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Chris Brannen, Jason Attanucci, Peter Kraus, Jim Woodgett, Agilent, Molecular Imaging, Thermo Electron, Affymetrix, Agencourt, Applera, LabCorp, SeraCare, Serologicals, NCI

Nonlinear Dynamics has appointed Chris Brannen as Western regional sales manager and Jason Attanucci as Eastern regional sales manager of the company's US subsidiary, Nonlinear USA Inc. Nonlinear has also named Peter Kraus as a field applications scientist. Brannen joins Nonlinear after three years with Bio-Rad Laboratories, where he served as sales account manager. Attanucci was previously national sales manager for ChemImage, an imaging technology firm. Kraus joins the company from postdoctoral research positions with both Yale University and Duke University Medical Center after obtaining a PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Connecticut in 2001.

Jim Woodgett has been named the new director of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, the hospital said last week. Woodgett previously served as director of the University Health Network's Microarray Center. He has also been division head of experimental therapeutics at the Ontario Cancer Institute at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.


BioCommerce Briefs

Agilent Acquires Molecular Imaging in Bid to Expand Nanotech Imaging Business;
Completes Sale of Lumileds Stake to Philips for $950 Million

Agilent Technologies has acquired privately held Molecular Imaging for an undisclosed amount, expanding its nanotechnology imaging portfolio, the company announced this week.

Tempe, Ariz.-based Molecular Imaging makes PicoPlus, a line of atomic force microscopes, which comprise a significant portion of the $1 billion market for nanotechnology imaging and measurement tools.

Bob Burns, VP and General Manager of Agilent's Nanotechnology Measurements Division, told BioCommerce Week that the acquisition makes sense given Agilent's focus going forward on the electronic measurement and life sciences businesses.

Agilent recently sold off its semiconductor unit for nearly $2.7 billion, and this week completed the sale of its Lumileds joint venture to Philips for roughly $950 million. The firm, which also intends to spin off its system-on-a-chip and memory test businesses, announced the moves this past summer as part of a plan to increase profitability and focus on its core life sciences and test and measurement units (see BioCommerce Week 8/18/2005).

Vance Nau, CEO of Molecular Imaging, said the firm's technology "opens up new areas of studies in the life science area, in terms of single-molecule studies and characterization, at the single-molecule and atom scale. That really allows you to characterize things in a different manner than ever before."

Nau, who will head the molecular imaging product line within Agilent, added, "It can be used for studying specific affinities between a virus cell; an attachment point across the cell membrane; it can be used for studying the unfolding of proteins and the bonds that hold proteins together; it's used for studying specifically how chromatin interacts with the generation of proteins and how the DNA structure works. It allows you to study those on an individual level."

Molecular Imaging's technology may also eventually be applied to near-patient applications, such as cancer prognosis and monitoring treatment. "That's the new wave of technologies that are going to be developed, three, five, maybe even 10 years out, where you might have nannoarrays for monitoring specific classes of disease," he told BioCommerce Week.

Since Molecular Imaging has an ongoing relationship with Arizona State University extending back to 1993, Agilent will not move operations from Tempe, the company said. In addition, Agilent said that Molecular Imaging's employees have joined the firm.

Thermo Electron Opens Customer Demonstration Lab in India

Thermo Electron opened a customer demonstration laboratory in Mumbai, India, the company said this week.

The Mumbai demonstration center will house Thermo's laboratory and life sciences products, including ion trap and triple quadrupole mass spectrometers, centrifuges, incubators, microplate instruments, and process instruments. The site will be equipped with customer demonstration and training facilities, Thermo said.

Thermo started direct operations in India eight years ago and currently operates out of Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Chennai.

Including this Mumbai site, the company has opened three centers in two years. Earlier this month, the company opened a customer service and demonstration laboratory center in Shanghai, China, and a manufacturing operations facility in Shanghai in December 2004.

Affy to Distribute Agencourt Sample-Prep Product with Array Reagent Kits

Agencourt Bioscience's RNAClean nucleic acid-purification product will be included in Affymetrix' GeneChip Array Station reagent kits, Agencourt's parent, Beckman Coulter, said this week.

