¿ Acambis plc, of Cambridge, UK, said it received the second tranche of #3.5 million (US$4.8 million) of equity investment from Baxter International Inc., as agreed when the two set up a vaccines collaboration in September 2000. Baxter now owns 11.7 million shares, or 12.8 percent of Acambis. This is the second of four payments, with the next installment of #7 million due in June 2002, and the fourth of #7 million due in June 2003.
¿ Bionomics Ltd. and Ozgene Pty Ltd., both of Adelaide, Australia, formed a strategic alliance to develop treatments involving three genes believed to be involved in breast cancer. Bionomics owns the rights to the genes and Ozgene will contribute genetic tools and models to help with the development work, in return for a share of the royalties on any resulting products.
¿ Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc, of Melbourn, UK, agreed to a licensing deal with Xerion Pharmaceuticals GmbH, of Martinsried, Germany, giving Xerion access to CAT¿s human phage antibody library for target discovery and validation. Xerion has a functional proteomics platform that it is applying to novel target discovery. CAT CEO David Chiswell said the combination of CAT¿s antibody library and Xerion¿s skills in determining protein function should build significant future value. The initial research agreement involves Xerion paying a license fee to CAT.
¿ Diatos SA, of Paris, entered into a three-year research and development collaboration with the Catholic University of Louvain. The partners will pool their respective proprietary technologies to accelerate the development of both tumor-activated drugs ¿ cytoxic drugs liberated by peptides directly into the tissue where the tumor is ¿ and drug delivery systems. They will have joint ownership of joint discoveries, and the university will grant Diatos an exclusive worldwide license for the application of this technology in the field of oncology. Diatos¿ researchers will be working in close cooperation with the university¿s cell biology laboratory, headed by Andri Trouet.
¿ Evotec OAI, of Hamburg, Germany, signed a one-year contract to supply chemical compound libraries to F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, to be used in Roche¿s drug discovery screening programs. The libraries containing highly diverse compounds will be quality controlled regarding purity and identity of the compounds, Evotec spokeswoman Anne Hennecke said. Financial details were not disclosed.
¿ NeuroSearch A/S, of Ballerup, Denmark, said it obtained promising results in a double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II clinical study of its Alzheimer¿s candidate, NS2330. Four separate dosage groups, each containing eight patients with mild Alzheimer¿s, were assessed at baseline and at 28 and 42 days. The two highest doses, according to NeuroSearch, ¿produced significant improvement of major components of cognitive function,¿ while all four doses were well tolerated. Sheldon Preskorn, of the Psychiatric Research Institute in Wichita, Kan., and Cognitive Drug Research Ltd., of Reading, UK, performed the study. NS2330 also is the subject of a Phase II clinical study in Parkinson¿s patients with dyskinesia.
¿ November AG, of Erlangen, Germany, along with the medical technology branch of the electric corporation Siemens AG, of Munich, chip foundry Infineon AG, of Munich, laboratory device vendor Eppendorf Instrumente GmbH, of Hamburg, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology, of Itzehoe, Germany, plan to develop in a joint project silicon DNA chips for molecular diagnosis. The chips for use in hospital labs and medical service labs are expected to work on electrical detection without further optical labeling. The companies want to design them to be cheaper than conventional biochips. November plans to contribute its DNA electrohybridization technique. The German Ministry of research and Education is fueling the project with a DM10 million (US$4.3 million) grant. November will get DM1.1 million of the grant.
¿ Schwarz Pharma AG, of Monheim, Germany, and Genentech Inc., of South Francisco, signed an agreement under which Genentech reacquired the exclusive development and marketing rights to NutropinAq and NutropinDepot recombinant human growth hormone products in Europe and certain other countries outside the United States, Canada, China and Japan. Schwarz Pharma had acquired these rights from Genentech in 1999, submitted European registration documents and received NutropinAq marketing approval. One reason Schwarz Pharma sold back the rights were delays in European approval of NutropinDepot, Schwarz Pharma spokeswoman Antje Witte told BioWorld International. The company last week also said that growth hormones no longer fit Schwarz Pharma¿s business plan as it concentrates on the fields of central nervous system and urology.
¿ Vectura Ltd., of Bath, UK, entered a collaboration with Ranbaxy BV, of the Netherlands, a subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., India¿s largest pharmaceutical company, to develop an oral controlled-release technology around Vectura¿s expertise in particle science. The aim is a drug delivery system to release a once-daily dose of drug throughout the whole of the gastrointestinal tract. The deal adds oral controlled release to Vectura¿s existing pulmonary drug delivery platform.
¿ Vernalis Group plc, of Wokingham, UK, said a clinical candidate has been selected in its obesity collaboration with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., triggering a milestone payment from Roche. The compound, a novel and highly selective 5-HT2c receptor agonist designed to stimulate the satiety mechanism, is expected to enter clinical trials by the end of 2001. Under the agreement signed in December 1999, Roche will fund and manage the trials.