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Greiner Bio-One, ABI/MDS Sciex, Syagen, ABI, GenoLogics, Illumina, Sequenom, SensiGen, Agilent, Intradigm Rx, Abbott, Celera Dx

Greiner Licenses Invitrogen Sample-Prep Technology for HPV Test
Greiner Bio-One has licensed Invitrogen’s deoxyuridine triphosphate technology for use in a PCR-based HPV test and in DNA array products, the companies said this week.
Greiner Bio-One said it will use dUTP in place of deoxythymidine triphosphate to prevent false positives during PCR by reducing sample contamination.
The company said the use of dUTP will improve the reliability of its PapilloCheck HPV test and its DNA-array CytoCheck products. Greiner Bio-One will begin offering product kits for PapilloCheck with dUTP in June, and plans to offer dUTP-based kits for CytoCheck this fall.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

ABI/MDS Sciex Inks APPI Cross-Licensing Deal with Syagen
Applied Biosystems and MDS Sciex have signed a cross licensing agreement with Syagen Technology, a mass-spectrometry and analytical-instruments company, to share patents covering atmospheric pressure photo-ionization, Syagen said last week.
Under the agreement, Syagen will supply its PhotoMate APPI source to the majority of the liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry instrument manufacturers, and the ABI/MDS Sciex joint venture will supply the Photospray APPI source to customers of its LC/MS product line.
According to Syagen, APPI complements electrospray ionization by expanding the “range of classes of compounds that can be analyzed with LC/MS instruments,” and by showing a decreased amount of ion suppression than other types of ionization sources.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Investment Bank Upgrades ABI Stock
Investment bank Robert W. Baird has upgraded Applied Biosystems’ stock from “neutral” to “outperform.”
Baird analyst Quintin Lai also raised his price target on the firm’s shares to $36 from $35. ABI’s stock closed at $30.53 on Tuesday.
In a research note, Lai said he expects the firm to see “continued strength in mass spectrometry. We think Applied Biosystems is particularly strong in small molecule applications and solidified its strength with the recent launch of FlashQuant.”
ABI and its mass spec partner MDS Sciex launched the FlashQuant, which combines a triple quadrupole instrument with MALDI, in April (see BioCommerce Week 4/18/2007). The new platform is aimed primarily at pharmaceutical labs doing absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion profiling.
Lai also noted that ABI’s margins are improving due to last year’s $273 million acquisition of Ambion (see BioCommerce Week 1/4/2006).

ABI Supplies Egyptian Lab, Discovery Channel with Forensics Tools for TV Special
Applied Biosystems said this week that it has provided technology and training to the government of Egypt to help it outfit a lab aimed at using DNA tools to identify mummies.
ABI said it stocked the lab with DNA analysis instruments, reagents, and software. Among the technologies supplied by ABI are a 9700 thermocycler, a 3130 Genetic Analyzer, and a PCR amplification kit.
Based in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, the lab will use the technologies to identify the mummy of Hatshepsut, a powerful Egyptian queen and pharaoh of the 15th Century BC.
The lab, which has been running tests on the instruments since April, will also seek to identify other mummies that have been removed from their tombs, and to “clarify familial relationships within and between Egypt’s ancient dynasties.”
In a statement, Nicola Oldroyd, an ABI senior forensic specialist, said that “initial results are very promising as both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA have been retrieved and amplified for these mummies.”
ABI was enlisted for the project by the Discovery Channel, which will air a two-hour special, called “Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen,” in July that documents the search for Hatshepsut and the quest to positively identify her remains.
Hatsepshut’s death and the possible disappearance of her remains have long posed a mystery to Egyptologists.

GenoLogics to Participate in Illumina Bioinformatics Program
GenoLogics last week said it will participate in Illumina’s IlluminaConnect program, a partnership initiative that Illumina has created for third-party bioinformatics providers.
Terms of the alliance call for GenoLogics to integrate its Geneus platform with Illumina's BeadArray technology and software for gene expression and genotyping applications.
According to GenoLogics, the LIMS-based Geneus includes “science-specific modules” that can be used for multiple genomics applications.

Sequenom, SensiGen in Molecular Dx Marketing Pact
Sequenom and SensiGen announced in a statement this week that they will jointly market SensiGen’s AttoSense tests.
The SensiGen tests use Sequenom’s MassArray and QGE gene-expression technologies for detection of diseases, such as cervical cancer, chronic kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus. The firms will market the tests to commercial reference laboratories worldwide.
SensiGen said the first test to be developed under the agreement, the AttoSense HPV test for early detection of cervical cancer, will be submitted in 2009 to the US Food and Drug Administration for marketing clearance.
Terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

Agilent to Manufacture siRNA for Intradigm Rx
Agilent Technologies will manufacture the small interfering RNA component of an RNAi therapeutic being developed by Intradigm, the firms said this week.
Agilent will supply the siRNA material for use in Intradigm’s preclinical oncology drug target, ICS-283. According to the firms, ICS-283 is the only RNAi therapeutic in development against a clinically validated oncology target, in this case vascular endothelial growth factor.
Intradigm has developed the RNAi Nanoplex delivery system for administering RNAi therapeutics.
Terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

Abbott, Celera Dx’s PCR-Based Hepatitis B Assay Gets CE Mark
European Union regulators have cleared an Abbott assay that uses real-time PCR to monitor hepatitis B viral loads, Abbott and partner Celera Diagnostics said last week.
The certification allows the companies to market the test in the EU. The test runs on Abbott’s m2000 instrument, which uses PCR technology made by Applied Biosystems.
The m2000 also runs PCR tests for HIV-1, hepatitis C, chlamydia, and a combination test for chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Abbott and Celera Diagnostics received a CE Mark in 2005 for tests that monitor hepatitis C and HIV-1. The HIV-1 assay was also cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in May.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.