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Juvaris BioTherapeutics and SomaGenics, Invitrogen and Agile Software, Genta, and Qiagen

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Juvaris, SomaGenics Ink Product Development Deal

Juvaris BioTherapeutics has formed a collaboration to develop products combining its immunomodulatory and vaccine technologies with SomaGenics’ RNA-based gene inhibition technology, the companies said this week.

The companies said that the initial focus of the alliance will be on a novel immune stimulant and specific gene inhibitor combination that could be used to elicit non-specific and specific protection against anthrax and anthrax toxin.

SomaGenics and Juvaris said that their efforts could expand into other areas, including infectious diseases and cancer.

Specific terms of the partnership were not disclosed.


Invitrogen to Use Agile Product Lifecycle Management Infrastructure

Agile Software said this week that it has been selected to optimize product lifecycle decisions and processes through its computerized infrastructure for Invitrogen.

According to Agile, the infrastructure will allow Invitrogen to improve its performance in portfolio and program management, new product introductions, and research and development.

“Agile provides us with the program management capabilities that we need to promote accountability for completing deliverables, executive level visibility into our portfolio of programs, and real time decision support that will allow us to make smarter, more timely decisions,” Elaine Snowhill, vice president of program management at Invitrogen, said in a statement.

Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.


Another Law firm Joins Class Action Suit Against Genta

Squitieri & Fearon this week said that it has become the latest law firm to become involved in a class action lawsuit charging Genta with securities fraud.

The suit alleges that Genta and certain of its officers issued materially false and misleading statements about the safety of the company’s antisense cancer drug Genasense, thereby inflating the value of the company’s stock. Late last month, a US Food and Drug Administration advisory board stated that Genasense failed to demonstrate a survival benefit. It later said that the adverse events associated with Genasense outweighed its benefits and recommended that the drug not receive market approval.

Shares of Genta tumbled on the news.

The law suit seeks to recover damages for all purchasers of Genta stock between Sept. 10, 2003 and May 3, 2004.


Qiagen to Open Benelux Subsidiary

Qiagen said this week that it will open a Benelux subsidiary in the Netherlands.

Qiagen Benelux will serve customers in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, and will open on May 15.

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.