¿ Biotissue Technologies AG, of Freiburg, Germany, started an international multicenter study with BioSeed-S, its skin product generated from the patient¿s own tissue. The study encompasses 240 patients with chronic venous leg ulcers, and 25 centers in Germany and Europe. The study aims at approval for reimbursement by the German statutory health insurance funds by 2003. These funds cover most of the medical costs of 90 percent of the German population.

¿ BresaGen Ltd., of Adelaide, Australia, said it successfully derived four human embryonic stem cell lines. This achievement, which the company says is a critical step in its research into treatments for neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson¿s disease, was achieved by its U.S. research arm based in Athens, Ga., and headed by Chief Scientific Officer Allan Robins.

¿ GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, Germany, and Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., said that preclinical studies of gene therapy of restenosis in porcine models were successful. The therapy is based on GPC¿s novel cell cycle inhibitor fusion gene, p27/p16. Cell Genesys in 1998 acquired the license for this gene from Mitotix Inc., which was later acquired by GPC. The p27/p16 gene therapy showed a significant reduction of angioplasty-induced wall thickening in coronary arteries. In some cases the reduction was more than 60 percent, the companies said. The data were published in an August issue of the journal Circulation Research.

¿ Graffinity Pharmaceutical Design GmbH, of Heidelberg, Germany, announced a drug discovery alliance with Biosearch Italia SpA, of Milan, Italy, aiming at discovery and development of novel antibiotic products. Biosearch plans to use Graffinity¿s proprietary RAISE drug discovery technology to identify high-quality compounds against targets identified by Biosearch. Graffinity¿s technology is based on the label-free imaging of the interactions between target proteins and small molecules. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Phytopharm plc, of Godmanchester, UK, said it had mixed results in a study of P54, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for the treatment of canine osteoarthritis. A clinical assessment using force-plate analysis showed no difference in outcome between dogs taking P54 and dogs taking placebo. But investigators at the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science at the University of Bristol reported 56 percent of dogs were better or much better after being treated with P54, compared to 26 percent of those treated with placebo. The owners¿ assessment of response also favored P54 (60 percent) compared with placebo (38 percent). The most common reported side effect was that the treatment made the dogs¿ coats smell. CEO Richard Dixey said, ¿We are cautiously optimistic about the results of this study and are examining options for the development and commercialization of the product.¿

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