Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, UK, said it has approval for a Phase Ib trial of ATL-104 in the treatment of mucositis. The aim is to determine safety and tolerance of repeat dosing, before starting a Phase II trial in cancer patients in the second half of 2002. Mucositis is a side effect of chemo- and radiotherapy in which the cells lining the mouth and gastrointestinal tract are destroyed.

Amaxa GmbH AG, of Cologne, Germany, launched a device for transfection of previously hard-to-transfect cell lines such as with hematopoietic cancer cells. With its new “Cell Line Optimization Nucleofector Kit” researchers could save up to 70 percent of time normally required, Amaxa said.

DeveloGen AG, of Göttingen, Germany, and a group of academic researchers from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK and Sweden were granted up to EUR1.8 million (US$1.6 million) by the European Commission to fuel a search aimed at finding new methods of treating Type I and Type II diabetes. The consortium of researchers includes scientists from the DIBIT Scientific Institute San Raffaele, of Milan, Italy; the University Center for Medicine in Geneva; University Lab of Physiology in Oxford, UK; and the University of Lund in Sweden. The 1991 Nobel Prize winner, Erwin Neher of the Göttingen-based Max Planck Institute of biophysical chemistry, is coordinating research.

Evotec OAI AG, of Hamburg, Germany, and MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, successfully completed the screening for new active compounds to treat cardiac diseases. Evotec OAI expects to receive a milestone payment. The novel compounds block the functions of a protein that is involved in the onset of cardiac diseases, identified by MediGene. The compounds were found by means of a jointly developed test assay. MediGene now plans to develop novel and more effective drugs for the treatment of specific cardiac diseases. It retains all rights to the substances identified.

KS Biomedix plc, of London, has been granted orphan drug status in Europe for TransMID-107, its treatment for glioma. The company said it is on target to start a Phase III trial in patients with recurrent inoperable glioma in the second half of 2002, along with a Phase I trial in pediatric patients and another in newly diagnosed patients.

MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, said that it will appeal the final judgment entered by the U.S. District Court in Chicago in its dispute with Loyola University, of Chicago, MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., and an individual defendant relating to ownership of the CVLP technology. This technology is needed to create virus-like particles, which might be used to treat human papillomavirus-induced tumors. A CVLP technology-based tumor vaccine for the treatment of cervical cancer and its precursors is one of MediGene’s seven clinical product candidate programs.

Modex Therapeutics Ltd., of Lausanne, Switzerland, said its Phase II trial six-month follow-up data have further confirmed the clinical superiority of its EpiDex skin graft technology, which is derived from adult stem and precursor cells found in the patient’s own hair follicles, vs. mesh-graft in the treatment of very hard-to-heal skin ulcers. The company plans to present its results at the World Congress of Dermatology in Paris in July. In a cost-cutting move, Modex is consolidating production of EpiDex at its recently completed facility in Lausanne. It will wind down production at its existing plant in Leipzig, Germany, but will maintain it as a backup facility.

Vernalis Group plc, of Wokingham, UK, said partner Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, is waiving repayment of a $10 million loan in return for a reduced royalty rate on U.S. sales of Frova, Vernalis’ migraine treatment. At the same time, Elan announced that UCB Pharma Inc., of Atlanta, will co promote Frova, which is due to be launched this quarter.

Xerion Pharmaceuticals AG, of Martinsried, Germany, achieved two milestones in its target validation collaboration with Byk Gulden Lomberg Chemische Fabrik GmbH, of Constance, Germany. Xerion now expects to receive milestone payments. Xerion and Byk signed the collaboration agreement in October.