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Ambit Announces Update in Its Technology to Screen for Sources of Diseases

A Sorrento Valley company in the habit of selling screening services to big pharmaceutical concerns interested in seeing how various compounds react to select proteins has just announced a bigger, better screening technology.

Ambit Biosciences Chief Executive Officer Scott Salka said this month that its KinomeScan Profiling Technology can now scan for an additional 36 kinases, which are used to target a wide range of diseases, including cancer, as well as metabolic and neurological disorders and inflammation.

“At an ever-accelerating pace, scientists are establishing new links between kinases and disease,” Salka said in a prepared statement. “Our KinomeScan family of services helps our collaboration partners and customers see the full picture surrounding their kinase inhibitor development programs, ensuring that they select the best possible drug candidates to advance into human trials.”

With the additional 36, the Kinome-Scan Profiling Technology now can scan for 353 kinases. Costs were not disclosed.

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Ambit Biosciences is a privately held company that, in addition to its screening services related to kinases, focuses on the development of drugs for the treatment of cancer.

Ambit, which made a reported $4.7 million in 2005, was No. 3 on the San Diego Business Journal’s 2006 list of the fastest-growing private companies, with an 817 percent growth rate since 2003.

Published reports since have suggested that the company’s annual revenue may be more than $9 million. Ambit employs 70 people.

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Money Watch:

Sorrento Valley-based Nereus Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $45 million from the private placement of special preferred stock.

Nereus, which uses marine microbial in the discovery and development of cancer therapeutics, made the announcement Aug. 9.

The local company also named two new members to its board of directors. They are Jesper Zeuthen, lead investor of BankInvest Biomedical Venture of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Erich Platzer, an investment advisor with HBM Partners.

The money raised will be used to complete Phase I and begin Phase II clinical trials for Nereus’ two drug candidates: NPI-2358 for the treatment of solid tumors and lymphomas and NPI-0052 for multiple myeloma, lymphomas and solid tumors.

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In Tool News:

A Carlsbad company recently unveiled a disposable device designed to simplify the process of dividing human embryonic stem cell colonies.

Invitrogen Corp. launched the Stempro EZPassage on Aug. 9 with promises to reduce the work time, improve uniformity and consistency, and decrease training time. Cost of the tool was unavailable.

Invitrogen trades on Nasdaq under the symbol IVGN. Its worldwide revenues last year exceeded $1.15 billion. It employs 4,300 people.

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Coast-To-Coast Deal:

Carlsbad-based Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. has entered into a strategic alliance with an East Coast company, an alliance that includes a broad intellectual property license agreement and research collaboration.

Isis announced the alliance with Cambridge, Mass.-based Archemix Corp. on Aug. 8.

Under the pact, Archemix gains access to 400 issued and pending Isis patents covering proprietary chemistries, analytical methods and manufacturing methods related to the research, development and commercialization of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics used in the discovery and development of drugs.

In return, Isis would receive royalties on products made from the shared information.

Isis would also receive a percentage of revenue generated by Archemix, if Archemix sub-licenses Isis’ discoveries to a third party for further development.

In addition, Isis received a warrant to purchase an undisclosed number of shares of Archemix common stock.

Specific financial terms were not disclosed.

Isis trades on Nasdaq under the symbol ISIS. As of early last week, it was trading at $11.42, down from an opening of $11.68 that day.

Isis employs 274 people and had $22 million in revenues last year.

, Compiled by Heather Chambers and Jessica Long


Send items about the biotech industry to Heather Chambers at

hchambers@sdbj.com

, or call her at (858) 277-6359.

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