¿ Affitech AS, of Oslo, Norway, signed a three-year collaboration with the Norwegian National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) to develop human antibodies against viral targets provided by NIPH. Affitech also will generate new human antibody libraries from human donors with a specific immune history. The first target of the collaboration is the development of human prophylactic antibodies to varicella zoster virus, which causes chicken pox and shingles. CEO Ole Marvik said the deal gives Affitech access to important patient material and a partner skilled in the preclinical validation of antibody candidates.

¿ Biofrontera AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, entered a research agreement with the Johnson & Johnson company Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, of Beerse, Belgium, to further investigate mechanisms underlying the action of Janssen¿s recently introduced drug galantamine (Reminyl) for the treatment of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer¿s disease. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Biovation, of Aberdeen, UK, and Micromet AG, of Munich, Germany, formed a research collaboration to design non-immunogenic protein therapeutics. Biovation will apply its proprietary technology, DeImmunisation, to decrease immunogenicity of therapeutic proteins designed by Micromet. Micromet will pay research fees to Biovation. If Micromet selects proteins from this collaboration for further drug development, Biovation will receive license fees and potential milestone payments and royalties on product sales, the companies said.

¿ Genomics Collaborative Inc. (GCI), of Cambridge, Mass., licensed LION bioscience AG¿s SRS platform to access GCI¿s databases of extensive patient clinical and sample information, as well as public biological data, via one portal. The integration of clinical data with sequence and other biological information is one of the key points of pharmacogenomics, investigating the correlation between drugs and their interactions in the organism, as well as gene discovery in the post-sequencing era, Heidelberg, Germany-based LION said, adding that SRS integrates more than 400 public and private diverse databases and currently is used by more than 50 life science companies and more than 100 academic institutions worldwide.

¿ GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, appointed Steven R. Lazar vice president, worldwide head of intellectual property. Lazar previously held key positions related to intellectual property with Genzyme Corp. and Genetics Institute Inc., both of Cambridge, Mass., and the former Ciba-Geigy Corp. Lazar will be based in GPC Biotech¿s Waltham, Mass., offices.

¿ MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, appointed Claudius Wamlek vice president, business development. Prior to joining MediGene Wamlek was vice director of pharma licensing at Hoffmann-La Roche, where he had global responsibility for licensing and business development in the disease area of the central nervous system, MediGene said. In addition the company appointed Harald Fricke director of clinical research. His focus is on Etomoxir, which is being developed for congestive heart failure. Richard Rigg, who previously was director of vector process development at the pharmaceutical company Novartis¿ subsidiary Systemix, is MediGene¿s new project manager for the cancer product candidates G207 and NV1020.

¿ Novuspharma SpA, of Monza, Italy, entered a research agreement with the oncology department of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan to develop a novel oncogene involved in suppressing the proliferation of cancer cells. The full terms of the deal were not disclosed but Novuspharma will have exclusive rights to commercial applications of the gene.

¿ Xantos Biomedicine AG and Xerion Pharmaceuticals AG, both of Martinsried, Germany, are collaborating to further research two newly discovered genes inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis) recently identified by Xantos. Xerion will validate and characterize the proteins encoded by these two genes with its XCALIbur proprietary platform. This technology knocks out certain proteins¿ functions by laser beams. Both companies will jointly determine the therapeutic relevance of the targets and their suitability for further pharmaceutical development. The two genes under consideration are among about 250 apoptosis genes identified so far by Xantos.

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