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Cheri Walker, Chuck Piazza, Don Daut, William Emhiser, Timothy Haines, Stephen Oldfield, Gustavo Salem, Applied Biosystems, Promega, Beckman, ITN, Invitrogen, ReliaGene, Agilent

Cheri Walker has been named vice president of mergers and acquisitions of Qiagen. Walker joined the firm last week from Invitrogen, where she most recently held the position of vice president of proteomics. She had joined Invitrogen in December 2003 as vice president, corporate development. Prior to working at Invitrogen, Walker was an equity analyst with Deutsche Bank covering the life sciences tools industry.

Invitrogen promoted Chuck Piazza to the position of vice president and general manager of proteomics, following Walker's departure. Piazza had held the position of vice president and general manager of protein arrays before the promotion. Invitrogen also named Don Daut vice president and general manager of its Antibody Center of Excellence.

William Emhiser has been appointed as new chief executive of Whatman, the company said last week. He replaces Timothy Haines, who was named chief executive in May. Emhiser will take up his appointment on Nov. 1. He is currently president of North American operations for Proteome Systems. Prior to that, he held a number of senior management positions at Millipore. Emhiser holds a degree in biomedical engineering from Duke University.

ForteBio recently named Stephen Oldfield to the new position of vice president of marketing and sales.

Oldfield joined ForteBio in early August from Molecular Devices, where he was vice president of worldwide marketing. He will be responsible for recruiting marketing and sales personnel in support of ForteBio's first product launch later this year, ForteBio said. Prior to his employment with Molecular Devices, Oldfield held senior marketing positions at Molecular Probes, FMC BioProducts, Molecular Dynamics, and Pharmacia Biotechnology AB. Oldfield received a PhD in pure and applied biology from the Imperial College, London, and a BS in genetics from the University of Sheffield in the UK.

Assay Designs has appointed Gustavo Salem as its new president and CEO, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based biotech firm said last week.

Prior to joining Assay Designs, Salem held a variety of positions at Bio-Rad Laboratories, including division manager of protein separations and business unit manager for biomaterials. Prior to this, he held a series of sales and marketing positions at PerSeptive Biosystems, Beckman Instruments, and Amersham.


BioCommerce Briefs

Applied Biosystems, Promega Settle PCR Litigation

Applied Biosystems has settled its litigation with Promega over PCR technology, the company said this week.

Promega originally sued Hoffman-La Roche and Applera in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of the US government but the court dismissed the company's amended complaint with prejudice a year ago. Both Promega and Applera filed appeals at the time, which they have now withdrawn.

Promega's suit was based on the False Claims Act, also known as the Informer's Act or the Qui Tam Statute, which allows a private person to sue a person or company that knowingly submits false bills to the federal government.

Following the settlement, Promega can now negotiate a license to Roche's PCR patents with ABI, the exclusive licensor of the patents for life science research and applied fields, according to ABI.

Earlier in the month, Promega settled its PCR-related litigation with Roche.

Beckman Coulter, ITN Open Cell-Based Assay Core Lab

Beckman Coulter and the Immune Tolerance Network have opened a core laboratory to develop, standardize, and automate cell-based tests for clinical trials at Beckman's facility in Miami, the company said this week.

Researchers from ITN, Beckman, and investigators from the US and Europe plan to develop and validate new cellular assays of T-cell responses for monitoring immune tolerance in clinical trials. "We believe that Beckman Coulter has a special expertise in these areas and look forward to working with the company in developing a number of these assays," said Hugh Auchincloss, chief operating officer of ITN, in a statement.

The Immune Tolerance Network, based at the University of California, San Francisco, is an international research collaboration with a dozen core facilities.

Invitrogen, ReliaGene to Develop Forensic Test to Identify Male DNA

Invitrogen and ReliaGene Technologies, a human identification laboratory, will co-develop a product to detect Y-chromosome DNA in forensic samples, New Orleans-based ReliaGene said last week.

The companies plan to combine ReliaGene's Y-Detect male-specific DNA recognition technology with Invitrogen's ChargeSwitch forensics DNA purification kit to screen forensic samples for the presence of male DNA, in particular samples from sexual assaults.

The resulting product, Y-Screen, promises to reduce false negative results, according to ReliaGene, and is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2006.

Agilent Increases Size of Share Repurchase Program

Agilent said last week that it would increase the size of its share repurchase program to $4.466 billion from the previously announced $4 billion.

Two weeks ago, Agilent redeemed convertible debentures due 2021, and in connection with that redemption converted $466 million of the debentures into common stock. As a result, Agilent increased the announced share repurchase program by $466 million.

The Scan

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.

Study Reviews Family, Provider Responses to Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing Follow-up

Investigators identified in the European Journal of Human Genetics variable follow-up practices after rapid whole-genome sequencing.

BMI-Related Variants Show Age-Related Stability in UK Biobank Participants

Researchers followed body mass index variant stability with genomic structural equation modeling and genome-wide association studies of 40- to 72-year olds in PLOS Genetics.

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.