¿ Biomax Informatics AG, of Martinsried, Germany, and InforMax Inc., of Rockville, Md., entered a four-year agreement granting InforMax exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the BioRS system for integration and retrieval of biological data. "It is a multimillion-dollar deal," Biomax spokeswoman Peyton Hughes said. The system enables researchers to manage and query hundreds of biological databases through web interfaces. The companies will integrate BioRS's capabilities with the InforMax platform for marketing of the combined technologies by InforMax.

¿ Crucell NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, signed another licensing agreement for its PER.C6 adenoviral packaging cell line technology, this time with Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif. Crucell has now licensed its PER.C6 technology to a total of 15 companies. Cell Genesys is developing gene therapies and vaccines for major life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, hemophilia, cardiovascular diseases and Parkinson's disease.

¿ Sofinnova Partners, a Paris-based venture capital firm, brought on Bernard Gilly, former president and CEO of the Strasbourg-based gene therapy company Transgene, as a partner in the life sciences department. He left Transgene in November and becomes the seventh partner in Sofinnova, which manages funds of close to FFr3 billion (US$440 million). Its life sciences department was an early stage investor in numerous French biopharmaceutical companies, including Genset, Cerep, NicOx, Actelion and NovusPharma.