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GE Healthcare, Eli Lilly, ABI, Olink Bioscience, Perlegen, 454, Invitrogen, Natural Selection, Bio-Rad, DiaMed, Celera, Siemens, Salk Institute, Univ. of Marburg, Abbott, Epigenomics, SeqWright

GE Healthcare, Lilly to Develop IVDs for Cancer Therapy Prediction
 
Eli Lilly has signed a three-year collaboration with GE Healthcare and GE Global Research to develop in vitro diagnostics to predict the response of patients to targeted cancer therapies, the companies said this week.
 
The collaboration covers targeted cancer therapeutics under development at Lilly and GE’s multiplexed tissue-based assays and image analysis tools.
 
The partners plan to discover protein and gene signatures that will predict the likelihood that a given therapy will be effective in treating certain cancers. These signatures could then be used to pre-select patients who are good candidates for the targeted therapy, the companies said.
 
The collaboration “complements Lilly's research and development strategy of tailored therapeutics, or in other words, finding the right dose of the right medication at the right time for patients,” said Richard Gaynor, vice president of cancer research and global oncology for Eli Lilly.
 
Gaynor said that Lilly is hoping to identify biomarkers for two of its targeted cancer therapeutic agents “by examining patient tissues in order to determine which patients are most likely to respond to the medications and, just as importantly, which are not."
 
Under the terms of the agreement, GE will have access to clinical tissue samples from unidentified patients enrolled in Lilly's clinical trials and Lilly will have access to GE's tissue-based image analysis technology and molecular reagents.
 
Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 

 
ABI to Co-Develop, Market Olink’s PLA Technology
 
Applied Biosystems said this week that it will co-develop and commercialize Olink Bioscience's proximity ligation assay technology under an exclusive license.
 
ABI said the agreement gives it the right to commercialize the PLA technology for “specific applications” in the life science research market, including biomarker validation and characterization of biological processes.
 
Olink retains the rights to other applications of the technology, including in situ applications in the life science research market and all rights in the area of in vitro diagnostics.
 
Under the agreement, ABI will develop products for in vitro PLA applications in a controlled environment. These products will combine PLA’s protein-detection capabilities with ABI’s real-time PCR systems in order to enable protein expression studies using the same instruments and reagents that are typically used for genotyping and gene expression analysis, the company said.
 
PLA uses two oligonucleotide-labeled antibodies, DNA ligation, and nucleic acid amplification to detect proteins, their modifications, and their interactions in limited samples.
 
The combined technology will allow researchers to correlate gene expression and protein quantitation on the same platform, ABI said.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Perlegen, 454 Partner in Drug-Response Resequencing Study
 
Perlegen and 454 Life Sciences will collaborate on a project to re-sequence hundreds of human DNA samples with the goal of developing a test to predict how patients will respond to a certain class of drug.
 
Perlegen said it has collected samples from individuals with specific responses to a “widely prescribed” class of drug. The partners intend to identify and validate genetic variations that could be developed into a clinical test that would predict response to the drug family.
 
Under the agreement, the companies will re-sequence portions of genomes from the samples using 454 sequencing and Perlegen's sample-prep and amplification technologies.
 
The companies' data analysis groups will work together to determine to what extent genetic variations influence patient response to this class of drugs.
 
Perlegen did not divulge the name of the drug class involved in the study, but said the research "holds the promise to improve therapeutic outcomes for a vast number of patients."
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Invitrogen, Natural Selection Partner on microRNA Sequences
 
Invitrogen said this week that it has teamed up with Natural Selection to make new microRNA sequences available to researchers.
 
Invitrogen said the microRNA sequences have been verified experimentally using deep sequencing, array profiling, and qRT-PCR methods. The firms will submit the sequences to a database at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
 
Under the agreement, Invitrogen will make a larger set of computationally predicted microRNA sequences over the next few years from a design algorithm developed by Natural Selection under funding from the National Science Foundation.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Bio-Rad Closes Acquisition of DiaMed
 
Bio-Rad said this week that it has closed its acquisition of DiaMed Holding, a developer of blood-typing reagents and screening tools, in a transaction worth approximately 477 million Swiss francs ($405.8 million).
 
Bio-Rad announced its plans to acquire DiaMed in May.
 
The company said it completed the purchase of around 77.7 percent of DiaMed’s outstanding shares on Oct. 2. DiaMed holds around 9.6 percent of its outstanding shares as treasury shares, and Bio-Rad said it plans to acquire the remaining outstanding shares within the next year.
 
DiaMed sells a line of reagents and instruments used in blood typing and screening. The Swiss firm has annual sales of around $200 million and around 800 employees worldwide.
 

 
Celera Licenses RT-PCR Patents to Siemens for IVD Use
 
Celera said last week that it has granted Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics the use of some of Applera's real-time PCR patents for human in vitro diagnostic applications.
 
The patents covered in the license agreement include those for PCR thermalcycling tools and reagents.
 
Financial details of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Salk Institute, Univ. of Marburg Join Thermo Fisher’s RNAi Initiative
 
The Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and the University of Marburg have joined the RNAi Global Initiative, Thermo Fisher Scientific said last week.
 
Thermo Fisher described the initiative as an effort to pioneer whole-genome RNAi screening and to develop common research standards and share information to advance RNAi gene-silencing techniques.
 
The Salk Institute for Biological Sciences is expanding its genome-wide screening center, which will study cancer, metabolism, aging and basic and applied neurobiology, systems biology and plant research, Thermo Fisher said.
 
A researcher at the University of Marburg will study the MYC oncogene, which plays a role in many human cancers. The Marburg research will include whole-genome siRNA screening to hunt for gene targets that may assist in developing cancer drugs.
 
The RNAi Global Initiative now counts 23 research institutions in 11 different nations among its members, Thermo Fisher said.
 

 
Abbott, Epigenomics to Develop Colorectal Cancer Dx
 
Abbott and Epigenomics have penned a non-exclusive license and collaboration agreement to develop a colorectal cancer diagnostic based on Epigenomics' intellectual property, Epigenomics said last week.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott has licensed worldwide rights to Epigenomics’ DNA methylation biomarker Septin 9, which the companies plan to develop into an in vitro diagnostic blood test for early detection of colorectal cancer.
 
The companies plan to launch a CE-marked test in Europe in 2009, and plan to file for approval with the US Food and Drug Administration in 2010.
 
Under the deal, Abbott will give Epigenomics an up-front fee, milestone payments, and royalties from sales of the test. A side provision in the agreement allows Abbott to evaluate Epigenomics' "other proprietary biomarkers for additional cancer indications."
 
Epigenomics said this test will be the first cancer diagnostic to run on Abbott's m2000 platform.
 

 
SeqWright Buys ABI’s SOLiD Instrument for Sequencing Services
 
SeqWright has purchased a SOLiD genetic analyzer from Applied Biosystems for use in its sequencing services offering, the Houston-based company said last week.
 
The company said the next-generation sequencer will enhance its abilities to perform services such as whole-genome sequencing, re-sequencing, transcriptome analysis, small RNA discovery, SNP detection, and epigenomic and metagenomic studies.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.