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Lynx Signs Five Academic Collaborations to Develop Technology

NEW YORK, Feb 20 - Lynx has signed research collaboration agreements with five academic research labs to develop its DNA microbead technology, the Hayward, Calif., company said Tuesday.

Lynx's technology, Megaclone, takes a sample of millions of DNA molecules and sorts it according to its sequence. Each different molecule binds to a microbead, with each bead able to hold up to 100,000 identical molecules. Fluorescent tags on each bead indicate how much of a particular DNA molecule is on the bead.  

A second technology, Megasort, uses Megaclone to extract genes from two samples and compares their expression levels in a single assay. One probe from each sample is hybridized with a population of megaclone microbeads that have copies of DNA fragments or genes from each sample. The relative fluorescence of different beads indicates differences in expression.

"These agreements directly support our strategic goal to collaborate with research institutions under arrangements in which we provide access to our technologies and our collaborators provide their biological expertise and outstanding research capabilities, said Lynx CEO Norrie Russell in a statement. "This is the beginning of programs we believe will become important in showcasing the power of Lynx's technologies."

Lynx will supply its Megasort technology to Drs. Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein, and Sanders Williams at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, at Dallas; to John Todd of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Mechanisms in Disease at the University of Cambridge; Robert Margolskee of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and Dr. David Dempster, of the New York State Department of Health and Columbia University. 

The parties did not disclose the financial terms of the collaborations.

At UT Southwestern, Drs. Brown and Goldstein will use it to look at the relationship between sterol regulatory element binding proteins, lipid enzymes, and LDL preceptors in human and Drosophila cells. Williams will use Megasort to identify selective gene expression in cardiogenic precursor cells.  

Todd of the Wellcome Trust will look at gene expression patterns in diabetic mice. Dr Margolksee of Howard Hughes and Mount Sinai will look at novel genes, transcription factors and transduction proteins for taste. Dr. Dempster of the New York State Department of Health will use Megasort to identify genes related to bone cell differentiation in studies related to osteoporosis.   

Lynx has indefinitely postponed a follow-on equity offering, after scuttling plans to raise $100 million earlier this year. As of the end of third quarter 2000, the company's cash reserves had dwindled to $19.8 million.  
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