Dancing with bears is how one biotech executive once described his company's product development relationships with multinational pharma companies. "You go where they go and at the speed they want to go at and there is not much you can do about it," the executive said.

Last week, Active Biotech AB decided that it needed to switch partners and announced the unwinding of several vaccine projects with SmithKline Beecham plc. Fortunately, Aventis Pasteur SA (AVE, Lyon, France) was at hand to pick up some of the pieces.