• Aptamera Inc., of Louisville, Ky., entered an agreement for Assay Designs Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., to market the former's OncoMarker IHC kit, an immunohistochemical assay designed to identify tumor cells by detecting the presence of a specific protein on the cell surface. Assay Designs plans to bring the product to market by the middle of this year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Berlex Laboratories Inc., of Montville, N.J., the U.S. subsidiary of Schering AG, of Berlin, named Reinhard Franzen president and CEO. He had worked as Berlex's chief operating officer since Jan. 1, prior to which he was the vice president and general manager of the company's women's health business.

• Ciro International Inc., of New York, entered an agreement in principle for a reverse merger with privately held Advanced Bio/Chem Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas. Upon completion of the transaction, Advanced Bio's stockholders would own about 60 percent of stock in Ciro, which would change its name to Advanced Bio/Chem and reverse-split its shares in a 1-to-3.5 ratio. Advanced Bio's current management would assume responsibility for the company's strategy and operations, while Ciro's officers and directors would resign. Advanced Bio also said it expects to complete a private placement worth $400,000 to $800,000 prior to the reverse merger.

• CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown, Pa., said the AIDS Malignancy Consortium completed enrollment in a Phase II study evaluating the efficacy of the Metastat, an orally active angiogenesis inhibitor for HIV-related Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., pursuant to a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, the multicenter, open-label study enrolled 75 patients who received one of two doses of Metastat for six months. Results of the study, designed to evaluate tumor response rate, response duration and Metastat's biologic activity by measuring serum levels of pro-angiogenic mediators, are expected in about eight months.

• CompleGen Inc., of Seattle, delivered targeted cell-based assays for high-throughput compound screening to DuPont Crop Protection, of Wilmington, Del. It will use the assays, based on CompleGen's XenoGene technology, to discover compounds active on agricultural pathogens. They are the first in a series of such screening tools being supplied by CompleGen under an agreement signed last year that grants DuPont exclusive rights to the assays for agricultural applications, and to CompleGen for human therapeutic applications. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.

• Cytovax Biotechnologies Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, completed a Phase I trial of its lead product, Cytovaxine, a peptide vaccine for the prevention of infection caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Data are expected in the third quarter from the randomized, double-blinded study designed primarily to investigate the safety of Cytovaxine in 35 normal, healthy subjects. In addition to safety data, the trial is expected to yield immunogenicity findings, comparing the relative ability of the escalating doses of Cytovaxine to generate antibodies against the P. aeruginosa consensus sequence pilin peptide in normal individuals.

• DiaDexus Inc., of South San Francisco, entered an agreement to provide analyte-specific reagents to Mayo Medical Laboratories, the international reference laboratory for Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Mayo will use the reagents to develop a test for the quantitative measurement of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) in blood. Last year, privately held DiaDexus and Mayo entered a partnership to investigate potential clinical applications of an Lp-PLA2 test. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Flamel Technologies SA, of Lyon, France, entered an agreement to license its controlled-release Micropump technology to GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, which plans to develop a new formulation for an undisclosed existing product. Flamel will receive an up-front payment of $2 million and additional milestone payments upon achievement of certain events, as well as royalties on product sales - payments both parties estimated could range up to $45 million by the end of the first year following launch, of which $25 million is attributable to the product reaching certain milestones. Flamel also may participate in product manufacturing. More specific financial terms were not disclosed.

• FRIZ Biochem GmbH, of Munich, Germany, closed the first tranche of a Series B financing worth €3 million, funding the microarray developer plans to establish pilot production capabilities and validate the first microarray assays in the field of food pathogens and clinical diagnosis. Existing shareholder Global Life Science Ventures led the round, which also included DRF Beteiligungsgesellschaft. FRIZ said it expects additional financing, including soft loans, from a second closing.

• Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., completed its $88 million acquisition of 3-Dimensional Pharmaceutical Inc., of Yardley, Pa. Under the terms of the transaction, first announced in January, 3-Dimensional shareholders will receive $5.74 for each outstanding share. It will operate as part of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development LLC.

• Morphochem AG, of Munich, Germany, entered an agreement to speed animal testing of its lead drug candidates with MCS Micro Carrier Systems GmbH, of Neuss, Germany. MCS will formulate new chemical compounds using what the companies described as pharmaceutically relevant and acceptable components in the delivery systems design. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Orchid BioSciences Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said Nasdaq extended the listing of its common stock through June 24, an additional 90-day period during which Orchid plans to possibly reverse-split its stock to regain compliance with the $1 minimum bid price requirement. Orchid is seeking stockholder approval of the proposed reverse stock split at an April 15 meeting.

The Society of Interventional Radiology reported on early data at its ongoing annual meeting in Salt Lake City showing that the transplantation of healthy, insulin-producing islet cells by infusion into the liver's portal vein enables uncontrolled Type I diabetes patients to become free of insulin. Findings show that the islet cells are rapidly engrafted into the liver and secrete insulin almost immediately, and that the interventional radiology delivery technique provides safe access to the organ.

• ViroLogic Inc., of South San Francisco, entered a collaborative agreement to develop vaccines against HIV/AIDS with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in New York. ViroLogic's PhenoSense HIV antibody neutralization assay will be used in IAVI-sponsored preclinical and clinical research studies evaluating HIV vaccine candidates. The agreement covers testing of any vaccine candidates that IAVI brings to ViroLogic from its biopharmaceutical, academic and private research institution and government research collaborators. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Zengen Inc., of Woodland Hills, Calif., said its discoveries that supplementation with alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone may be beneficial in patients with brain injury were published in the March 27, 2003, issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma. Zengen scientists measured the levels of alpha-MSH in patients with acute TBI or subarachnoid hemorrhage. They discovered that blood concentrations of the alpha-MSH peptide are markedly reduced and remain steadily low during the first days after injury.

• Zonagen Inc., of The Woodlands, Texas, said it terminated its merger agreement with Lavipharm Corp., of East Windsor, N.J. Nasdaq informed Zonagen that the merger would be deemed a reverse merger, meaning Zonagen would have been required to apply for initial listing on one of the Nasdaq markets upon completion of the merger. But if it had not met the initial listing requirements for inclusion on The Nasdaq National Market, it would have been delisted at that time. The merger agreement provided that either company could call off the deal if it had not been completed by Feb. 28. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 1, 2002.)