¿ Evotec Biosystems AG, of Hamburg, Germany, said it formed a new start-up, Direvo Biotech AG, with co-founders from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, to use directed evolution techniques for optimizing biomolecules for industrial and biological applications. Evotec has licensed its patented EvoScreen technology, which identifies candidate molecules with desired activity profiles, to the new firm, which is based in Goettingen, Germany. Evotec holds 65 percent of Direvo's equity. Co-founders Andre Koltermann, Jens Stephan and Ulrich Kettling hold the remainder.

¿ NeuroSurvival Technologies Ltd., of Petach-Tikva, Israel, completed a second round of financing, raising $7.5 million. NST, founded in 1996 by neurologist Ilan Ziv, is developing tools to detect and modulate disease processes associated with apoptosis, or programmed cell death. The funding originated from Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., the venture capital arm of Johnson & Johnson, and Bargal R&D Ltd., and Tel Aviv-based firms Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd., Federman Holdings Ltd., Modgal-Tech Ltd., Poalim Investments Ltd. and Technorov Holdings Ltd.

¿ NicOx SA, of Sophia-Antipolis, France, said at a recent conference that a drug it is developing in the area of neuroinflammation, NCX 2216, had yielded promising results in preclinical tests, indicating potential for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. NCX 2216 is the first nitric oxide-releasing anti-inflammatory with anti-oxidant properties whose effect has been characterized in animal models of chronic brain inflammation. The drug releases nitric oxide inside the brain following peripheral administration by subcutaneous route and has the ability to reduce behavioral impairments as well as inflammation. The results were reported in a scientific paper titled ''An investigation of mechanisms to prevent the cytotoxicity of chronic neuroinflammation upon basic forebrain cholinergic neurons in young rats.''

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