¿ Advanced Polymer Systems Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., said its development and marketing partner Dermik Laboratories Inc., a subsidiary of Aventis Pharma AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, launched Carac, a once-a-day topical treatment of actinic keratoses. APS is entitled to royalties on worldwide sales of the product.

¿ Andrx Corp., of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., completed a Phase II study on the effects of Avicor on metabolism of beta amyloid protein. Initial results indicated that Avicor diminishes blood levels of beta amyloid protein in patients with hyperlipidemia. Andrx recently submitted a new drug application for Avicor.

¿ Anthrogenesis Corp., of Cedar Knolls, N.J., said it discovered a method to recover stem cells from post-natal placentas, allowing recovery of a type of stem cell that appears to have the same functions as a multipotent stem cell. These cells have the ability to evolve into a number of cell types and tissues in the body.

¿ Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., reported first quarter earnings of $220 million in product revenues, due largely to a 26 percent rise in sales of its multiple sclerosis treatment Avonex (interferon beta-1a), compared to the same period in 2000. The company reported earnings of $0.47 cents per share on a reported basis, in line with analysts' estimates. Biogen also said in a telephone conference it expects Avonex global sales in 2001 to approach $900 million.

¿ DNAPrint Genomics Inc., of Sarasota, Fla., entered a working relationship with Acculab, of South Florida, to collect and phenotype volunteer blood samples. The relationship grants DNAPrint the right to place informed-consent kiosks at four area Acculab outlets for blood drawing, a method of recruitment the company said should produce a high recruitment success rate.

¿ DoubleTwist Inc., of Oakland, Calif., said more than 20 new customers purchased subscriptions to its DoubleTwist.com online genomic data and analysis tools service in the first quarter.

¿ GeneSoft Inc., of South San Francisco, and the University of Geneva entered an exclusive worldwide license for patent applications based on research conducted in the laboratories of Ulrich Laemmli, professor of molecular biology at the university. His research relates to DNA-binding molecules that can change the structure of chromatin at targeted locations. Since chromatin structure affects the gene expression, the technology may help develop drugs to treat diseases caused by the abnormal expression of genes, they said.

¿ Goodwin Biotechnology Inc., of Plantation, Fla., signed a joint cooperative agreement with Meristem Therapeutics, of Clermont-Ferrand, France, to reinforce Meristem's corn- and tobacco-based production systems in North America. Also, the companies plan to add to Meristem's European production capabilities by constructing GMP-compliant extraction-purification capacity from plants in North America. Meristem has produced kilogram levels of purified protein for use in human trials. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Immunex Corp., of Seattle, said about 2,500 new patients were offered active status in the Enbrel (etanercept) enrollment program. Immunex initiated the enrollment plan in November in response to a growth in demand that was projected to exceed supply of Enbrel, a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor. Immunex said supplies of Enbrel will remain limited until mid-2002, when a manufacturing facility in Rhode Island opens.

¿ Invitrogen Corp., of San Diego, made available a reagent kit to facilitate use of Framingham, Mass.-based Genzyme Molecular Oncology's serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) gene analysis tool. The I-SAGE reagent kit can be used, Invitrogen said, for identifying disease-related genes, analyzing the effects of drugs on tissues and providing insight into disease pathways.

¿ Isotechnika Inc., of Edmonton, Alberta, filed applications with the FDA and the Health Protection Branch of the Government of Canada to begin Phase II trials of ISA(TX)247 in kidney transplantation. The immunosupressive agent is designed for use in the prevention of organ rejection after transplantation and for treatment of autoimmune diseases.

¿ Mendel Biotechnology Inc., of Hayward, Calif., and Seminis Inc., of Oxnard, Calif., received a $4.2 million matching grant from the Advanced Technology Program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The grant is intended to fund the development of novel genomics tools to produce new crops with high-value traits.

¿ MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, initiated an additional Phase II trial of irofulven. The randomized, multicenter Phase II European trial will evaluate irofulven's anti-tumor activity, safety and clinical benefit as a single agent and in combination with prednisone. Patient enrollment for the trial is expected to last about 18 months.

¿ Morphotek Inc., of Philadelphia, said it is partnering with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to create jobs in the southeastern region. Morphotek received a $100,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in conjunction with the partnership to expand operations and support ongoing research and development.

¿ Neogen Corp., of Lansing, Mich., signed a nonexclusive agreement with Monsanto Co., of St. Louis, for access to Monsanto technology to develop tests for rapid detection of genetically enhanced grains. Neogen also will market the tests. Financial terms were undisclosed.

¿ Nortran Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, began a Phase I trial of RSD1235 for treatment of acute arterial fibrillation. The randomized, placebo-controlled, dose-escalating trial will investigate the compound's safety in 38 volunteers.

¿ Orphan Medical Inc., of Minneapolis, said the FDA rescheduled an advisory committee review of Xyrem (sodium oxybate) oral solution to June 6. The company said the FDA requested more time so that Orphan could respond to a request for clarification of supplemental data. Xyrem is under review as a treatment for narcolepsy, particularly cataplexy and to improve the symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness. The company submitted the new drug application for Xyrem in October.

¿ Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tustin, Calif., initiated a Phase I trial at Stanford University to evaluate the use of Cotara in patients with cancers of the biliary system and pancreas. The dose-escalating trial will evaluate the radiolabeled monoclonal antibody's safety and characteristics.

¿ Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, said the assignment of its lease to a biotechnology company has been approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California. Shaman will receive a one-time cash payment from the lease-taking company and six months of free rent in its current facilities.

¿ SignalGene Inc., of Montreal, Canada, effected a re-organization, establishing two separate business units: drug discovery and clinical genomics. The company also re-aligned its senior management team. SignalGene said the reorganization is in response to the need to integrate newly acquired assets and capabilities.

¿ Synbiotics Corp. (SBIO), of San Diego, filed an appeal with the Nasdaq National Market asking the market to rescind its decision to de-list the company. The company said it received notification that its stock was subject to delisting on April 4 for failure to comply with the market's minimum bid price of $1 per share. Synbiotics' shares (NASDAQ:SBIO) closed Thursday at 40 cents. SBIO fell below $1 in November and has not broken that mark since.

¿ Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., granted GlaxoSmithKline plc, of Brentford, UK, a nonexclusive license to its GeneSwitch technology for gene regulation. The license is expressly for research, and further financial details were undisclosed.

¿ Zygogen LLC, of Atlanta, received a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Zygogen plans to use the funding to create zebrafish disease models for drug candidate screening against Parkinson's disease.

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