¿ Biomax Informatics AG, of Martinsried, Germany, and Molecular Networks GmbH, of Erlangen, Germany, formed a strategic partnership aimed at effectively combining bioinformatics and chemoinformatics into one stream of research. Molecular Networks, which specializes in the development of software for drug design, combinatorial chemistry and data mining, and Biomax, with its expertise in DNA and protein sequence analysis used in drug-target design and database integration, will collaborate in the development of software tools for optimized drug-target lead generation and validation, the companies said.

¿ Celltech Group plc, of Slough, UK, announced positive results in a Phase II study of CDP 870 in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and said Phase III studies would start in early in 2002. In the three-month Phase II dose-ranging study in 203 patients, 72 percent showed at least a 20 percent improvement in symptoms, 48 percent a 50 percent improvement and 32 percent an improvement of greater than 70 percent. There were no safety issues. CDP 870, a TNF alpha inhibitor being developed with Pharmacia Corp., is a third-generation humanized antibody fragment, pegylated to provide a long half-life. The compound also is in Phase II in Crohn¿s disease.

¿ Epidauros Biotechnologie AG, of Bernried, Germany, appointed Wolfgang Meister senior vice president, pharma. He is a board-certified specialist for internal medicine, cardiology and clinical pharmacology. He previously served as director and vice president of clinical development and medical affairs at SmithKlineBeecham Pharma, and as director of scientific relations at Merck, Sharpe & Dohme Germany.

¿ LION bioscience AG, of Heidelberg, Germany, entered into an exclusive partnership with BioCat GmbH, of Heidelberg, for distribution of LION¿s cDNA clones arrayTAG and the corresponding annotation database arrayBASE in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

¿ MorphoSys AG and GPC Biotech AG, both of Martinsried, Germany, announced the achievement of a preclinical milestone in GPC Biotech¿s immunology antibody program for the treatment of transplant rejection and graft-vs.-host disease. GPC Biotech showed that a human antibody generated and optimized by MorphoSys from its proprietary HuCAL library had significant in vivo efficacy in a transgenic animal model. A single injection of the antibody into transgenic mice carrying a human certain cell surface antigen (MHC class II target molecule) was shown to efficiently suppress skin hypersensitivity reactions in these mice. The milestone triggers an additional, undisclosed payment from GPC Biotech to MorphoSys.

¿ M-phasys GmbH, of T|bingen, Germany, and Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, entered a collaboration aimed at discovery of novel active ingredients acting on membrane protein targets. During the two year project, m-phasys plans to produce membrane proteins in recombinant bacteria and refold them into the biologically active state using its proprietary M-FOLD technology. M-phasys for Bayer then will develop assay systems for HTS screening based on the refolded protein. Further details were not disclosed.

¿ Polytechnos Venture Partners GmbH, of Munich, Germany, acquired 8.25 percent of the shares of start-up company Nascacell GmbH, of Tutzing, Germany, for DM$1.4 million (US$626,000). Nascacell focuses on functional proteome analysis by aptameres. Investors in Nascacell¿s DM6 million seed financing in October 2000 were Transconnect Group and BioM AG, both of Munich, and tbg, of Bonn.

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