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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round up of drug discovery and development stories.

Shire strikes hyperactivity deal

Shire Pharmaceuticals has struck a deal with US pharma group New River Pharmaceuticals to develop a new treatment for hyperactivity disorders. The agreement will see the two companies jointly develop and commercialise the drug NRP104 which is currently in phase III clinical trials. Shire already markets a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), known as Adderall XR, but is expected to face generic competition from 2006 or 2007. Investors have reacted positively to the news with shares in Shire climbing more than 5 per cent in early trading.

Competitive Council aims outlined

The Luxembourg government has outlined its aims for the Competitive Council meeting due to take place in April 2005. The country, which will hold European Union (EU) Presidency for the meeting, will focus on supporting the creation of a European Research Area and promoting increased R&D investment. The Luxembourg Presidency will also prioritise promoting scientific careers, attracting the best scientists to the EU and nanotechnology.

Parkinson's disease success

Stem cells from monkeys have successfully repaired brain damage caused by Parkinson's disease. A team of researchers from the University of Kyoto, Japan, took stem cells from monkeys which were manipulated to grow into brain cells by exposing the cells to a growth factor produced in the area of the brain affected by Parkinson's disease. After being transplanted into monkeys, the cells repaired brain damage and reduced the symptoms of the disease. The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Norak Biosciences changes name

US biotech company, Norak Biosciences, has changed its name to Xsira Pharmaceuticals with immediate effect. The privately owned company said that it was changing its name as part of a plan to transition the company from a platform technology firm to a product development firm. Dr Roger Blevins, president and chief executive officer of Xsira said that its Transfluor technology and pipeline had evolved to the point where “separation is now in the best interest of the company”.

30th September 2008

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