¿ Oxford BioMedica plc, of Oxford, UK, and PolyMASC Pharmaceuticals, of London, agreed to collaborate on the development of an enhanced version of Oxford BioMedica's gene-activated cancer therapeutic, MetXia. The aim is to enable MetXia to selectively target tumors by coating it with PolyMASC's viraMASC PEGylation process. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. PolyMASC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Valentis Inc., of Burlingame, Calif.

¿ Oxxon Pharmaccines, of Oxford, England, agreed to a license deal with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London for tumor-associated antigens. The deal covers antigens that are able to stimulate an immune response in vitro and induce tumor regression in vivo, in melanoma. Oxxon will link the antigens to its prime boost technology for antigen delivery.

¿ Protherics plc, of Macclesfield, UK, said it received approval to commence Phase III trials of TriTAb for the treatment of tricyclic depression overdose. However, Altana Inc., which held the U.S. distribution rights, has handed them back. Protherics CEO Andrew Heath told BioWorld International, "We are presently evaluating the manufacturing process. We got good results in Phase II, but you need large quantities of antibodies and we have to know we can manufacture them cheaply enough to make a profit." With falling use of tricyclic antidepressants the market for a treatment for overdoses has fallen also. Heath said Protherics could market TriTAb itself but may decide to drop it if manufacturing costs are too high.