¿ Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, UK, said it successfully completed the Phase Ia trial of its obesity drug, ATL-962. In the trial of 32 healthy volunteers, eight received placebo and 24 received ATL-962 at one of four doses. No adverse events were reported. The Phase 1b trial of the compound, a lipase inhibitor, is due to start around September. The company also announced that is has raised #2.8 million (US$4.2 million) through the exercise of warrants issued in a placing and open offer in July 1999.

¿ Prolifix Ltd., of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, acquired rights to a new target that could lead to small-molecule drugs that will enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer. The rights cover the breakdown of Cyclin D1, a cell-cycle protein that stimulates cell division. Its overexpression plays a central role in a number of cancers, particularly breast cancer. Netherlands Cancer Institute researchers discovered that when DNA is damaged by radiation or cytotoxics, Cyclin D1 is specifically and rapidly degraded. This breakdown blocks cell proliferation and gives the cells time to repair their genetic material, allowing them, subsequently, to carry on dividing successfully.

¿ The Australian government released a policy document stating it intends to establish a government agency to regulate all activities concerning genetically modified organisms and food. To be called the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, the agency will take over genetic regulation from a number of state and federal agencies, including the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee. In addition, the report declares that the federal government will collaborate with state governments and private investors to set up "proof of concept" or "seed" funds to provide money for biotech ideas that still are short of venture capital stage. However, the report did not give any additional details about the funds.

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