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Applied Biosystems, Broad Institute, Invitrogen, Qiagen, Tianwei Times

Applied Biosystems Sells DNA Analyzers to Broad Institute

Applied Biosystems has sold approximately 20 capillary electrophoresis DNA sequencing instruments to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the company said this week.

The purchase of the 3730xl DNA Analyzers brings the institute's number of instruments of this type to 126. The Broad plans to use the analyzers to sequence new genomes and to perform genotyping studies.

ABI interprets the sale as a sign that the days of traditional DNA sequencing are not yet numbered, despite the company's expectation that revenues from its sequencing business will decline in the future, and the Broad's purchase in March of a next-generation sequencing instrument from 454 Life Sciences.

"Broad's choice of the 3730xl instruments is confimation that capillary electrophoresis remains the gold standard in DNA analysis technology today," said CSO Dennis Gilbert in a company statement. ABI said it continues to invest in the development and enhancement of capillary electrophoresis technology.

ABI President Cathy Burzik told BioCommerce Week in April, "Going forward, our focus is on improvement and extension of the CE core platform technology," she said. "In long-run sequencing, we have a strong position. We believe we can tailor our software and applications for shorter runs with this technology. We think our technology has a lot of runway left in terms of applications going forward" (see BioCommerce Week 4/14/2005).

Invitrogen Sells $325M of Senior Convertible Notes

Invitrogen said this week that it has sold $325 million of 3.25 percent senior convertible notes due 2025.

Invitrogen said that purchasers of the notes have an option to purchase up to an additional $25 million to cover over-allotments. The firm announced the offering after the close of the market on Monday. The next day, its shares dropped 3.8 percent to close at $76.98.

Under certain circumstances, the notes are convertible into cash or common stock at a conversion rate of 10.1781 shares per $1,000 principal amount of notes, subject to adjustment. Invitrogen also said it would pay interest on the notes during any six-month period, beginning June 15, 2011, if the average trading price of the notes is above specified levels.

The company said it will use some of the net proceeds of the offering to repay around $124 million borrowed under a revolving line of credit with Bank of America. Invitrogen said it intends to use the balance of the net proceeds for "potential acquisitions and for general corporate purposes, including the potential repayment or redemption of other outstanding debt."

Invitrogen has acquired several businesses over the past couple of years, and officials recently said that the firm could spend $500 million on acquisitions this year.

Qiagen Buys Chinese Reagents Provider

Qiagen has acquired Chinese nucleic acid purification reagents provider Tianwei Times for approximately $2 million in cash plus an additional $2 million in performance-based milestones over the next two years, the company said this week.

Under the terms of the acquisition, which still needs to be approved by the Chinese government, Qiagen purchased certain assets of the Beijing-based company, which has approximately 50 employees.

Qiagen expects Tianwei, which focuses on providing solutions for DNA and RNA purification, to contribute $1.5 million to $2 million in reagent sales and $0.3 million in net earnings in 2006.

The Scan

Unwrapping Mummies' Faces

LiveScience reports that Parabon NanoLabs researchers have reconstructed how three Egyptian mummies may have looked.

Study on Hold

The Spectrum 10K study has been put on hold due to a backlash, leading the researchers to conduct consultations with the autism community, Nature News reports.

Others Out There Already

Reuters reports that Sanofi is no longer developing an mRNA-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

PNAS Papers on GWAS False Discovery, PRAMEF2 Role in Tumorigenesis, RNA Virus Reverse Genetics

In PNAS this week: strategy to account for GWAS false-discovery rates, role of PRAMEF2 in cancer development, and more.