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Broadlane, Cepheid, Center for Vaccine Development at U of Maryland’s School of Medicine, Illumina, Ibis Biosciences, Millipore, Rohm and Haas, Coriell Institute for Medical Research, Affymetrix, Harvard Bioscience, Digilab, Nanogen

Cepheid Inks Hospital Distribution Deal, Launches SA/MRSA Test in Europe
Healthcare supply company Broadlane will sell Cepheid’s molecular diagnostics instruments, reagents, and services to its customers, which include more than 20,000 healthcare facilities in the US, Cepheid said last week.
Broadlane’s client base includes acute care hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, and physician’s offices, Cepheid said.
The agreement covers Cepheid’s GeneXpert System and Xpert tests, which includes the company’s test kit for infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Cepheid pointed out that a recently released study estimates that there were nearly 95,000 cases of MRSA in the US in 2005, resulting in around 18,650 deaths.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
In a separate announcement this week, Cepheid said that it has received the CE Mark for its combination SA/MRSA molecular diagnostic assay that runs on its GeneXpert platform and has launched the test in Europe. 

Illumina to Provide Pathogen ID Services Under Grant Awarded to Univ. of Maryland
The Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine said last week that it has been awarded a $5.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a diagnostic for diarrheal disease.
Illumina and Ibis Biosciences will serve as subcontractors on the grant and will provide genomics and pathogenic identification services, the university said.
The center plans to develop a diagnostic that will be faster and more accurate than available models and will be aimed at identifying pathogens that cause diarrheal problems in developing countries.
This center will “detect all of the important organisms involved in diarrheal diseases in developing countries,” the CVD said in a statement.
The research will be conducted on fecal samples obtained from Bangladesh, Mali, and Kenya through an agreement with researchers from the Center for Vaccine Development.

Millipore, Rohm and Haas Collaborate on Chromatography Products
Millipore is collaborating with Rohm and Haas on high-performance chromatography products for manufacturing biologic drugs, the firms announced this week.
Millipore’s Bioprocess Division and Rohm and Haas Ion Exchange Resins plan to develop improved ion exchange chromatography products, they said. Under terms of the alliance, Millipore will have exclusive access to new, customized chromatography media developed by the partners.
Jean-Paul Mangeolle, president of Millipore’s Bioprocess Division, said the partnership would take Millipore “one step closer to providing complete, integrated solutions for our biopharmaceutical customers.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Coriell Institute to Genotype 100K Volunteers Using Affymetrix SNP Platform
The Coriell Institute for Medical Research this week kicked off the Delaware Valley Personalized Medicine Project, an initiative that plans to genotype up to 100,000 patient volunteers with the goal of studying the use of genetic risk factors in patient care. 
The project will use Affymetrix’s Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 genotyping platform.
Coriell said the DVPMP will enroll 10,000 participants for the project over the next three years and eventually plans to reach 100,000 participants. Other partners in the program include the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Cooper University Hospital, and Virtua Health.
The initiative has so far raised $5 million from the William G. Rohrer Foundation, the William T. Read Legacy Fund, Eleanor Read, the Daniel J. Ragone Family Foundation, and Coriell's endowment.
In a statement, the DVPMP differentiated itself from “for-profit personal genome companies” because it “aims to explore use of genetic risk factors in clinical decision-making.”
Under the project, participants will be encouraged to consult with their physicians about their risk variants “and to make important decisions about preventative care and proper medical treatments,” Coriell said.
All patient volunteers “will control access to their genetic profiles and will determine whether they wish the information to become part of their medical records in the future,” the institute added. There is no charge to participate.
Erin O'Shea, a professor of molecular biology at Harvard University, will chair the project’s Informed Cohort Oversight Board, which will determine which risk variants are “appropriate” for use by patients and physicians to improve health.

Harvard Bio Sells Off Part of Capital Equipment Business
Harvard Bioscience said this week that it has sold its Genomics Solutions division and Maia Scientific business to Digilab for $1 million in cash and a 20 percent earn-out of the revenue the businesses generate over a three-year, post-transaction period.
Both businesses were part of the company’s Capital Equipment Business Segment, which Harvard Bio has been trying to sell for more than two years.
Harvard Bio will hold the rights to certain deferred tax assets, which the company said are currently offset by valuation allowances.
The firm said it still is looking to sell its COPAS flow cytometry products, which are held under its Union Biometrica US and German subsidiaries and were not a part of the Digilab deal.
Harvard Bio President David Green said the divestiture of the capital equipment division will allow the firm to “focus our resources on our apparatus and instrumentation business and to continue our pursuit of tuck-under acquisitions.”

Nanogen Gets Delisting Notice from Nasdaq
The Nasdaq Stock Market has notified Nanogen that it may delist the company’s stock from the market due to failure to maintain a minimum bid price for 30 days, the company said last week.
The notification has no effect on Nanogen’s stock currently, but if Nanogen’s shares do not trade at or above $1 per share for a period of 10 consecutive days in the next six months the firm will receive written notification from Nasdaq that its shares will be delisted.
The company’s stock has been trading under $1 steadily since mid-September and closed Tuesday at $.56 a share.
If Nanogen is delisted in May it may transfer to the Nasdaq Capital Market, at which time it will receive another 180 days to comply with the minimum bid rule.
Nanogen recently announced that it would shutter its microarray business, lay off around 20 percent of its staff, and realign the company behind its real-time PCR and point-of-care testing units.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.