* Biota Holdings Ltd., of Sydney, and its development partner BioStar Inc., of Boulder, Colo., have started clinical trails of their influenza diagnostic kit in the U.S. As previously reported, there will be just one trial of the diagnostic, which combines the antiflu drug Zanamivir, owned by Biota and now undergoing Phase III trials with Glaxo Wellcome plc, of London, and the Optical ImmunoAssay system owned by BioStar. The trials are expected to involve a maximum of 100 people and a diagnostic kit is expected to be available within a year. (See BioWorld International, Dec 31, 1997, p. 1.)

* IsoTis BV, of Bilthoven, the Netherlands, agreed to an 18-month collaboration with U.S.-based Implex Corp. and Switzerland-based Stratec Medical, worth US$3 million in research and development costs and milestones, to develop a biomimetic coating for metal implants. The two metal implant manufacturers will have an option to license the coating technology, called Rainbow, for US$2 million at the end of 18 months. IsoTis also will receive royalties. The Rainbow technology is a technique for overgrowing a metal prosthesis with a bone-like coating. It allows growth factors to be incorporated that are released in situ, stimulating tissue repair.

* Thallia Pharmaceuticals SA, of Lyon, France, which claims to have the largest collection of microalgae in the world, entered an agreement with Pharmacia and Upjohn, of London, for screening Thallia's collection for new active compounds. No terms were disclosed.

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