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BioArray Briefs: Jan 13, 2009


CombiMatrix to Get $1.5M from Sale of Securities

CombiMatrix said last week that all of its $1.5 million worth of auction rate securities were recently liquidated.

Last year, the Mukilteo, Wash.-based firm had said that those securities had become illiquid due to the global financial credit crisis. CombiMatrix is one of many firms that faced similar losses as the auction rate security market froze up. However, several investment banks that had participated in the distribution of auction rate securities agreed last year to buy back billions of dollars worth of the debt instruments.

Amit Kumar, president and CEO of CombiMatrix, said in a statement that the firm would use the $1.5 million to expand its diagnostics business.

ServiceXS Certified as Illumina Genotyping Provider

Dutch proteomics and genomics services firm ServiceXS said last week that it has completed Illumina CSPro certification for Infinium genotyping, enabling the firm to join Illumina's global network of genomics services providers.

In order to be certified as an Illumina CSPro provider, ServiceXS underwent a two-phase certification process that included minimum data generation, data certification, and an on-site audit of its facilities and processes.

ServiceXS said that it intends to complement the genotyping certification with certification for other Illumina technologies.

Fluidigm Technology Used in Salmon Research in Columbia River

Fluidigm said last week that the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission genetic laboratory is using its integrated fluidic circuit technology to conduct genetic research on salmon in the Columbia River.

The CRITFC will use Fluidigm's 96.96 Dynamic Array and EP1 System to conduct the research. According to Fluidigm, a fully configured EP1 System is capable of processing more than 200,000 genotypes per day using TaqMan assays.

Shawn Narum, CRITFC lead geneticist, said in a statement that his organization will use the technology to get a better understanding of the diversity, adaptation, and dispersal of fish populations. He added that the genetic signatures identified during the research "may be used to identify unknown origin fish during migration or in fisheries harvest."

UT Southwestern Using WaferGen's SmartChip in Wound Care Biomarker Studies

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center will use WaferGen's real-time PCR system in its gene expression biomarker research, the company said last week.

Under the collaborative agreement, UT Southwestern will use the company's SmartChip system to identify and validate biomarkers related to wound healing, and it will study the impact of those biomarkers on patient response to treatment.

The research may lead to discovery of specific genes related to wound healing that could be used to develop new tools for determining appropriate treatments, said Fremont, Calif.-based WaferGen.

Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Almac Adds NuGen's Ovation Systems to Gene Expression Services

Almac Diagnostics has added NuGen Technologies' Ovation Systems to its gene-expression profiling services, NuGen said in a statement released last week.

Craigavon, Northern Ireland-based Almac will initially offer the NuGen systems for its RNA amplification and target preparation services for formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples and whole-blood samples.

In addition to offering the systems as part of its services, Almac also will use the Ovation System in developing its own genomics-based diagnostic tests, said San Carlos, Calif.-based NuGen. Almac has developed prognostic tests for colorectal and lung cancer and is working with pharma partners on the development of companion diagnostics.

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.