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Luminex, Mayo Clinic, Beckman Coulter, Millipore, Abeome, Accelr8 Technology, NanoString Technologies, Eurofins Group, Exiqon, Oncotech

Luminex, Mayo Clinic to Develop Thalassemia Genetic Test
 
The Mayo Clinic will provide genetic tests and other services using Luminex’s xMAP technology and will work with Luminex to develop testing for the blood disorder thalassemia under a new licensing and development collaboration, the company said this week.
 
The program includes collaboration and licensing provisions for inherited thalassemia and allows for the development of additional tests as well, Luminex said.
 
With xMAP, Mayo Clinic will add to its thalassemia services a molecular diagnostic test using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and bead-based liquid microarray technology.
 
Thalassemia, which is also called Mediterranean anemia, is a blood disorder caused by genetic defects that result in reduced blood cells. Around two million people in the US carry the genetic trait for the disease, the company said.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
Beckman Coulter to Provide Update on MDx Instrument Next Month
 
A Beckman Coulter official said this week that the firm will provide an update in two weeks on the development of its new molecular diagnostics platform at its annual business review day in New York.
 
The UniCel DxN is on schedule to be launched in 2010, Robert Raynor, Beckman Coulter’s director of investor relations, told investors and analysts this week at the Piper Jaffray Health Care Conference in New York.
 
“We will be presenting some milestones on where we are with the project, and will give some data on what we’ve been able to accomplish so far,” he said. “”We’re going to lay out for you what we see as our initial launch menu for test items.”
 
Beckman Coulter initially disclosed its plans to develop the next-generation platform at last year’s Piper Jaffray Conference (see BioCommerce Week 12/6/2006).
 

 
Millipore, Abeome to Develop Stem Cell Antibody
 
Millipore this week said that it is collaborating with privately held Abeome to develop and distribute a new stem cell antibody.
 
According to the firms, the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Antigen-1 is a previously unidentified marker for analysis of pluripotent stem cells in immunocytochemistry and other immunological techniques.
 
Abeome initially developed the antibody in collaboration with Novocell. Millipore will market and distribute HESCA-1 to the research community, the firms said.
 
The partners said the antibody “may prove useful in the development of therapies for human cancers and other debilitating diseases.”
 
Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed.
 

 
Accelr8 Licenses OptiChem Technology to NanoString, Renews Deal with Scott Nexterion
 
Accelr8 Technology last week said that NanoString Technologies has licensed its OptiChem coating technology to use on its soon-to-be-released nCounter molecular-identification platform.
 
Accelr8 also said that Schott Nexterion has renewed its license to the OptiChem technology, which allows it to continue manufacturing and marketing its OptiChem-coated microarraying slides.
 
The company gets $200,000 in up-front license payments from the deals and is entitled to undisclosed "pre-paid minimum-guaranteed royalties."
 
Accelr8 said it will “now focus almost all of [its] resources” to develop its BACcel rapid bacterial-diagnostic system, which it also plans to out-license or leverage into “strategic partnerships."
 
The firm continues to “jointly publish scientific studies and support an exploratory research program” at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands for potential new OptiChem applications,” the company said in a statement.
 
"We are making rapid progress with the BACcel system and entering a new level of discussion with potential industry partners,” the company said.
 

 
Eurofins Acquires Three Unnamed Firms
 
Eurofins Group last week acquired three undisclosed companies in Germany, Japan, and the US that deal in custom DNA synthesis, analysis, and proteomic services.
 
Though Eurofins did not name the firms, it said together they employ around 200 people generated more than €20 million ($30 million) in 2006. The company said the acquisitions “should contribute positively” to the company’s financials “from 2008 onwards.” It did not elaborate.
 
“Through these acquisitions we will, together with our new partners, improve our market penetration in the area of molecular-biological research”, Eurofins CEO Gilles Martin said in a statement.
 
Financial terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.
 
Eurofins provides testing and support services to the pharmaceutical, food, environmental, and consumer-products industries and to governments.
 
The company generates around $600 million in annual revenues. It employs 7,000 people across 100 sites in 27 countries.
 

 
Exiqon Buys Dx Shop Oncotech for $45M, Plans miRNA Test Launch Next Year
 
Exiqon said this week that it will acquire privately held cancer diagnostics maker Oncotech for around $45 million in an all-share deal.
 
Exiqon, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, said the combined company will market miRNA-based tests that will use Exiqon’s biomarker technology coupled with Oncotech’s cell-based diagnostics infrastructure. Exiqon said it plans to launch the first of these tests next year.
 
It expects Tustin, Calif.-based Oncotech to be the marketing arm for the sale of future diagnostics products based on Exiqon’s LNA technology and miRNA biomarkers.
 
Oncotech supplies molecular cancer testing services to around 1,200 hospitals, Exiqon said. The deal will become final in January 2008, and should not affect the company’s 2007 financial results.
 
Oncotech also has a sample bank of human cancer tumors and a CLIA – certified testing laboratory in California.
 
The combined firm will employ around 200 staffers, Exiqon said.

The Scan

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

The Associated Press says Moderna is expanding its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine study to included additional children and may include even younger children.

PNAS Papers on Rat Clues to Human Migration, Thyroid Cancer, PolyG-DS

In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.