Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) in Herndon and the Florida Technological Research and Development Authority have formed a joint venture to fund commercial space research and development projects, the CIT said.

The program is intended to develop research and development teams of university researchers and industry partners in Virginia and Florida to pursue commercial space research.

The program will require some funding from private industry, the Virginia agency said. CIT money will only be awarded to Virginia universities and the Florida agency will only give money to Florida schools.

Projects that lead to long-term partnerships of industry and universities are particularly encouraged, a CIT statement said. Also encouraged are projects involving small satellite systems, environmental monitoring, remote sensing and space-related business issues.

Nova Pharmaceutical Corp., a Baltimore-based drug research and development company, expects to raise $25 million with a stock offering of 2.5 million convertible, exchangeable preferred shares.

Nova will use the proceeds to finance research and development and commercialization of certain products, and for general corporate purposes, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The preferred shares are convertible to common stock at any time at a yet undetermined rate. The shares are expected to be offered for $10 each through Lehman Brothers and PaineWebber Inc.

Nycal Corp. of Washington has agreed through a stock swap to acquire a controlling 50.7 percent interest in Shepard Insurance Group Ltd., a Vancouver-based insurance holding company that owns firms in England and Canada.

Nycal formerly was a mineral resource company, but after a restructuring last year is pursuing acquisitions in the financial services and insurance industries.

The company plans to offer to buy the remaining shares of Shepard, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange commission.

Group 1 Software Inc. of Greenbelt, which develops and sells computer software to direct-mail marketers and other volume mailers, and MarketPulse, a subsidiary of Cambridge, Mass.-based Computer Corp. of America, signed a marketing agreement through which the two companies will market their products.

Flight Research Inc. of Richmond, which designs and makes photo instruments for use in space, security systems, medical fields and other industries, acquired the assets of Richmond-based Mitchell Camera Corp., which makes movie cameras for film companies, from Panavision Inc. of Tarzana, Calif. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Neil J. Weisman, president of Chilmark Capital Corp., a New York investment company, boosted his stake in General Sciences Corp., a Laurel-based computer software developer, to 21 percent from 19.41 percent.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Weisman recently bought 30,000 shares for $5 each, giving him 396,950 common shares.

Data Measurement Corp. of Gaithersburg won a $572,832 contract to supply a computerized instrument system for a joint venture between Armco Steel Co. and Kawasaki Steel Co.

Netrix Corp. of Herndon said it has raised $7.7 million in additional venture capital financing. The financing was led by Berkeley International Capital Corp. of San Francisco. Matuschka Venture Partners of Munich and JAFCO of Tokyo are the new investors in Netrix.

Burgos & Associates, an architecture and planning firm, opened in Washington.

Woodburn & Associates Foodservice Design Consultants opened in Annandale.

Walker Associates, a telecommunications consulting firm, opened in Fairfax.

Privatization International Inc. opened in Washington to provide consulting services for the privatization of public facilities, public services and government-owned enterprises.

The environmentally related analytical laboratory operations of Versar Inc. of Springfield became Versar Laboratories Inc., a subsidiary of Versar.

Phone Base Systems Inc. of Vienna opened regional sales and service offices in Minneapolis, Los Angeles and New York. Announcements of news and developments affecting Washington area companies should be sent to Regional Report, Business News Department, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.