* Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and Research Genetics Inc., of Huntsville, Ala., entered into an agreement allowing Research Genetics to offer gene expression monitoring services to commercial and academic researchers using Affymetrix's GeneChip technology. Affymetrix will sell GeneChip arrays to Research Genetics, who will then offer screening and data analysis services to third-party customers based on the Affymetrix GeneChip platform. The GeneChip system consists of disposable DNA probe arrays containing gene sequences on a chip, reagents for use with the probe arrays, a scanner and other instruments to process the probe arrays, and software to analyze and manage genetic information.

* Avi Biopharma Inc., of Portland, Ore., reported that Phase Ib/II data on Avicine, its therapeutic cancer vaccine, strongly suggest Avicine is a safe and well-tolerated. The two trials involved patients with pancreatic cancer. Avicine elicits a highly specific immune response to the human hormone and growth factor hCG, a cancer-associated oncofetal protein.

* Boston Probes Inc., of Boston, formed a strategic alliance with Millipore Corp., of Bedford, Mass., to develop peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probe-based tests. Millipore will then distribute them to the industrial microbiological marketplace. Probe-based assays rely on strands of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA), called probes, to identify complementary DNA or RNA in a sample, which will allow detection and diagnosis of disease. Terms were not released.

* Cell Genesys Inc., of Foster City, Calif., and Collateral Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, started a research collaboration for cardiovascular gene therapy. Collateral will evaluate Cell Genesys' second-generation recombinant adenoviral vectors in preclinical studies of cardiovascular gene therapy. Financial terms were not disclosed.

* Celtrix Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., reported final Phase II results of SomatoKine in the treatment of severely osteoporotic hip fracture surgery patients. The final data revealed significant treatment results in several key measurements, including hip bone mass and tests of functional ability. Before starting Phase III, Celtrix intends to establish corporate partnerships. SomatoKine is the recombinant equivalent of the natural complex IGF-BP3, formed by the anabolic hormone insulin-like growth factor-I and its major regulatory binding protein (BP3).

* Cistron Biotechnology Inc., of Pine Brook, N.J., reported that a preclinical study of surgical wounds indicates that IL-1 beta (IL-1b) increased cell recruitment, tissue growth and production of key wound healing factors. The results were presented at the Acute and Chronic Wound Healing Conference, in Orlando, Fla.

* CombiChem Inc., of New York, and Chirotech Technology Ltd., of Cambridge, U.K., established ChiroChem Discovery Services LLC, a company that will develop and market computationally designed libraries of single-isomer, chiral compounds. Chirotech will prove multifunctional chiral templates that will be used by CombiChem as platforms to design and synthesize chiral compound libraries. These libraries will be marketed under the ChiroChem name. Financial terms were not disclosed.

* Corvas International Inc., of San Diego, began international, multicenter Phase II trials of its injectable anticoagulant, rNAPc2, for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and other thrombotic complications following orthopedic surgery. The drug is a small protein originally discovered in blood-feeding hookworms and is manufactured as a recombinant protein for clinical use.

* Digene Corp., of Beltsville, Md., reported that the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health approved its Hybrid Capture II HPV DNA test for marketing. The test helps in identifying women who are most at risk of having or developing cervical disease and cervical cancer. In the U.S., it is used as an adjunct to the Pap smear for cervical cancer screening.

* Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Wilmington, Del., and Zeneca Group plc., of Fernhurst, U.K, extended a pharmaceutical collaboration to include agrigenomics. The agreement allows Zeneca to study multigenic pathways, or thousands of genes at a time, in a single experiment. The deal is with Zeneca Agrochemicals, the crop protection and plant science business of Zeneca Group plc.

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