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Fisher, Nanogen, Sigma-Aldrich, Pharmorphix, DoD, ABI, GE Healthcare, Fisher, Agilent, Proteome Systems, GeneGo, Harvard Bio, Gene Logic

Fisher, Nanogen to Share IP in Molecular Dx Collaboration
Nanogen and Fisher Scientific International last week said that they will share each other's technology and patent rights in order to develop, manufacture, and market new molecular diagnostic products.
The deal complements Fisher's $15-million equity investment in Nanogen in March (see BioCommerce Week 3/22/2006).
As part of the deal, Fisher “may provide” Nanogen up to $10 million during 2007 and 2008 to research and develop infectious disease and molecular diagnostic tests “that will be mutually agreed upon.”
Additionally, Nanogen and Fisher’s Athena Diagnostics subsidiary plan to manufacture and market products based on Athena's biomarkers for research and for in vitro diagnostic use.
Athena has markers in neurology and endocrinology that it has incorporated into its testing service, several of which could be incorporated into assays for use on Nanogen's NanoChip400 microarray platform, Fisher and Nanogen said.
“Likewise,” Nanogen has access to a “wide range of markers” that could be used to create tests for the Athena Diagnostics testing service.
Additional details were not disclosed, and Fisher officials did not return a call from BioCommerce Week seeking comment.

Sigma-Aldrich Acquires Pharmorphix
Sigma-Aldrich this week said that it has acquired privately held Pharmorphix, a provider of solid-form research services, for an undisclosed amount of cash.
The Cambridge, UK-based firm had sales of roughly $5 million over the past 12 months, according to Sigma. Its services are sold to pharmaceutical and biotech firms that require information on the solid state of therapeutics to support regulatory and intellectual property submissions.
Sigma said the acquisition would enhance the services offered by its SAFC Pharma business.
The deal will be neutral to mildly accretive to Sigma’s 2006 earnings, with no initial charges, Sigma said.
The Pharmorphix acquisition is the second purchase made this year by Sigma to broaden the offerings of the SAFC Pharma business. In May, the firm acquired Iropharm, a chemical synthesis manufacturer in Arklow, Ireland.
In a separate announcement, Sigma this week said that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.21 per share payable to on Sep. 15 to shareholders of record on Sep. 1.
The board also authorized the repurchase of an additional 5 million shares of the company’s stock. Since beginning the repurchase program in 1999, Sigma has bought 39.3 million shares of its stock.

DoD Awards ABI $24.5-Million Contract to Develop Infectious Disease Detection System
The US Department of Defense has awarded Applied Biosystems a $24.5 million contract to develop a prototype system that can identify infectious diseases for epidemiological and biosecurity purposes.
ABI said the company has already presented “key components” of the prototype to the United States Air Force, which will validate it.
According to ABI, the system will use a multiplex assay to identify emerging pathogens. Early prototypes can already ID 10 pathogens simultaneously on a test array, the firm said.
The company added that, once completed, the system could be used in other applications in biosecurity, forensics, animal testing, and food quality testing — applied markets that ABI hopes will fatten its top line over the next two years.

GE Healthcare Licenses Fisher BioImage’s Protein Technology
GE Healthcare has obtained a license to use Fisher BioImage’s green fluorescent protein technology beyond life science research, GE said this week.
The expanded licensing agreement expands GE's rights to develop and sell products using this technology and gives it the right to sublicense the IP.
Financial terms of the deal were not announced.
GFP is a fluorescent protein from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria and is applied in many areas of drug discovery and veterinary and plant science research. and is applied in many areas of drug discovery and veterinary and plant science research.

Agilent, Proteome Systems Expand Biomarker Pact
Agilent Technologies and Proteome Systems expanded their alliance to use glycomic analysis to discover drug and diagnostic biomarkers, Agilent said last week.
Under the deal, which expands a marketing agreement announced in April 2005, Proteome Systems will provide glycomics applications and software development for use with Agilent’s mass spectrometers.
Agilent will use an HPLC/chip-based 6240 ion trap LC mass spec to analyze protein-associated glycans.
Financial details were not disclosed.

GeneGo Integrates ABI’s Tissue Gene-Expression Database Into MetaCore
GeneGo has integrated Applied Biosystems’ tissue gene-expression database into its MetaCore data-mining platform, ABI said last week.
Tatiana Nikolskaya, chief scientific officer and founder of GeneGo, said in a statement that her company has integrated the database as a tissue-expression filter in the firm’s latest product release “to replace the publicly available, but less consistent, UniGene data.”
She added that the companies “look forward to collaborating on additional ways to leverage our complementary solutions.”
ABI created the database using its expression array system and human genome survey microarray. It comprises genome-wide gene-expression values from 31 normal tissues and a universal human reference RNA.
ABI said the combined product “facilitates” microarray experiments, such as comparing gene-expression changes in normal, diseased, or treated human tissues.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Harvard Bio Posts 12-Percent Revenue Gain in Q2
Harvard Bioscience last week reported that improved sales in the second quarter helped reduce its net loss by more than 98 percent.
Receipts for the three months ended June 30 increased 12 percent to $18 million from $16 million year over year as a result of improved product mix and higher margins on new product introductions, Harvard Bio said.
R&D costs increased 10 percent to $773,000 from $704,000 from the comparable quarter a year ago.
The company said net loss shrank to $324,000 from $23.7 million during the comparable period last year. The company said approximately $300,000 in restructuring charges was recorded during the second quarter of 2005.
Harvard Bioscience said it had around $8.2 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30.
The company raised its revenue guidance for the full year 2006 and now expects to generate between $72 million and $73 million instead of between $70 million and $72 million.
Strong market demand and the acquisition of the Anthos product line is expected to drive the increase, said Chane Graziano, chief executive officer, in a statement.

Gene Logic’s Q2 Revenues Fall 44 Percent
Gene Logic last week reported that total revenues for the second quarter declined nearly 44 percent due to weak performance in its genomics segment.
Receipts for the three months ended June 30 declined to $11 million from $20 million year over year.
The genomics division reported revenues of $4.7 million, a 67-percent decline over the prior year period. Declining subscription revenue, database license sales that failed to materialize, and slower-than-expected sales growth for microarray data-generation and -analysis services were blamed for the slide.
Gene Logic hired a strategy-consulting firm to review its business strategy, the company said. The review results will be released by Sept. 22.
Earlier last week, the company began restructuring its genomics division by announcing plans to lay off approximately 80 employees. The lay-offs are effective as of Oct. 5 and will cost $1.8 million in severance.
Gene Logic said it expects the lay-offs to reduce annual salary and fringe benefits costs by approximately $8 million.
R&D costs in the second quarter soared 84 percent to $2.5 million from $1.4 million from the comparable quarter a year ago.
Gene Logic said net loss quadrupled to $11.3 million from $2.6 million during the comparable period last year.
The company withdrew its financial guidance for 2006 and 2007 in June.
Gene Logic said it had around $24.8 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.