Accelrys Inc., of San Diego, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pharmacopeia Inc., of Princeton, N.J., said AstraZeneca plc, of London, renewed its unified global licensing agreement. AstraZeneca uses Accelrys simulation software to characterize therapeutic targets and to identify and optimize lead compounds. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Active Biotech AB, of Lund, Sweden, reported data showing that oral treatment with SAIK-MS (laquinimod) in tablet form inhibits the progress of the disease in various multiple sclerosis-like animal models. SAIK-MS proved to be 100 times more effective than Pharmacia's predecessor drug, Linomide (roquinimex), in inhibiting the progress of the disease in an MS disease model based on the level of free substance in plasma. A 180-patient, multicenter, European Phase II study of SAIKMS is under way.

Agilent Technologies Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., obtained from Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., a license that allows Agilent to exclusively develop and sell software based on Millennium's SpectrumMill software, used for protein research in disease and drug discovery. The agreement also provides Millennium with early and advanced access to Agilent products and chemistries for proteomics research. Agilent also entered a worldwide licensing agreement with Large Scale Biology Corp., of Vacaville, Calif., that allows Agilent to exclusively develop technologies for the separation of low-abundance proteins from serum samples, such as blood. Financial terms were not disclosed for either agreement.

Arpida Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, entered a research collaboration with Combio A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, to develop antibiotics. Initially, Arpida will contribute broad-spectrum antibacterial targets, assay technologies and lead compounds. Combio will apply its screening technology to identify and optimize lead structures. Resultant compounds will be jointly developed through successful completion of clinical studies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

AVAX Technologies Inc., of Overland Park, Kan., said the FDA confirmed there are no outstanding issues regarding the company's investigational new drug applications for M-Vax and O-Vax, its AC Vaccine Technology candidates for the treatment of melanoma and ovarian cancers. The absence of outstanding issues means AVAX can proceed with the trials. AVAX said it would provide further information once the clinical trials are under way.

Dragon Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, appointed Alexander Wick president. He will continue to serve as a company director, a position he has held since Dragon's 1998 inception, to develop genetically engineered human proteins for therapeutic use.

Evotec Technologies GmbH, of Hamburg, Germany, released at last month's Society for Biomolecular Screening conference in The Hague, the Netherlands, its Opera cell analyzer for fast, high-content analysis of drug activity with subcellular resolution. The compact benchtop device combines the high resolution of confocal laser scanning microscopy with the speed of ultra-high-throughput performance (more than 200,000 images per day).

ID Biomedical Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, reported that mice immunized with its nasally delivered proteosome-based plague pneumonia vaccine developed high levels of antibodies in the blood, as well as in respiratory lavage fluids. The antibodies specifically recognized the major protective plague antigen, eliciting a high degree of protection against death in animals exposed to an aerosol containing a large inoculum of lethal plague bacteria. The data triggered an extension of the extended Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to continue development with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

Pyrosequencing AB, of Uppsala, Sweden, said it cut 23 employees in Sweden and initiated negotiations in accordance with the Codetermination Act. The moves are expected to decrease the company's cash expenses by about $7 million annually beginning in 2003. Pyrosequencing develops, manufactures and sells solutions for applied genetic analysis.

ProdiGene Inc., of College Station, Texas, and Sigma-Aldrich Fine Chemicals, a division of Sigma-Aldrich Corp., of St. Louis, entered an agreement under which Sigma-Aldrich will manufacture and distribute TrypZean, an animal-free recombinant trypsin produced with ProdiGene's transgenic plant system. Trypsin, a protein produced in the pancreas that breaks down protein chains as part of the digestion process, has uses in treating diabetes, edema, hematoma and pain associated with a variety of internal and external wounds, as well as uses in food processing and infant formulas. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Prometheus Laboratories Inc., of San Diego, entered a license agreement with the National Public Health Institute in Finland for intellectual property related to two highly sensitive and specific DNA variations to a gene associated with adult-type hypolactasia (lactose intolerance). The agreement covers any and all applications of the technology and is exclusive worldwide with the exception of Finland, the Baltic States and Russia, where it is nonexclusive. The agreement also includes a continuing research collaboration. Further financial terms were not disclosed.

Selective Genetics Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., began treating the first patient in its Phase I study involving chronic, non-healing foot ulcers. The trial tests the safety of the company's Gene-Activated Matrix technology through a series of escalating doses and administrations. After developing a safe product profile, studies to measure efficacy could begin next year.

The University of Cincinnati and the University Hospital in Cincinnati reported publication in the Oct. 9, 2002, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine of results showing that a predisposition to heart failure in African-Americans can be predicted by the identification of two mutated genes found in an individual's own DNA. Data showed that people with variations in beta-1 and alpha 2-C adrenergic receptors, two receptor genes that control heart contractility, are 10 times more likely to develop heart failure. African-Americans have a relatively high incidence of such variants.

Triad Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, said Kurt Wuthrich, a member of its scientific advisory board, won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. Wuthrich, who also sits on the scientific advisory board of Syrrx Inc., of San Diego, was awarded for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the 3-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution. Triad integrates structural biology and medicinal chemistry to develop potent, small-molecule drugs.

Zengen Inc., of Woodland Hills, Calif., entered an alliance with DragonVenture Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., to consult Zengen in its international expansion into the Chinese pharmaceutical and over-the-counter markets. DragonVenture will facilitate alliances between Zengen and established health care businesses in China. Financial terms were not disclosed.