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Newron Pharmaceuticals, Evotec OAI and Mitsubishi Pharma, Millipore, HistoRx, Society for Biomolecular Screening, and Cenix BioScience and Schering


Newron Pharma Raises €30 Million

ItalianCNS drug-discovery firm Newron Pharmaceuticals said last week that it has raised €30 million ($39.8 million) in venture capital funding.

HBM Partners, on behalf of HBM BioCapital and HBM Bioventures, led the financing round. Existing investors 3i Group, Apax Partners, and Atlas Ventures all participated in the round, as well.

Newron said that approximately €23 million in funding closed last week, while the remaining €7 million would remain open for a few weeks.

In December, Newron announced that it had received approximately €1.8 million from the European Commission to develop an innovative integrated system for efficient high-throughput screening of molecules for ion channel targets (see Inside Bioassays, 12/7/2004).

Evotec Enters Medicinal Chemistry Agreement with Mitsubishi Pharma

Evotec OAI said this week that it will support Japanese drug maker Mitsubishi Pharma in its medicinal chemistry programs.

Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec will support Mitsubishi in advancing compound hit series identified by Mitsubishi for their drug targets. Evotec will expand and improve early structure-activity-relationships and drug-like properties of the compounds with the aim of progressing them into hit-to-lead and lead optimization programs.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Millipore Merges Life Sciences, Lab-Water Divisions

Millipore last week announced that it has created a new Bioscience business unit that combines its life sciences and laboratory-water divisions.

Dominique Baly, president of the laboratory water division, will head the new organization, the Billerica, Mass.-based company said. The reorganization was done to improve sales effectiveness and focus R&D investments in the laboratory area, Millipore said in a statement.

HistoRx to Outlicense Fluorescence-Based Tissue Analysis Platform

HistoRx said last week that it plans to make its proprietary fluorescence-based AQUA (Automated Quantitative Analysis) tissue analysis platform available for licensing through a new program being offered to pathologists and non-commercial research institutions in North America and Europe.

The program, called HARP (HistoRx Academic Research Program), was unveiled at the US and Canadian Academy of Pathology annual meeting this week in San Antonio, Texas.

The program will provide access to high-throughput technology that enables pathology researchers interested in tissue proteomics and tissue biomarkers to quantify and localize proteins in subcellular compartments in tissue using fluorescence readout technology, HistoRx said.

SBS Announces Keynote Speakers for Annual Meeting

The Society for Biomolecular Screening last week announced keynote speakers for its annual conference, to be held Sept. 11-15 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The keynote speakers are:

• Kurt Wuthrich, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and a professor in the department of molecular biology at the Scripps Research Institute; and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule. Wuthrich’s presentation is entitled “NMR for Screening and Structure Determination in Structural Genomics.”

• Klaus Lindpainter, head of Roche Genetics and the Roche Center for Medical Genomics. Lindpainter will present “Biomarkers: Hype, Hope, and the Reality of Health Care.”

• Chris Austin, director of the Chemical Genomics Center at the National Institutes of Health. Austin will present “The NIH Molecular Libraries Roadmap Initiative.”

• Gunther Stock, chief scientific officer of Schering AG. Stock’s presentation is entitled “The Biomedical Century and its Opportunities for Drug Development.”

Cenix BioScience Providing RNAi Services to Schering

Cenix BioScience of Dresden, Germany, is providing Schering with RNA interference research services to prioritize drug targets, Cenix said this week.

Under two projects, which began at the end of 2004, Cenix has been validating candidate genes for drug targets provided by Schering using high-throughput RNAi and high-content phenotype analyses in human and mouse cell lines.

The companies disclosed neither the disease areas nor financial terms of the agreement.


The Scan

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A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

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Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.