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Jean-Luc Vanderheyden, William Lutz, Yvonne Linney, Altana Pharma, Thermo, Fisher, Applera, ABI, Solexa, Williams College


GE Healthcare last week said that Jean-Luc Vanderheyden has joined the company to lead its Molecular Imaging business.

In his new role, Vanderheyden will report to the general manager, to be named at a later date.

Prior to GE Healthcare, Vanderheyden was the vice president of research and development for Theseus Imaging and director of nuclear medicine research and development for Mallinckrodt/Tyco Healthcare. He was also a visiting associate professor in nuclear medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Orchid Cellmark has appointed William Lutz to the newly created position of vice president of information technology, the company said last week.

Prior to his appointment, Lutz was chief information officer at Genencor International, a biotechnology company recently acquired by Danisco. He was also director of information management and technology at Bausch and Lomb. He has held positions at NCR, General Electric, Fischer Scientific, and the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Yvonne Linney has left Caliper Life Sciences and is now head of molecular marketing for Bayer Diagnostics.

At Caliper, she was director of marketing. Before that, she held several directorial and managerial positions with Amersham Biosciences, now GE Healthcare.

BioCommerce Briefs

Altana to Install Thermo Drug-Screening System

Altana Pharma will install a CRS Dimension4 screening system from Thermo Electron, Thermo said last week.

The instrument integrates other Thermo equipment such as Multidrop liquid dispensers and vertical array loaders and Thermo's Cytomat incubators.

At present, Altana screens as many as 80,000 compounds per day, but following the integration of the CRS Dimension4 System the company anticipates screening more than 180,000 compound tests per day.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Fisher Downgraded by Thomas Weisel

Shares in Fisher Scientific were downgraded from "outperform" to "peer perform" by investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners this week.

The downgrade follows an upgrade two weeks ago by investment bank Robert W. Baird, which upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "neutral."

Fisher recently reported third-quarter revenue growth of 12.7 percent and a profit that grew more than 100 percent year over year (see BioCommerce Week 11/17/2005).

In early Monday trading, Fisher's shares traded down 1.35 percent at $63.62.

Applera to Issue Dividend to ABI Shareholders

Applera will issue a regular quarterly dividend of $.0425 per share to Applied Biosystems shareholders, the company said today.

The dividend will be payable to stockholders on Jan. 3, 2006, the company said.

Solexa to Pocket $61 Million in Stock Placement

Solexa will sell approximately $65 million worth of common stock and warrants to a group of institutional investors, the company said this past weekend.

The company said it expects to net about $61 million from the transaction.

News of the deal comes on the heels of CEO John West's recent disclosure that the company would require additional cash to get through 2006.

Under the terms of placement, Solexa will sell 10 million shares of common stock at $6.50 per share and will issue warrants to purchase approximately 3.5 million additional shares at an exercise price of $7.50 per share, the company said.

About 3.9 million shares of common stock and approximately 1.3 million warrants will be issued in a closing expected on or about Nov. 22, with the balance of roughly 6.1 million shares and warrants to purchase approximately 2.2 million shares issuing on the same terms in a second closing subject to stockholder approval, Solexa said.

Williams College to Build DNA Facility

The National Science Foundation has awarded $145,924 to Williams College to establish a laboratory to collect DNA-sequence and genotype data.

The new laboratory will include a capillary-based DNA analyzer, equipment for template amplification and purification, and computer workstations equipped with data-analysis software, according to the Williamstown, Mass.-based university.

The laboratory will be established under the direction of Jason Wilder, an assistant professor of biology at Williams who is studying genetic variability.

"With this equipment, we'll be able to incorporate acquisition of DNA data directly into the curriculum at Williams, and include these data more efficiently in faculty research," said Wilder.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.