¿ Oxford GlycoSciences plc, of Oxford, UK, received FDA fast-track designation for OGT 918 for the treatment of Gaucher disease. OGT 918, a glucosyltransferase inhibitor, is an oral treatment that has shown significant benefits over the current therapy, which involves repeated intravenous administration of replacement enzyme. A further dosing trial is under way, as is a study in patients currently receiving enzyme who are randomized to either continue on enzyme, switch to OGT 918, or receive both in combination.

¿ Prolifix Ltd., of Abingdon, UK, which is focused on the cell cycle, has signed a collaboration with the University of Marburg, Germany, to work on the Myc oncoprotein. This cell cycle protein is implicated in the formation and growth of a range of tumors. Under the deal, work carried out by Martin Eilers, an authority on Myc, will be transferred to Prolifix for use in its drug discovery programs. Eilers already has isolated a number of proteins that control the activity of Myc.

¿ The Roslin Institute, of Edinburgh, Scotland, home of Dolly the cloned sheep, has been granted two further patents on nuclear transfer by the UK patent office. The patents cover techniques for delaying activation during nuclear transfer, allowing the nucleus to be reprogrammed before being activated. The claims are not limited to the use of quiescent donor cells. PPL Therapeutics plc, of Edinburgh, has the rights to use this technology in the production of pharmaceutical proteins in the milk of ruminants and rabbits, while Geron Corp. in Menlo Park, Calif., has the exclusive worldwide license for all other applications of these patents excluding human reproductive cloning.