Atugen AG, of Berlin, said it will sign a technology evaluation agreement with Vancouver, British Columbia-based Kinetek Pharmaceuticals Inc. Kinetek will evaluate Atugen’s antisense target validation technology in its research and development programs in oncology. No financial details were disclosed.

Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, and Aventis SA, of Strasbourg, France, signed a nonbinding letter of intent to potentially combine their blood plasma businesses, Aventis Behring and Bayer Biological Products, including the marketing rights for the recombinant Factor VIII products, Helixate FS/NexGen and Kogenate. Bayer’s biological products unit with headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C., in 2000 contributed EUR1.2 billion to the company’s sales. It employs a staff of 2800. Aventis Behring, of King of Prussia, Pa., with 6500 employees, had sales of EUR1.15 billion in 2000. If the deal happens, Bayer would be the majority stakeholder.

BioProtein Technologies, of Paris, which is specialized in the production and extraction of therapeutic proteins from the milk of transgenic rabbits, appointed Guy de Martynoff as chief operating officer. Martynoff has 20 years of experience in the field of protein production and purification and was previously project manager at the Belgian company Eurogentec SA. At BioProtein, he will be responsible for coordinating the company’s internal research programs, which are run in close collaboration with the French National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), the source of BioProtein’s technical know-how and intellectual property.

BioTissue Technologies AG, of Freiburg, Germany, said it expects Victor Tiegermann to take over from Wilhelm Brandner as CEO as of March 1, after Brandner retires. Tiegermann previously held management positions in European and U.S. medical companies active in orthopedics and dermatology.

ExonHit Therapeutics SA, of Paris, appointed Philippe Guillet as head of clinical Research. As such, he will be responsible for the clinical development of the company’s two leading drug candidates, EHT-201 and EHT-202, which are being developed for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, Guillet will oversee the development of the company’s diagnostic and therapeutic products for cancer. Guillet previously was clinical research director at the research institute of the French pharmaceutical company Pierre Fabre.

MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, and XOMA Ltd., of Berkley, Calif., entered into cross-licensing agreements for antibody-related technologies. MorphoSys and its partners receive a license to use the XOMA antibody expression technology for developing antibody products using MorphoSys’ HuCAL antibody library. MorphoSys also receives a license for the production of antibodies under the XOMA patents, for which it will pay a license fee, and gives XOMA a five-year license to use MorphoSys’ HuCAL Gold antibody library for its target discovery and research programs with an option to develop antibodies into therapeutics. If XOMA identifies and develops any therapeutic antibody by using MorphoSys’ library, the contract provides for future license, milestone and royalty payments to be made to MorphoSys. Further financial details were not disclosed.

NicOx SA, of Sophia Antipolis, France, posted a loss of EUR11.5 million (US$10 million) for 2001, nearly four times higher than the year before (EUR3 million). Whereas it received R&D income of EUR5.6 million in 2000, it generated no revenue at all in 2001, apart from EUR2.3 million in income from financial assets. Its R&D spending increased 57.7 percent to EUR12.3 million last year.