¿ Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics BV, of the Netherlands, said it received a Dutch government grant of EUR1.9 million (US$1.7 million) to fund preclinical research of gene therapy in patients with lipoprotein lipase (LPL) deficiency. The LPL enzyme is responsible for clearing triglycerides from the blood. LPL deficiency can lead to acute pancreatitis and, ultimately, diabetes. Apart from adopting a severe fat-free diet, there is no current therapy, according to Amsterdam Molecular. The company¿s research collaborators on this project include the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

¿ Evotec OAI AG, of Hamburg, Germany, entered into an agreement with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., to synthesize small-molecule chemical libraries. Evotec plans to synthesize well-characterized drug-like library compounds using its proprietary high-speed combinatorial chemistry and auto-purification platforms, Evotec said, adding that Merck plans to use the newly generated compounds in its drug research and development programs. Financial details were not disclosed.

¿ Mologen AG, of Berlin, said its board of directors was authorized to buy back shares of the company with prior approval of the supervisory board. The authorization was limited to a maximum of 10 percent of the outstanding shares of the company, or 495,000 shares. The authorization is in effect until Nov. 30, 2002.

¿ MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, Germany, launched a new antibody library, HuCAL Gold. Initial results show that the new library and related screening system lead to faster and more efficient antibody generation, MorphoSys said, adding that the novel library and process enables researchers to achieve higher average affinity antibodies and more diverse fully human antibodies. In addition, the new library is expected to increase MorphoSys¿ independence from several ongoing patent disputes.

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