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Industry Ag Giant BASF to Use Cibus’ Genetic Modification System

One of the world’s largest agricultural and chemical companies will use Cibus LLC’s technology for improving the herbicide tolerance of rapeseed and canola plants.

Privately held Cibus develops ways to genetically improve crops without using foreign material.

Genetic modification using foreign material or genes from other species has been controversial, with concerns about health effects and some European governments banning the practice.

BASF will use Cibus’ Rapid Trait Development System, or RTDS, which repairs genes of a plant using genetic material from its own species. San Diego-based Cibus says this reduces health risks and government hurdles.

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the collaboration.

Cibus was founded in 2001 and has 29 employees.

Based in Germany, BASF has 95,000 employees working in several divisions, including agricultural products, chemicals, plastics, and oil and gas. The agricultural product division had sales of $3 billion in 2005.

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Sen. Feinstein Commends NanoBio & #173;Nexus:

NanoBioNexus, a regional nonprofit trade group for nanotechnology, held Reach for the Stars, its second annual gala, this month.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a representative to the event, held at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies on July 11.

“Nanotechnology is opening new doors and offering hope to thousands of patients diagnosed with cancer daily,” Feinstein wrote in a letter to NanoBioNexus. ” NanoBioNexus is leading the way in NanoBiotech education.”

Adriana Vela founded NanoBio & #173;Nexus in 2004, and last year, the National Cancer Institute granted the organization $700,000 to co-lead the educational component of the Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence at UC San Diego.

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KFx Recruits Kaiser Doc:

Carlsbad-based KFx Medical Corp. named Dr. Ronald Navarro to its scientific advisory board.

Navarro is chief of the Department of Orthopedics and director of orthopedic sports medicine at Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center in Harbor City, near Los Angeles. In January, he will become the assistant in charge of surgical services to the medical director there.

KFx sells a knotless tissue fixation device used by surgeons to help in rotator cuff repair. The device received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in 2006.

Victory Doubles Sales Force: Victory Pharma Inc. is doubling its sales force to sell Naprelan, a pain medication.

Naprelan is a prescription-strength, once-a-day formulation of naproxen sodium. Naproxen sodium is also in the over-the-counter painkiller Aleve.

The company could not be reached to find out how many people are on its sales force.

Mike Goolsby, vice president of sales, said in a press release that sales have more than doubled since January, when Victory began promoting Naprelan.

San Diego-based Victory is a specialty pharmaceutical company, acquiring and developing pain medications.

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Former J & J; Exec Joins Trius:

Trius Therapeutics Inc., a privately held biotechnology company developing anti-bacterial drugs, has recruited a former Johnson & Johnson executive as its new chief medical officer.

Dr. Philippe Prokocimer has held vice president positions with J & J; and Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. He has been involved with the filing of several new drug applications at the FDA.

Trius’ lead candidate, TR-701, is expected to begin clinical trials by the end of this year.


Contact Katie Weeks with biotechnology news at

kweeks@sdbj.com

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

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