* Bioglan Pharma plc, a drug-delivery specialist based in Hitchin, U.K., signed a 10-year deal with Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, for application of its biosphere technology. Full terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Novo will invest US$5 million in Bioglan. Novo plans to use Bioglan's biosphere technology in the development of extended-release formulations of therapeutic proteins that are delivered via injection.
* Oxford Biomedica plc, of Oxford, U.K., has been awarded a £400,000 government grant to help fund a Phase I/II trial of a breast cancer therapy. Patient recruitment will begin at the end of 1998, with the first treatment scheduled for early 1999.
* Scotia Holdings plc, of Stirling, Scotland - following the streamlining of its development portfolio from more than 24 projects to six earlier this year - has disclosed plans to further cut costs by consolidating operations. The company will spend £2.5 million on a manufacturing plant for Foscan, its photosensitizing agent for cancer. The new plant, partly funded by regional development grants, will be located on the Isle of Lewis. At the same time Scotia plans to expand its headquarters in Stirling. Once these two developments are complete, in 2000, Scotia will close its manufacturing and laboratory site at Carlisle. Two offices in Guildford have been consolidated into one and Scotia has accepted an offer of C$1 million for its manufacturing facility in Mulgrave, Canada.
* Oxford Asymmetry International plc, a combinatorial chemistry services company based in Abingdon, U.K., shed some light onto the gloomy U.K. biotechnology sector with interim results for the six months ended June 30, 1998, showing sales up 65 percent to £6.1 million and pretax profits doubling to £1.5 million. The company, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in March 1998, said it has orders valued at £20.6 million for delivery before the end of 1999. It has signed nine new contracts for combinatorial libraries and the development of chemical leads. Oxford Asymmetry reported £17.8 million in cash.