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Bruker, Serva, MRC Geneservice, Fisher Scientific, BioCrossroads, Exiqon, Becton Dickinson

Bruker, Serva in Proteomic Reagent Co-Marketing Pact

Bruker Daltonics will co-market and sell a labeling reagent for quantitative proteomics for Serva Electrophoresis of Heidelberg, Germany, the companies said this week.

The technology, called Isotope Coded Protein Label, or ICPL, was developed by researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, and is exclusively licensed to Serva. Under the new agreement, Bruker will provide ICPL kits worldwide.

ICPL is compatible with all types of mass spectrometers, according to the companies. The technology, which tags all lysine side chains, allows researchers to label both peptides and intact proteins.

MRC Geneservice to Re-Emerge as Commercial Entity

Following a management buyout, MRC Geneservice, a provider of genomics reagents and services funded by the UK's Medical Research Council, will on Aug. 1 re-emerge as a commercial company called Geneservice, Cambridge, UK-based MRC Geneservice said this week.

The new company will take over the assets and most of the staff of government-funded MRC Geneservice and will be based in the Cambridge Science Park.

Geneservice will continue to archive and distribute genomic reagents, such as bacterial clones and human DNA samples generated by academic groups and consortia, and provide genomic services, such as DNA sequencing, genotyping, microarray expression analysis, and genome amplification.

In addition, the company plans to invest in new business opportunities, including resources such as RNAi and protein expression libraries.

Leerink Swann Initiates Coverage of Fisher with 'Outperform' Rating

An analyst for Leerink Swann initiated coverage of Fisher Scientific, and has given the company an Outperform rating, the investment bank said late last week.

John Sullivan, senior biotechnology and life sciences analyst for Leerink Swann, said Fisher's "record of internal and acquired growth, the expansion of its strong franchise in life science consumables, and its strategy of adding higher margin products to its mix" fueled his decision.

Fisher acquired proteomics shop Perbio in 2003 and RNAi tools provider Dharmacon one year later. As reported by BioCommerce Week a couple of weeks ago, the company said it is eyeing potential acquisitions as it continues to look for ways to grow its footprint in the life-sciences market (see BioCommerce Week 5/26/2005).

Vice Chair Paul Meister said at the Banc of America Securities Health Care Conference that the firm would consider higher-growth consumables plays in the molecular biology tools field as potential acquisitions. He said Fisher expects $400 million in cash flow this year, which would ensure the company is flexible for any potential acquisition targets that come its way.

BioCrossroads Creates Seed Fund to Support Indiana Life Science Firms

BioCrossroads, an initiative to develop the life science industry in Indiana, said this week that it has established a $4 million seed fund to support Indiana life science companies in the beginning stages of operation.

The Indiana Finance Authority will also contribute to the seed fund, BioCrossroads said. The fund will provide working capital to candidate companies in the range of $50,000 to $500,000, to be allocated by an investment committee that includes outside investment professionals.

According to a BioCrossroads spokesperson, the venture welcomes applications from a wide variety of companies in life science, and is not targeting any particular niches. The organization is accepting the first round of applications until Aug. 31. Applications can be found at the Indiana Seed Fund website.

In April, BioCrossroads assembled the Indiana Future Fund, a $73 million "fund of funds" to be invested in Indiana-based life sciences companies and backed by a variety of Indiana public and private institutions.

BioCrossroads said in a statement that the Indiana Seed Fund was intended to "help narrow the gap between the discovery of an idea and actual venture capital funding, and to prepare companies for future investments through vehicles like the Indiana Future Fund.

Exiqon Raises $20M in Third Round of Financing

Exiqon's has emerged from a third round of financing with $20 million in funding, the Danish company reported last week.

The company plans to use the cash to support product development, sales and marketing, and loan repayment, according to a statement.

Exiqon is launching "a number" of miRURY microRNA analysis products "as well as other products," the company said. The firm recently signed a distribution agreement with Roche Diagnostics for its ProbeLibrary real-time PCR kits, Exiqon added.

BD Hit with Class Action Lawsuit

Becton Dickinson has been hit with a class action lawsuit filed by a Tennessee pharmacy alleging violation of federal and state antitrust laws by charging higher prices for certain products.

The diversified medical products firm, which also participates in the molecular biology tools space, disclosed the lawsuit in an 8-K filing this week. BD said the complaint, which was filed last week by Jabo's Pharmacy in Tennessee, was similar to a March 2005 complaint filed in New Jersey by Louisiana Wholesale Drug Company.

BD said it believes the allegations in the suit are without merit.

The Scan

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.

Rett Syndrome Mouse Model Study Points to RNA Editing Possibilities

Investigators targeted MECP2 in mutant mouse models of Rett syndrome, showing in PNAS that they could restore its expression and dial down symptoms.

Investigators Find Shared, Distinct Genetic Contributors to Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma

An association study in JAMA Network Open uncovers risk variants within and beyond the human leukocyte antigen locus.

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.