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ActivX Biosciences, Pfizer, Syn X Pharma, Large Scale Biology, New Media Japan, Expression Pathology, Invitrogen, Macadamian Technologies, Astex Technology, Jubilant Biosys


ActivX Partners with Pfizer

ActivX Biosciences of La Jolla, Calif., said this week that it has started a collaboration with Pfizer.

ActivX said that it will use its technology base to analyze specific protein activities in order to characterize a compound that is currently under development at Pfizer.


Syn X Pharma Receives CA$3M In Debenture Financing

Syn X Pharma of Toronto said this week that it had received over CA$3 million ($2.2 million) of debenture financing from its major investors, directors company management. The debenture offering will remain open for another 60 days and will be capped at CA$5 million ($3.6 million).

Syn X has also issued over 1.5 million warrants, each of which entitles the bearer to a share of the company that is redeemable for CA 83 cents at any time before July 31, 2005.

The debentures, which also mature in July 2005, will finance Syn X’s ongoing work on congestive heart failure point-of-care diagnostics, according to Syn X CFO Eugene Bortoluzzi.


LSBC Partners with New Media Japan for Asia Promotions

Large Scale Biology announced this week that it has appointed Tokyo-based New Media Japan to promote LSBC’s products to potential pharma partners throughout Asia.

LSBC cited its recombinant aprotinin, alpha galactosidase A, and plant-produced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma vaccine as candidate products for such partnerships.

According to New Media Japan’s managing director Keiji Nagano, opportunities in Japan could be promising due to drug laws that would provide exclusivity for novel applications of alpha galactosidase A. He also noted that the public is skittish about the bovine-derived aprotinin in use in Japan now, and might welcome LSBC’s recombinant version.

Expression Pathology Receives $100K SBIR Grant for Tissue Protein Arrays

Expression Pathology of Rockville, Md., announced this week that it has received a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the NIH to develop its tissue protein array technology.

The technology consists of several steps in tissue preparation and array analysis, including a laser-assisted automated microdissection method called ExCellerator that collects histological features from diseased and normal fixed tissue samples, and another method, Liquid Tissue, that extracts the collected proteins for microarray preparation.

Once on the array, specific proteins are detected and quantified using standard array scanners and immunodetection methods.

Expression Pathology is ultimately developing a comprehensive system called HistoChip that will allow for high-throughput, large-scale analysis of tissue proteins and the linking of data directly to histopathology information, the company said.

The grant is sponsored by the NCI.


Invitrogen Acquires Molecular Probes for $325M

Carlsbad, Calif.-based Invitrogen said last week that it will acquire Molecular Probes of Eugene, Ore., for $325 million.

Molecular Probes leads the industry in the production of novel fluorescent labeling reagents and is expecting revenues of $66 million in 2003. The company took in $56 million in 2002. Invitrogen plans to maintain fully operational facilities and staff at Molecular Probes’ headquarters in Eugene as well as at the company’s location in the Netherlands.

The acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies. The final deal is scheduled to close in the current quarter.


Macadamian Completes Software for Ionalytics Selectra

Macadamian Technologies of Ottawa, Canada, announced this week that it had successfully created control software for use with Ionalytics Selectra, an ion-filter instrument for mass spectrometers developed by Ionalytics, also of Ottawa.

Selectra is a mass spec accessory that uses High-Field Asymmetric Waveform Ion Mobility Spectrometry, or FAIMS, to selectively submit subsets of ions for analysis in the mass spec by applying voltage to a pair of electrodes (see PM 6-20-03).

The newly developed software, according to Macadamian, will give users “precision control” over the Selectra device.


Astex Renews Astrazeneca Deal, Partners with Jubilant Biosys

Astex Technology of Cambridge, UK, announced this week that it is extending for three years an existing research agreement with AstraZeneca that focuses on solving novel cytochrome P450 crystal structures. Since first partnering with AstraZeneca in 2001, Astex has solved the first crystal structures of human P450s. It is now looking at P450 drug activation and drug rescue. Astex has since March also collaborated with AstraZeneca on the development of a drug for Alzheimer’s disease, using fragment-based drug discovery — its X-ray crystallography-based approach — to identify drug candidates.

In addition, Jubilant Biosys of Bangalore, India, announced this week that it has licensed its kinase target database to Astex. Jubilant provides bioinformatics and chemoinformatics services. Under the license, Astex will be able to use the database, called the Kinase ChemBioBase, in its lead compound research.

The content in this database is what gives Jubilant a competitive edge, according to Sreeni Devidas, vice president of business development and strategy at Jubilant. The database “has all the relevant information that has never been worked on in kinases,” he said, including “over 170,000 compounds and 200,000 structure-activity relationships.”

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.