• AEterna Laboratories Inc., of Quebec City, Quebec, said its wholly owned subsidiary, Zentaris AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, entered an exclusive agreement with German Remedies Ltd., a unit of the Zydus Cadila Group, of Ahmedabad, India, to market Impavido (miltefosine) in India and Bangladesh - two countries suffering from the deadly visceral leishmaniasis, or black fever. German Remedies will market the product in the private sectors of India and eventually distribute the product in Bangladesh upon registration. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Analytical Systems Inc., of Durham, N.C., named Steve McPhail CEO. McPhail has 22 years of experience in the diagnostic, biotechnology and medical device markets. Analytical Systems is a microarray genetics testing and analysis organization.

• Antex Biologics Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., filed with the SEC an application for withdrawal of its registration statement for a proposed public offering of common stock and warrants. Roan/Meyers & Associates LLP, the proposed managing underwriter for the offering, told the company that it could not complete the offering within the time frame the company had anticipated. The company said its existing cash position is insufficient to support its operations, so it is continuing to examine a range of possible funding sources.

• Biophage Pharma Inc., of Montreal, received from Defence R&D Canada a C$500,000 (US$335,000) award to develop phage therapy for the treatment of anthrax and brucella infections in herds. The two-year co-development program, to be conducted with Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, is designed to collect contaminated samples and isolate lytic phages that can kill Bacillus anthracis and Brucella spp. in the lab, purify and characterize the best candidates and run efficacy studies in a mouse model system. Biophage said the program could lead to countermeasures against biological warfare or use of these agents, as well as potential veterinary use in cattle and bison herds.

• Bruker Daltonics Inc., of Billerica, Mass., entered a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in the field of proteomics to develop more efficient methods for protein analysis using Fourier transform mass spectrometry (FTMS). Specifically, Bruker is providing the clinic with a 12-Tesla superconducting magnet FTMS system, optimized for proteome-wide measurements. Its installation is scheduled to be completed next month.

• Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc., of Richmond, Va., said it received notification that it met the conditions of compliance under Nasdaq's minimum bid price rule. The company was notified of potential delisting Sept. 13. The company provides research and development services to the biotechnology industry.

• CSIRO Plant Industry, of Canberra, Australia, said it launched molecular tools, called gene silencing vectors, that allow high-throughput gene silencing. Gene silencing technology also is known as RNA interference. The organization said it uses double-stranded RNA as a trigger to degrade messenger RNA. CSIRO said it filed a patent application to the gene silencing invention in 1998 and to the high-throughput methods more recently.

• Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., said it received an undisclosed milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, related to the initiation of human clinical trials of a second lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (LP-PLA2) inhibitor, 659032. The compound is an enzyme associated with the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. The milestone is associated with a deal the companies signed in 1993.

• Infigen Inc., of DeForest, Wis., birthed three miniature swine genetically modified to make their tissues and cells more compatible for potential transplant into humans. The swine result from a collaboration with Boston-based Immerge BioTherapeutics Inc., a joint venture between BioTransplant Inc. and Novartis Pharma AG, begun in 2001. The goal is to develop miniature swine that can be used as a safe source of organs and tissues for human transplantation. (See BioWorld Today, May 9, 2001.)

• Introgen Therapeutics Inc., of Austin, Texas, reported publication of preclinical data in the February 2003 issue of Molecular Therapy, showing that its nonviral delivery system may be a more effective method of delivering therapeutic genes to tumors than other nonviral delivery systems. Tumor cells showed much greater uptake and gene expression than normal cells when the nonviral formulation was administered to cells in culture, injected intravenously into mice, and in culture using human tumor samples from patients undergoing surgery for lung cancer. Introgen holds a license to pharmaceutical applications of the system from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

• Kosan Biosciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif., was awarded a two-year, $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will support research on developing generic hosts for polyketide overproduction, with a focus on hosts that produce antimicrobial polyketides.

• Lonza Biologics plc, of Slough, UK, and BioReliance Corp., of Rockville, Md., entered a strategic service level agreement whereby BioReliance is established as a strategic supplier to Lonza of viral testing services for two years.

• Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J., and Ferric Technologies Inc., of Atlanta, entered a collaboration for the research and development of fully human therapeutic antibodies. Ferric plans to use Medarex's UltiMAb Human Antibody Development System to generate antimicrobial antibodies. Under the agreement, Ferric intends to develop and commercialize fully human antibody products for the treatment of bacterial diseases. Medarex could receive license fees and milestone payments as well as royalties on commercial sales of any products that result. Specific terms were not disclosed.

• Microscience Ltd., of Reading, UK, reported results of a multicenter, dose-escalation, placebo-controlled trial showing its single-dose oral typhoid vaccine to be safe, well tolerated and highly immunogenic. The randomized, double-blind, 60-patient study was carried out using a freeze-dried product designed for commercialization. The company said it has a manufacturing process in place suitable for commercialization, though its near-term importance will be in moving the vaccine through a Phase II program.

• NexMed Inc., of Robbinsville, N.J., said the FDA lifted its partial clinical hold on the Alprox-TD cream for erectile dysfunction. NexMed said it met with the agency last month to discuss a decision to halt the open-label study of Alprox-TD due to the results of the company's 26-week dermal carcinogenicity study in transgenic mice. At the time, the FDA permitted NexMed to continue with patient testing in its two Phase III studies, completed in December. NexMed said it would report results from the pivotal studies during the second quarter.

• NiKem Research, of Milan, Italy, said it acquired a patent portfolio from GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, from which it was spun off. The portfolio includes three new chemical classes of small-molecule inhibitors of the vacuolar proton ATPase. NiKem said there is evidence V-ATPase plays a role in cancer by contributing to multidrug resistance. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• Ortec International Inc., of New York, completed a $2 million private placement of nonregistered Series B convertible preferred stock. Participants in the round included Paul Capital Royalty Acquisition Fund LP and other previous investors. After the financing, Ortec will have about 27 million shares outstanding. The Series B is convertible into common stock and has a 12 percent annual dividend payable in stock. The closing price of Ortec's stock on the completion of the deal was 27 cents. Ortec is a tissue-engineering company.

• Pfizer Inc., of New York, said its acquisition of Pharmacia Corp., of Peapack, N.J., was approved by the European Commission. Pfizer and Pharmacia agreed to divest Ketensin, an antihypertensive marketed in the Netherlands, and Parkemoxin, an animal antibiotic marketed in Germany.

• SkyePharma plc, of London, said its Biosphere sustained-release injectable technology was used successfully to deliver a protein drug over an extended period of time. A paper in Drug Delivery Systems & Sciences by scientists from SkyePharma's research unit in Malmo, Sweden, describes animal studies on the release of human growth hormone over two weeks from a single injection. In the study, the human growth hormone was encapsulated with high efficiency and released evenly throughout the period. The mild encapsulation process and inert conditions within the Biosphere particles preserved protein structure and function, the company said.

• Tranzyme Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Benitec Ltd., of Queensland, Australia, entered a collaboration agreement to jointly develop and market their gene silencing and gene delivery technologies. Benitec called itself the first company to demonstrate RNA interference, a universal gene silencing mechanism, in mammalian and human cells. Both parties will share revenues from the collaboration and also will develop targets using the combined technology for future joint commercialization. Further financial terms were not disclosed.