Active Biotech AB, of Lund, Sweden, selected a candidate drug, ABR-215757, within the systemic lupus erythematosus project (SLE) for clinical development beginning in 2003. SLE is an autoimmune disease with very few available treatments, the company said. The SLE project is included in the company's "competence platform Q."

BioVex Ltd., of Oxford, UK, said the UK's Medicines Control Agency approved the company's application to commence a clinical trial of OncoVEX GM-CSF. The Phase I trial will be undertaken in London, and the safety and biological activity of OncoVEX GM-CSF will be evaluated in a number of solid tumors in 18 patients.

Calcigen Corp., of Bethlehem, Pa., received an investment from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, located on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem. The investment will be used to commercialize Calcigen's non-mammalian biochemical production technology, which is expected to deliver improved yields and purity at high throughput, with reduced processing time, chemicals and waste for the life sciences sector, the company said.

Cellomics Inc., of Pittsburgh, said it released a new version of its high-content screening visualization tool, Cellomics Data Viewer. The company said it includes improvements over previous versions. Its technology integrates fluorescent reagents, kits, cell lines, multiparametric assays, HCS instrumentation and informatics tools.

David Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Half Moon Bay, Calif., changed its name to Saegis Pharmaceuticals Inc. The privately held company is focused on developing medicines for the problems of memory and cognition associated with aging. To date, Saegis has in-licensed three agents from pharmaceutical companies and research institutions.

DrugAbuse Sciences Inc., of Hayward, Calif., and Laureate Pharma LP, of Princeton, N.J., initiated a contract manufacturing agreement related to a sustained-release microsphere product. Laureate will provide manufacturing services for DrugAbuse Sciences' naltrexone depot product, currently in clinical trials. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., said that at its annual meeting of stockholders, shareholders approved an amendment to EntreMed's certificate of incorporation to increase the number of shares of authorized common stock from 35 million to 90 million shares. EntreMed is developing angiogenesis therapeutics that inhibit abnormal blood vessel growth.

FeRx Inc., of San Diego, and the National Cancer Center Research Institute of Japan in Tokyo reported the establishment of a research collaboration designed to develop a tumor-targeting gene transfer approach using FeRx's magnetic targeted carrier (MTC) drug delivery technology. A variety of genetic vectors, including plasmid DNA, adenoviruses and antisense oligonucleotides, will be studied and combined with the FeRx MTC technology.

GeneMedix plc, of Suffolk, UK, opened a mammalian cell manufacturing operation in Tullamore, Ireland, to produce recombinant erythropoietin, with production scheduled to begin in mid-2003. The product will be sold first in the Asian markets, prior to launch in Europe, when the regulatory pathway has been established.

Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, was instructed to pay $200 million in punitive damages to City of Hope National Medical Center by a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury in the center's lawsuit against Genentech. The suit relates to a dispute over research done by City of Hope scientists and Genentech technology. The punitive award follows an award of $300.1 million in compensatory damages against Genentech to the center announced earlier this month. Genentech said it would appeal the judgment.

Genzyme Molecular Oncology, of Framingham, Mass., a division of Genzyme Corp., and Silico Insights Inc., of Woburn, Mass., entered an agreement to co-market the SAGE gene expression technology and i-Sight Discovery pathway informatics platform. When used together, the technologies provide scientists with an opportunity to better organize and view gene expression data for their specific research needs, the companies said. The serial analysis of gene expression, or SAGE technology, identifies genes that previously were not known to be associated with a disease response.

Inoxell A/S, Hoersholm, Denmark-based Pharmexa A/S's 83.3 percent-owned subsidiary, and Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, entered a global patent settlement concerning certain drug target identification technologies. The agreement involves both cross-licensing and joint ownership of certain patents and allows for worldwide freedom of operation for both companies. Rigel awarded Inoxell a nonexclusive license to a number of additional patents relevant to the drug target identification process.

LumiCyte Inc., of Fremont, Calif., signed an exclusive agreement with Shimadzu Corp., of Kyoto, Japan, that allows the latter company to market and distribute LumiCyte's SELDI-based protein mapping services in Japan. The deal is for five years and has a value of more than $30 million, including a multimillion-dollar investment by Shimadzu. A Shimadzu team will market and sell LumiCyte's SELDI-based protein discovery and biomarker validation services through milestone-based contracts.

Mologen Holding AG, of Berlin, said a research group headed by a professor at Bonn University College Hospital conducted experiments with the company to investigate the efficacy and safety of Mologen's MIDGE technology when injected directly into the bloodstream. Compared with the plasmid, the MIDGE injection resulted in much greater formation of luminescent molecules in the liver, lungs and kidney, it said.

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., of San Diego, reported positive results with indiplon-MR tablets in a Phase II trial in 79 elderly patients with primary insomnia. The study was a randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, five-period crossover, dose-response trial. The primary endpoint of sleep efficiency is defined as total sleep time divided by total bed time as measured by polysomnography. Indiplon-MR at the 20 mg, 30 mg and 35 mg doses demonstrated statistically significant improvement in sleep efficiency (p<0.0001) relative to placebo.

Novuspharma SpA, of Bresso, Milan, presented preclinical results from a study of BBR 2778 in a chronic model of multiple sclerosis at the 12th Meeting of the European Neurological Society in Berlin. BBR 2778 is an intercalating agent in Phase III trials for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The data analyzed indicate that repeated intravenous administration of both mitoxantrone and BBR 2778 is effective in preventing disease relapses. Also, there are some suggestions of better efficacy of BBR 2778 than mitoxantrone at the dose level tested, the company said.

Proneuron Biotechnologies Inc., of Ness-Ziona, Israel, and Craig Hospital in Denver initiated a joint program to continue the development of Proneuron's macrophage cell therapy for treatment of spinal cord injuries. The collaboration includes the establishment of the first Proneuron Cell Center in the U.S., the initial step in implementing Proneuron's strategy to establish and develop clinical and commercialization operations in the U.S. The center will allow Proneuron to begin Phase II trials.

Sequenom Inc., of San Diego, completed two independent high-resolution genome screens of the human genome using a portfolio of 25,000 genetic markers. The first screen was for genes linked to age-related diseases and tested samples from nearly 1,500 individuals across the 25,000 markers. The second screen compared DNA from more than 1,000 melanoma patients and controls across the SNP assay set to identify genes linked to melanoma.

Tanox Inc., of Houston, said its board authorized a $3 million increase in its stock repurchase program. Purchases will be made from time to time or on a discretionary basis in the open market. Tanox focuses on therapeutic monoclonal antibodies designed to address asthma, allergy, inflammation and other diseases affecting the immune system.

ZymoGenetics Inc., of Seattle, said that its former parent, Novo Nordisk A/S, of Copenhagen, Denmark, exercised its right to convert 9.1 million nonvoting shares of ZymoGenetics' common stock into voting shares. Following the conversion, the Novo Group, which includes Novo Nordisk A/S and Novo A/S, will control about 21.8 million shares of voting stock, representing about 48 percent of the total outstanding shares and about 40 percent on a fully diluted basis.

Zyomyx Inc., of Hayward, Calif., reported the creation of a three-year strategic alliance with Partners HealthCare, of Boston, to apply Zyomyx's protein profiling biochip system to clinical research. Zyomyx and Partners will establish a core protein profiling research facility to focus primarily on the identification and validation of protein biomarkers to improve the understanding and diagnosis of complex diseases. The biochips come ready to use, fully loaded with specific capture antibodies.

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