¿ Acadia Pharmaceuticals, of San Diego, said it discovered a novel mechanism of action shared by most antipsychotic drugs. Detailed pharmacological profiling of antipsychotic drugs revealed that nearly all are potent inverse agonists of the 5-HT2A (serotonin 2A) receptor, the company said. Acadia said it has filed patent applications for use of this mechanism in drug discovery and has identified lead compounds with efficacy in animal models of schizophrenia.

¿ Agritope Inc., of Portland, Ore., said evaluations of its trials of cantaloupe and raspberry varieties show positive benefits, including improved harvest and storage characteristics, when compared to the control fruit. All of the trials involved products containing Agritope¿s ripening control technology.

¿ Alkermes Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split and an increase in the authorized shares of common stock from 80 million to 160 million shares. The proposal will be submitted to shareholders for approval at a special meeting held on April 28.

¿ Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., initiated a multicenter Phase I/II trial of GVAX lung cancer vaccine. The trial follows an initial pilot study that demonstrated preliminary evidence of antitumor activity in advanced lung cancer patients who failed chemotherapy. The new trial will be held at five medical centers in the U.S. and will enroll about 40 patients who will receive the vaccine over a three-month period. They then will be monitored for another six months.

¿ Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc., of Richmond, Va., said CosmoBio Co. Ltd. and KN International LLC, both of Tokyo, have agreed to license the company¿s proprietary DNA sequencing aid, AccuTrac, giving the company a greater presence in the Pacific Rim countries.

¿ GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc., of Toronto, said it completed a private placement of special warrants for gross proceeds of C$15 million (US$10.32 million). The placement of 10.34 million special warrants, each exercisable into one common share at C$1.45 per share, was sold by a syndicate led by HSBC Securities (Canada) Inc., of Toronto, and including Yorkton Securities, also of Toronto.

¿ GPC AG, of Munich, Germany, and Atugen AG, of Berlin, entered into a strategic alliance to provide major life sciences companies with a functional genomics and proteomics platform for the rapid identification and validation of novel drug discovery targets. The platforms have applications in major disease areas, such as oncology, central nervous system diseases, cardiovascular diseases and metabolic diseases.

¿ Hemispherx Biopharma Inc., of Philadelphia, said its board authorized the repurchase of up to 200,000 additional shares of the company¿s publicly traded common stock. The shares may be purchased on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions until April 28.

¿ Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, entered into a research collaboration with Henry Lardy, emeritus professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Hollis-Eden will fund a team of researchers led by Lardy that is investigating new compounds in the area of enzymology and adrenal steroid hormones. Hollis-Eden will have exclusive license rights to all discoveries derived from the collaboration.

¿ King Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Bristol, Tenn., and Medco Research Inc., of Research Triangle Park, N.C., completed their merger in a tax-free pooling of interests transaction. Under terms of the agreement, Medco shareholders will receive 0.6757 shares of King common stock in exchange for each share of Medco common stock.

¿ Lorus Therapeutics Inc., of Toronto, said its two lead anticancer drugs, GTI-2040 and GTI-2501, showed significant antitumor activity in mouse models containing human prostate cancer cells. Both drugs produced marked reductions in tumor growth, and the GTI-2501 treatment also led to disease stabilization, the company said.

¿ Maxia Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Diego, said preclinical studies of MX6054, a novel small-molecule insulin sensitizer in development to treat Type II diabetes, demonstrated positive results. The product improved key indicators of Type II diabetes by providing significant reductions in serum glucose and triglycerides, and improved insulin sensitivity, the company said.

¿ Maxygen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., signed a cooperative research and development agreement with the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute for the development of certain specific pharmaceutical proteins. In the three-year collaboration, Maxygen will apply its MolecularBreeding directed molecular evolution technologies to develop novel protein pharmaceuticals for use in the treatment of certain cancers. The specific target proteins and indications were not disclosed. Maxygen¿s stock (NASDAQ:MAXY) rose almost 14 percent Monday to close at $157.25, up $19.25.

¿ Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split of its common shares to be effected in the form of a stock dividend. Stockholders of record on March 28 will be entitled to one additional share of common stock for each share of the company¿s common stock held on that date. The dividend distribution date will be April 18. Upon completion of the split, Millennium will have about 90 million shares outstanding.

¿ Nabi, of Boca Raton, Fla., said results from preclinical studies on Nabi NicVAX, nicotine conjugate vaccine, demonstrated that nicotine-specific antibodies, induced by the NicVAX vaccine, were able to attenuate the induction of nicotine dependence in rats, even when the rats were exposed over a seven-day period to an amount of nicotine equivalent to that absorbed from 1,400 cigarettes smoked. The results suggest that immunization with NicVAX might be useful in preventing the initial acquisition of nicotine dependence or its reacquisition after a period of smoking cessation.

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