¿ CeNeS Pharmaceuticals plc, of Cambridge, UK, agreed to a drug delivery collaboration under which it will generate a novel formulation of a new fertility drug currently being developed by Ares-Serono SA, of Geneva, Switzerland. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CeNeS will receive research fees, and if the project is successful, will manufacture the formulation at its facility in Irvine, Scotland. The project will involve using CeNeS' prolonged-release gel systems and injection technologies to direct the fertility drug to its site of action in the body.
¿ Gemini Holdings plc, of Cambridge, England, changed its name to Gemini Genomics plc. The company's Swedish subsidiary, Eurona Medical AB, also has been renamed Gemini Genomics AB. When it was founded, Gemini was focused on twins' data, and the company said the new name more accurately reflected the fact that it is now working with diverse population cohorts.
¿ Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., a drug development company based in Jerusalem, appointed Carson Group Managing Director Wayne Rothbaum and MHR Fund Management LLC President Mark Rachesky to its board of directors. During the past 18 months Keryx, through its proprietary KinAce core technology, has identified 11 in vivo drug leads for more than 15 indications using public genomic databases. The technology is based on modulating kinases, signal transduction enzymes, that serve as cell messengers.
¿ PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc, of Oxford, UK, claimed "continuing success" in its DNA vaccine collaboration with Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London, when it announced an extension to the deal under which it will receive US$1.75 million in new license and option fees. Glaxo has agreed to purchase a further DNA vaccine license in an undisclosed disease. In addition, it has renewed its options for two cancer antigens and one other undisclosed disease area and continues to retain its option rights to three other fields covered by the original agreement, signed in March 1998. PowderJect formulates the vaccines using DNA from pathogens adhered to microscopic gold particles. The dry-powder formulation is delivered with PowderJect's needle-free injection system.
¿ Profile Therapeutics plc shares started trading on the London Stock Exchange on Friday. The drug delivery company, of Bognor Regis, UK, raised #25.5 million (US$40.7 million). It had an opening price of #1.70, giving it a market capitalization of #81 million. Profile said it will spend the money on the development of its platform technology, an intelligent inhaled drug delivery system. The system, called adaptive aerosol delivery, can be used for topical delivery to the lungs to treat respiratory diseases and for systemic delivery of protein and peptide drugs.
¿ Provalis plc, of Deeside, Wales, formerly named Cortecs plc, agreed to a licensing deal with SmithKline Beecham plc, of London, for the development and commercialization of its Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella cattarhalis antigens as a pediatric vaccine for the prevention of the ear infection otitis media. Terms were not disclosed. The company said it is exploring similar deals for its other antigen sets. This marks the culmination of the restructuring of Cortecs, which led to the name change and the decision to focus R&D on vaccines.