¿ Alpha Therapeutic Corp., of Los Angeles, said the FDA granted it permission to resume production of albumin in its Los Angeles plant. Albumin production was suspended last July, and the company has since conducted validation and training activities to address Good Manufacturing Practices compliance issues.

¿ Arcus Therapeutics LLC, of Watertown, Mass., a joint venture between Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tustin, Calif., and OXiGENE Inc., of Boston, said a publication in Cancer Research validates its vascular targeting agent technology for treating cancer, showing treatment of three types of solid tumors in mice. Vascular targeting agents act by cutting off oxygen and nutrient supplies to tumor cells.

¿ CuraGen Corp., of New Haven, Conn., and Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, closed and received clearance from U.S. regulatory agencies for their genomics agreement. The partnership calls for an $85 million purchase of CuraGen stock by Bayer, and aims at discovering, developing and commercializing small-molecule drugs for treatment of obesity and adult-onset diabetes. The companies entered the agreement, which calls for joint research funding for up to 15 years and worth about $1.34 billion, in January. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 17, 2001.)

¿ Cytogen Corp., of Princeton, N.J., entered long-term purchasing agreements with several prostate cancer treatment centers for the use of BrachySeed, Cytogen's second-generation radioactive pellet for direct prostate implantation for treatment of localized prostate cancer. ProstaScint, a diagnostic agent, was included in some of the purchase agreements.

¿ DiscoveRx Corp., of Fremont, Calif., received two Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grants to investigate the use of its HitHunter enzyme fragment complementation (EFC) technology. The first grant aims at accelerating research into providing high-throughput homogenous methods for G protein-coupled receptor binding assays using DiscoveRx technology. The second grant will fund an investigation into the use of complementation in DNA detection methods, and accelerate research into novel homogenous methods for detection of nucleases, single nucleotide polymorphisms and other mutations.

¿ Genesoft Inc., of South San Francisco, appointed Gary Patou president. Patou is the former senior vice president and director, project and portfolio management, at GlaxoSmithKline plc, of Brentford, UK.

¿ IGEN International Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., signed a letter of intent to enter a collaboration with the National Cancer Institute to jointly develop techniques and products for cancer research based on IGEN's Origen biological detection technology, and commenced work on the joint program. An expansion of the program, currently being discussed, to a cooperative research and development agreement, would provide IGEN with the right to license patents developed during the collaboration. The program aims to develop Origen-based assays and reagents for the detection of ubiquitin, a molecule that plays a role in the signaling and control processes of cells by targeting proteins for degradation. IGEN also said it extended its joint venture with Meso Scale Technologies LLC through April 20.

¿ Luminex Corp., of Dallas, and Dynacare Inc., of Austin, Texas, entered a strategic partnership to develop and commercialize clinical laboratory assays based on Luminex's LabMAP technology. Terms of the partnership, which will grant Dynacare broad access to Luminex's multiplexing assay technology, were undisclosed.

¿ Maret Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newport Beach, Calif., appointed Leonard Borrmann as president and CEO. Borrmann is the former CEO of Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego.

¿ Maxia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, appointed Richard Piazza president and CEO. Piazza is the former CEO of VitaGen Inc., of La Jolla, Calif.

¿ Nabi, of Boca Raton, Fla., said new in vitro data confirm that human antibodies elicited by StaphVAX (S. aureus polysaccharide conjugate vaccine) could combat both antibiotic-resistant and antibiotic-sensitive strains of S. aureus. Data indicate that antibiotic-resistant S. aureus strains are susceptible to capsular polysaccharide-specific antibody-mediated opsonophagocytosis, a process through which opsonizing antibodies specific to the S. aureus capsular polysaccharides bind to the bacterial surface, opening the bacteria to attack by polymorphonuclear leukocytes, which engulf and kill the bacteria.

¿ Sangui BioTech International Inc., of Santa Ana, Calif., said its wholly owned subsidiary, SanguiBioTech AG, of Witten, Germany, concluded pilot production for the manufacture of artificial oxygen carriers. The company said it will further optimize the production process in preparation for the manufacture of major batches.

¿ Ortec International Inc., of New York, received approval from the FDA to market its composite cultured skin product for use in patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa undergoing hand reconstruction surgery. The FDA also approved the skin product for use in covering donor sites where skin was removed from another part of the patient's body. The approval comes under the humanitarian device exemption, a provision that allows medical devices that provide safe treatment to be available in a prescribed manner for patients with rare medical conditions that affect fewer than 4,000 individuals in the U.S. per year.

¿ Virco Inc., of Baltimore, said a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates the hypermethylation of the BRCA1 gene was found to turn off gene expression and resulted in a breast cancer tumor. Virco holds the patent for any diagnostic test or service based on methylation, and is developing a test that would allow physicians to differentiate between tumors resulting from inherited BRCA1 mutations and those caused by noninherited abnormal methylation of the gene.