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HealthLinx, Bruker Daltonics, Thermo Electron, Harvard Bio, Applied Biosystems, Sigma-Aldrich, PerkinElmer, Becton Dickinson, Solexa

Bruker's ClinProt Mass Spec Platform to Help
HealthLinx Develop IVD Biomarker Assays

HealthLinx of Melbourne, Australia, will use Bruker Daltonics' mass spectrometry-based protein biomarker platform to develop diagnostic assays, the company said this week.

In collaboration with Bruker, HealthLinx plans to develop in vitro diagnostic tests for both research and clinical diagnostics using Bruker's MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer and its ClinProt magnetic bead sample preparation technology and software.

The first product to be developed is an ovarian cancer test based on four biomarkers discovered by HealthLinx. The company has also enlisted the Walter Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research to develop monoclonal antibodies to these biomarkers, to be used with the Bruker platform. HealthLinx said it will seek FDA registration for the test "through industry partnerships for use as a pathology diagnostic."

Following validation, the companies will also seek to register the ClinProt platform as a diagnostic pathology device with the Australian government's Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Thermo Electron to Sell $250 Million in Notes;
Proceeds to Repay Credit Facility

Thermo Electron said this week that it would issue and sell $250 million of 5 percent senior notes due 2015.

The notes will be placed with institutional buyers, and the offering is expected to close on May 27.

Thermo said that it intends to use the proceeds to repay $250 million of a $570 million, 364-day credit facility entered in connection with its acquisition earlier this month of Kendro Laboratory Products. Thermo bought Kendro from Australian firm SPX for $833.5 million in cash.

The Kendro business is expected be folded into the Bioscience Technologies segment of Thermo's Life and Laboratory Sciences business unit, which focuses on the sample-prep portion of the laboratory workflow market.

Harvard Bio Attributes Erroneous IPO
Reports to Filing Service

Genomic Solutions' parent company, Harvard Biosciences, said neither firm is responsible for an erroneous IPO filing attributed to the subsidiary May 23.

"Contrary to media reports, neither Harvard Bioscience nor its wholly owned subsidiary, Genomic Solutions, yesterday filed a Form S-1 registration statement with the SEC," Harvard Bio said in its statement, which appeared the day after multiple news outlets reported that the unit had filed for an initial public offering.

"We believe the source of the error was a service that reports on SEC filings. Generally, we have a policy of not commenting on media reports or rumors, however we have made an exception to correct these erroneous reports," Harvard Bio said.

News services, including BioCommerce Week sister publication GenomeWeb News, updated their reports to reflect that Genomic Solutions erroneously refiled its initial public offering documents from 2000. It was originally reported that the subsidiary was moving ahead with the $100 million IPO registration. The registration forms were later removed from the SEC's web site.

A Genomic Solutions spokesman told Dow Jones late Monday that the forms it released were an "erroneous reissue." Harvard Bio's statement closes the saga.

Neither Genomic Solutions nor Harvard Bioscience returned BioCommerce Week's or GenomeWeb News' calls for comment.

ABI Shares Decline on UBS Downgrade

Shares in Applied Biosystems closed down 5.84 percent, or $1.32, at $21.29 on Tuesday after an investment bank downgraded the firm's stock.

UBS downgraded the stock to 'Reduce' from 'Neutral.' The bank said that "given lackluster organic revenue growth, increasing competition, and our view that transforming M&A choices may be limited, we do not believe ABI shares should trade at a premium to the group multiple at this time," according to a Reuters report.

UBS stressed that ABI "remains an important brand name in the life sciences sector."

Sigma-Aldrich to Distribute Corning's Plastic Lab Products

Sigma-Aldrich and Corning Life Sciences announced a pact this week to offer a more streamlined distribution channel for Corning's customers.

According to the partners, US customers will be able to place orders through Sigma-Aldrich for virtually all of Corning's plastic lab products, as well as its Pyrex glassware line. The distribution system will use Corning's own product numbering system.

PerkinElmer, BD Declare Dividends

PerkinElmer's board last week agreed to issue a $.07 dividend to existing shareholders on Aug. 12. The dividend applies to all shareholders of all record at the close of business on July 22, the company said.

Meanwhile, Becton Dickinson's board declared a quarterly dividend of $.18 per share. The dividend will be paid on June 30 to shareholders of record on June 9.

Solexa Lays Off 17 Percent of Staff;
Plans Sequencing Instrument Launch

Solexa has laid off approximately 25 employees, bringing its headcount to 116, following its merger with Lynx Therapeutics, the company said last week.

"Changes in product mix and operating improvements" were the chief causes of the restructuring, which mostly affected the company's genomics services business, which offers gene-expression analysis based on Lynx's MPSS technology, according to the company statement.

However, that business unit will "remain a strategic part of the company" and is expected to create Solexa's first revenues from its Sequencing-by-Synthesis Cluster instrument for DNA sequencing and gene-expression analysis. Solexa plans to place SBS-Cluster instruments in its genomics services facility by the end of the year and offer the instruments for sale in 2006, the company said.

Due to the lay-offs, which did not include members of senior management but affected positions in most functions, Solexa will record a non-recurring charge of approximately $350,000 in the second quarter.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.