¿ Antisoma plc, of London, in-licensed Thioplatin, a tumor-targeting version of platin, a platinum-based drug group widely used against a range of solid tumors. Thioplatin, developed by Eberhard Amtmann of Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, is switched on only by the acidic conditions typically found in tumors. In tumor cell lines and animal models, Thioplatin is as effective as the chemotherapeutic cisplatin, but it is far less toxic to normal tissues. Antisoma said it expected the drug to enter clinical trials within two years.

¿ Ben Gurion University, of the Negev's Biotechnology Institute in Israel, signed an agreement valued at up to $40 million with Haifa-based Frutarom Ltd., Israel's leading flavor and fragrance manufacturer, to develop its discovery of an algae-based antiviral ointment against herpes. The research will be based at Frutarom's fully owned New Jersey nutraceutical subsidiary, Botanicare Inc. The cream has shown the ability to prevent inflammation and accelerate recovery with significant reduction in pain.

¿ Crucell NV, of Amstersdam, the Netherlands, priced its initial public offering of 8 million ordinary shares and American depositary shares at EUR18 (US$14.89) per share, for gross proceeds of EUR144 million (US$119.1 million). Crucell was formed by the merger of IntroGene and U-BiSys in June. Goldman Sachs International was the global coordinator and lead manager, with ING Barings and UBS Warburg acting as co-lead managers. They have an option to purchase another 1.2 million shares. The company's ordinary shares are listed on the Euronext stock exchange in Amsterdam, and the ADSs on the Nasdaq in the U.S. (See BioWorld International, Oct. 18, 2000.)

¿ Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Jerusalem, said it plans to start two sets of clinical trials during early next year, qualifying it for a move to the London Stock Exchange. Last month, Keryx received U.S. FDA approval to design Phase III trials of KRX 101 to treat kidney damage caused by diabetes, and it is seeking approval in Israel for Phase I trials of KRX 123 to treat prostate cancer. That news followed completion of a $46 million initial public offering.

¿ Protherics plc, of Macclesfield, UK, signed contracts worth US$250,000 for its Dock Crunch virtual screening service, which accelerates the discovery of active leads for targets. The contracts, expected to take between two to four months to fulfill, are with Zeneca Agrochemicals, the crop protection business of AstraZeneca plc, and Cytopia Pty Ltd., an Australian biopharmaceutical company. Protherics said it is in advanced discussions with several other companies for similar contracts. Earlier this month Protherics said it would divest its computer-aided molecular design technology to form a separate, independent business.

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