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BioVentures Teams with Celsis on Array Tech

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Celsis International, a UK-based provider of microbial detection systems and services, says that it will use microarray technology developed by BioVentures in its next generation of contamination tests.

The agreement marks the first time Celsis will use a microarray-based platform for its tests, as well as the first commercialization partner for BioVenture’s technology.

According to Jenny Parsons, head of corporate communications at Celsis, the move to microarrays will “provide Celsis with a competitive advantage in the field of rapid [microbial] testing,” which she says is expected to grow to $4.5 billion from $3 billion over the next three years.

Celsis CEO Jay LeCoque echoes Parson’s comments about the pace of market growth — and the drive to cheaper and faster technologies. “The rash of product contamination stories hitting the headlines in the drug industry in the last few months [shows the] industry is looking for cost-effective and rapid microbiological testing products,” LeCoque says.

Still, while Celsis promises to deliver something both “rapid” and “specific to the market” based on BioVentures’ technology, the company is hesitant to provide further details. Parsons says that Celsis sees numerous possible applications for the newly licensed array technology.

“The next generation of products developed with BioVentures will be capable of rapid microbial and virus detection,” she writes in an e-mail. “The technology can also be applied to drug discovery, clinical diagnostics, environmental analysis, and biological warfare agents, as well as microbiological detection,” she says.

When pressed about what applications may be developed, Parsons said that the company doesn’t “want to disclose any more specific information” except to say that “generally it would be for microbial contamination and viruses.”

— Justin Petrone

 

PATENT WATCH

US Patent 6,951,761. Measurements of multiple molecules using a CryoArray. Inventors: Robert Star, Takehiko Miyaji, Stephen Hewitt, Lance Liotta. Assignee: US Department of Health and Human Services. Issued: October 4, 2005.

This disclosure relates to CryoArrays, which permit the analysis of samples (such as protein, nucleic acid, virus, or cell samples) in arrays that are prepared at low temperatures. Because CryoArrays are constructed as a block of substantially columnar samples, the block can be sliced to provide a set of identical or substantially identical individual arrays. The individual arrays can be used for parallel analysis of the same array feature set, for instance with different probes or under different conditions.

 

US Patent 6,950,756. Rearrangement of microarray scan images to form virtual arrays. Inventor: Robert Kincaid. Assignee: Agilent Technologies. Issued: September 27, 2005.

The abstract for this invention describes “a system and methods for selecting single features from a microarray scan image of genomic data and rearranging these features into a virtual array having a format that is more relevant or informative to the analyst or user than that of the original microarray scan image.”

 

Oxford Gene Technology granted a microarray license to Febit Biotech, which manufactures and markets Geniom, a random access genomic analyzer.

 

CombiMatrix won a one-year, $338,000 contract from the US Air Force to develop and produce microarrays to detect pathogens responsible for upper respiratory and wound infections.

 

DiaGenic was awarded first place at the International Psychogeriatric Association’s 12th Congress in Stockholm. The company won the award for its presentation on using peripheral blood samples to identify gene expression signatures that can be applied to detect Alzheimer’s disease.

 

The US Environmental Protection Agency has extended and expanded its contract with Expression Analysis, which will increase the total potential value of the deal to the company by around $4.2 million.

 

The Jeffrey Modell Foundation and the National Human Genome Research Institute plan to co-develop a post-natal screen for primary immunodeficiency based on the Affymetrix microarray platform. JMF will fund the project.

 

Affymetrix has postponed the close of its acquisition of ParAllele Biosciences. The company says it should take place in the last quarter of this year.

 

Datapoint

$10 million

Affymetrix warned that third-quarter revenues would likely be $10 million to $12 million lower than expected because of technical issues in the manufacturing process of its 500K GeneChips.

 

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