¿ Celltech Group plc, of Abingdon, UK, and Evotec OAI, of Hamburg, Germany, signed a technology agreement. Evotec will apply its VliP (virus-like particle) technology to two of Celltech's G protein-coupled receptor targets. Evotec will express the proteins, develop screening assays and produce concentrated VliP protein for further characterization for both GPCRs. Upon successful completion, Celltech will have the option to obtain a nonexclusive license to use the VliP technology. That licensing agreement will include an up-front payment, annual fees and milestone payments.

¿ Ceregene Inc., of San Diego, treated its first patient in a Phase I study for Alzheimer's disease gene therapy at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. The company said the study is the first-ever gene therapy trial for Alzheimer's disease. The trial involves surgical implantation of cells producing nerve growth factor into the brain.

¿ ConjuChem Inc., of Montreal, completed a Phase I study of its DAC:Opioid drug CJC-1008. The dose-escalating trial evaluated the drug's safety and pharmacokinetic profile in 34 healthy volunteers. ConjuChem found CJC-1008 was better tolerated than Dynorphin A, the naturally occurring peptide from which CJC-1008 was derived, had a longer half-life than the peptide and showed no unexpected serious side effects. ConjuChem expects to initiate Phase II trials in several pain indications based on the results.

¿ Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., achieved its first milestone in its collaboration with Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif. Following a review of data from the completed pivotal Phase III trial of Cidecin (daptomycin for injection) in the treatment of complicated skin and soft tissue infection caused by Gram-positive bacteria, Gilead agreed to pay Cubist a $1.25 million milestone payment for meeting the primary endpoint of the trial. The collaboration entered into in January calls for up to $31 million in milestone payments, and included a $13 million up-front licensing fee from Gilead to Cubist. Cubist released positive results from the trial in March. (See BioWorld Today, March 15, 2000.)

¿ CV Therapeutics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., completed patient enrollment in its Phase III CARISA trial of ranolazine for treatment of chronic angina. The multinational, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial is designed to compare two doses of ranolazine to placebo during treatment with one of three other antianginal medications. CV Therapeutics said it expects to report initial results from the trial in the fourth quarter and prepare for a new drug application submission shortly thereafter.

¿ ExonHit Therapeutics SA, of Paris, entered a collaboration with the Institut Curie to develop ExonHit's cancer diagnostic tool, Proof-Hit. Institut Curie will provide ExonHit with specimen banks of breast tissue for genetic analysis to validate Proof-Hit genetic signatures in breast cancer patients. Proof-Hit, the company said, can analyze tumor cell RNA to determine the tumor's characteristics and likelihood of metastasis.

¿ FeRx Inc., of San Diego, moved its corporate headquarters to offices in San Diego's La Jolla Gateway and its Colorado research and operations facility to Colorado Bioscience Park, near Denver.

¿ Genomics Collaborative Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., and AmeriPath Inc., of Riviera Beach, Fla., expanded their genomics alliance with a three-year option agreement. GCI granted AmeriPath an option to license certain molecular markers for diagnostic applications. One option, for a diagnostic marker useful in the diagnosis of breast cancer, already was exercised. Financial terms were undisclosed.

¿ Incyte Genomics Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., said Eisai Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, signed a multiyear subscription deal for Incyte's LifeSeq Gold database. Eisai also will subscribe to Incyte's ZooSeq animal model database. Financial terms were undisclosed.

¿ Inhale Therapeutic Systems Inc., of King of Prussia, Pa., and Aventis Behring LLC, of San Carlos, Calif., completed a Phase Ib trial of an inhalable form of alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor for treatment of an inherited form of emphysema caused by alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The study found all doses tested were well tolerated and that the response to the therapy was dose related. The study also found that doses were measurable in the deep lung where it bound to the neutrophil elastase, the cause of excessive inflammation and progressive emphysema.

¿ Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Carlsbad, Calif., said its joint venture with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, initiated the first human trial of oral solid formulations of a second-generation antisense drug. Orasense is using an Isis antisense inhibitor of TNF-alpha, ISIS 104838, to develop an oral delivery platform for antisense drugs. The study is the first of several, the company said, designed to evaluate the ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) properties of multiple oral formulations.

¿ Molecular Devices Corp., of Sunnyvale, Calif., lost 58 percent of its value Tuesday after releasing first-quarter earnings that fell well short of analysts' estimates. Molecular's stock (NASDAQ:MDCC) closed at $21, down $28.99. Though MDC reported a 3 percent growth in revenues compared to the same period in 2000, and a 25 percent increase in fully diluted earnings per share at 10 cents per share, the earnings fell short of a First Call consensus expectation of 20 cents per share. Total revenues for the first quarter were $20.7 million.

¿ Paradigm Genetics Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., is publishing its Transponson-Arrayed Gene Knock-Out (TAG-KO) technology. The technology is a functional genomics method to discover and mutate genes in organisms with large or unknown genome sequences. Results of Paradigm's study in fungi will be published in the April 24, 2001, edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

¿ Prolinx Inc., of Bothell, Wash., said the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry featured two papers on its Versalinx Chemical Affinity Tools product line. The product line is based on the specific interactions between two families of small synthetic molecules.

¿ ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, and Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, formed an alliance to jointly market their knowledge of the monoclonal antibody purification field. ProMetic will provide its Mimetic Ligand technology and Merck will provide ion-exchange polymeric bioprocessing media products to the marketing alliance. Merck also will contribute its sales force and distribution network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

¿ Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., said a paper published in the April 10, 2001, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that obese animals treated with Axokine, Regeneron's obesity treatment, ate less and lost weight. Further, after treatment ended the animals did not exhibit the binge eating and rebound weight gain characteristic of forced dieting. The findings are similar to those from a Phase II trial of Axokine Regeneron completed last year.

¿ Scios Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., said the FDA's Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee will review the new drug application amendment for Natrecor (nesitritide) for treatment of congestive heart failure on May 25. Scios submitted the amendment to the NDA at the beginning of the year.

¿ Stressgen Biotechnologies Corp., of Victoria, British Columbia, completed ahead of schedule enrollment of its Phase II trial of HspE7 as an immunotherapeutic for genital warts caused by human papillomavirus. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 52 patients since inception in January.

¿ Telik Inc., of South San Francisco, said research results of an insulin receptor activator for the potential treatment of Type II diabetes were published in the April issue of Diabetes. The publication reports studies with TLK16998 showed it sensitized the insulin receptor and reduced blood glucose levels in diabetic mice.

¿ Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, initiated a Phase II study of a combination therapy using two of its monoclonal antibodies, CeaVac and TriAb, in treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group are funding the trial.

¿ Xenogen Corp., of Alameda, Calif., withdrew its initial public offering. The makers of in vivo biophotonic imaging systems filed for an IPO in September, set its price range at $10 to $12 per share and number of shares at 7 million in December, then decreased the price per share to $9 in January. In February the company postponed the IPO due to market conditions and cited those market conditions in the withdrawal Tuesday.

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