RNAClean, which uses magnetic bead technology called SPRI, enables researchers to use one product to complete both cDNA and cRNA purification steps, Beckman said. Affymetrix will incorporate the SPRI technology into the GeneChip Array Station reagent product offering.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Affy also sells sample-prep products from Qiagen with some of its other arrays (see feature).

Applera Grants 266K Restricted Stock Units to Executive Officers

The management resources committee of Applera's board of directors last week approved a grant of Applied Biosystems restricted stock units to several officers and employees of Applera and its subsidiaries, the companies said last week.

Each restricted stock unit gives recipients the right to one share of ABI common stock at the time the restricted unit vests, Applera said. Restricted units bestowed to executive officers typically vest in four increments, each amounting to 25 percent of the total value, occurring at the ends of fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, the company added.

The grant follows Applera's Amended and Restated 1999 Stock Incentive Plan, and includes the following restricted stock transactions involving company officers: 88,800 shares granted to Tony White, Applera CEO; 43,200 shares granted to Catherine Burzik, senior vice president and president of ABI; 12,000 shares granted to Ugo DeBlasi, Applera vice president and controller; 19,200 shares granted to Dennis Gilbert, ABI CSO and vice president for research; 25,200 shares granted to Barbara Kerr, vice president of human resources at Applera; 15,600 shares granted to Sandeep Nayyar, ABI vice president of finance; 31,200 shares granted to William Sawch, Applera senior vice president and general counsel; 31,200 shares granted to Dennis Winger, senior vice president and CFO of Applera.

LabCorp to Sell Roche's AmpliChip CYP450 Assay

Laboratory Corporation of America will sell Roche Diagnostics' AmpliChip Cytochrome P450 2D6/2C19 genotyping and phenotyping assay, the company said this week.

The assay, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in January, is designed to identify multiple genetic variants in two cytochrome P450 genes, CYP2D6 and CYP2C19, which metabolize 40 to 45 percent of all prescription drugs, including antidepressants, pain relievers, and cardiovascular agents.

This summer, the reference lab helped validate the chip for Roche, and worked with the Swiss diagnostic giant evaluate its research leukemia microarray, which is currently in development.

SeraCare to Acquire Serologicals' Celliance Business for $3.7M

SeraCare Life Sciences will acquire Serologicals' Celliance subsidiary for $3.7 million in cash and "certain liabilities," the companies said this week.

SeraCare, based in Oceanside, Calif., will buy Celliance's Milford, Mass.—based diagnostic manufacturing facilities and its product lines.

Celliance, which in October acquired gene-expression technology from Innovata, primarily offers products for cell culture and diagnostic applications. The acquisition is aimed at increasing SeraCare's footprint in molecular diagnostic reagents, diagnostic intermediates, and substrates, President and CEO Michael Crowley said in a statement.

The acquisition is expected to close in January, SeraCare said. Further details were not disclosed.

SeraCare has facilities in Cambridge and Bridgewater, Mass.; Frederick and Gaithersburg, Md.; and Hatboro, Penn. It sells plasma-based therapeutic products, diagnostic products, and reagents; cell culture products; specialty plasmas; in vitro stabilizers; and a clinical sample repository for use in drug discovery and development.

NCI Awards $10M to Six US Labs Researching Cancer Biomarkers

The National Cancer Institute awarded a total of $10 million to six research groups developing molecular markers for cancer, the agency said this week.

The projects will confirm, refine, and evaluate molecular signatures; develop reproducible assays for molecular signatures; and identify molecular markers to be used in clinical decisions.

The grants are part of NCI's Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures program.

Six institutions received the grant: the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., University of California in Irvine; the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha; the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tenn.; and Washington University's Department of Medicine in St. Louis.

The Scan

Boosters Chasing Variants

The New York Times reports that an FDA advisory panel is to weigh updated booster vaccines for COVID-19.

Not Yet

The World Health Organization says monkeypox is not yet a global emergency, the Washington Post reports.

More Proposed for Federal Research

Science reports that US House of Representatives panels are seeking to increase federal research funding.

PLOS Papers on Breast Cancer Metastasis, Left-Sided Cardiac Defects, SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring

In PLOS this week: link between breast cancer metastasis and CLIC4, sequencing analysis of left-sided cardiac defects, and more.