gene expression data resource, the Ascenta System, for target discovery and prioritization. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• GenoMed Inc., of St. Louis, partnered with PhenoMed, of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to expand its medical therapeutics services into the Asia-Pacific region. The medical genomics company said PhenoMed provides a research base for conducting clinical trials against severe acute respiratory syndrome, and would aid in GenoMed's efforts to deliver its disease management services for hypertension, diabetes, and emphysema in that region. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said preclinical data published in the October issue of the Journal of Inflammation Research showed that Ceplene (histamine dihydrochloride) protected against alcohol-induced damage in a rodent liver model. Rodents were given ethanol (5 g/kg) once daily for four weeks, after which the animals receiving ethanol had elevated serum levels of alanine and aspartate transaminase, a common measure of liver function, and developed steatosis, inflammation and necrosis in the liver. A treatment group was co-administered Ceplene (0.5 or 5.0 mg/kg, twice daily) with ethanol. Results demonstrated that co-administration of Ceplene protected against liver injury, as evidenced by normalization of alanine and aspartate transaminase levels and significantly reduced liver pathology scores and scoring for inflammation. The product is in Phase III development for acute myeloid leukemia and melanoma.

• OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Melville, N.Y., began a Phase II study of OSI-7904L in patients with previously untreated advanced gastric cancer. The multicenter, open-label, non-randomized study, which is scheduled to enroll about 50 patients in Europe and the U.S., will evaluate the compound's efficacy and safety through administration at the Phase I recommended dose of 12 mg/m2 every 21 days. The study's primary endpoint is response rate. OSI-7904L, a new member of the thymidylate synthase (TS) inhibitor class, is a liposomal formulation of a TS inhibitor designed to improve activity by changing the pharmacokinetic profile when compared to its non-liposomal formulation, thereby maintaining active concentrations of drug in the tumor for extended periods of time.

• SeraCare Life Sciences Inc., of Oceanside, Calif., launched its SeraCare BioBank Rheumatoid Arthritis collection at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in Orlando, Fla. BioBank, a repository of blood and genetic samples and medical data, is designed to provide customers access to serum, plasma, DNA, RNA and synovial fluid with patient medical data culled from a population of more than 120,000 consenting individuals.

• Xenova Group plc, of Slough, UK, began a randomized, placebo-controlled, Phase IIb trial of TA-CD for cocaine addiction. Up to 132 methadone-dependent cocaine addicts will be recruited in the study, which is being supported by the U.S. National Institute for Drug Abuse in Baltimore. Subjects will be monitored three times a week to assess cocaine usage, including testing for cocaine metabolites in urine, for 20 weeks. Patients also will undergo medical examinations and blood tests for anti-cocaine antibodies to assess the dosing schedule's immunogenicity. Previous clinical trials have shown the compound to be safe and well tolerated, with vaccination generating a dose-related immune response, and preclinical studies have demonstrated that vaccination produces a reduced self-administered consumption of cocaine.

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