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Murray Wigmore, Christopher Yoo, Carl Zeiss, Qiagen, Alnylam, Thermo, Schott, Alpha Innotech, Genomic Solutions, Blue Heron, Clinical Data, Icoria


Murray Wigmore has joined GE Healthcare Canada as general manager for the clinical systems group, Biocommerce Week has learned. Previously, he was senior vice president at MDS Sciex.

Christopher Yoo has joined the InnovationXchange Network, an Australia-based non-profit business development organization, to lead business operations in the Americas and internationally. Yoo was formerly director of marketing, commercial operations, at Applied Biosystems and previously worked at IBM as global strategy executive for the company's Information Based Medicine business unit.


BioCommerce Briefs

Carl Zeiss Unit and Qiagen Combine Laser Microdissection, Sample Prep Offers

P.A.L.M. Microlaser Technologies and Qiagen will combine their respective laser microdissection systems and specimen preparation kits, the companies said last week.

P.A.L.M., a subsidiary of Carl Zeiss based in Bernried, Germany, offers MicroBeam laser microdissection systems that make use of a patented technology called Laser Microdissection and Pressure Catapulting, which enables touch-free transport of target samples.

Qiagen will offer pre-analytical sample preparation kits optimized for P.A.L.M.'s systems for specimen collection, stabilization, purification and amplification of nucleic acids, purification of proteins, and subsequent analysis.

Combining the two companies' products will permit parallel morphological, immuno-histological, and molecular-biological analyses of minute sample quantities, according to the companies.

Qiagen Licenses RNAi Patents from Alnylam

Qiagen has licensed a number of RNA interference patents from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Alnylam said this week.

Under the non-exclusive license, Qiagen will be allowed to provide research products and services using RNAi under the Kreutzer-Limmer patent family, which covers small interfering RNAs and their use to mediate RNAi in mammalian cells. Qiagen is the fifteenth company to take a license from Alnylam to the patents.

Qiagen already offers siRNA libraries and high-throughput siRNA synthesis technology.

Thermo Sells Biostar Dx Business to Inverness for $52.5M

Thermo Electron said this week that it has agreed to sell its Louisville, Colo.-based Thermo Biostar point-of-care and rapid diagnostics business to Inverness Medical Innovations for $52.5 million in cash.

The sale is expected to close by Sept. 30, subject to the consent of Inverness' lenders and other customary closing conditions.

Biostar had 2004 revenues of around $29.7 million and first-half 2005 revenues of approximately $18.5 million and has been operating profitably. The business focuses on the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases as well as a number of diagnostic screening tests.

"Although the point of care and rapid diagnostics business has performed well, we do not believe it to be a strategic fit with Thermo's long term strategy for growth," said Marijn Dekkers, president and CEO of Thermo Electron, in a company statement.

Dekkers added that Thermo's remaining clinical diagnostic products "have excellent market positions."

Inverness Medical Innovations, based in Waltham, Mass., focuses on diagnostics for women's health and cardiology. The company will acquire Thermo Biostar's line of point-of-care rapid tests, as well as 55 full-time sales staff.

Schott, Alpha Innotech, Genomic Solutions Form 'Unofficial' Co-Marketing Pact

German slide and microtiter plate vendor Schott-Nexterion has teamed up with Genomic Solutions and Alpha Innotech to form an "unofficial collaboration" that enables the three companies to fuse their products in presentations to customers as "an integrated [product offering] for doing multiplexed assays," officials from the three firms said last week.

The technologies involved in the alliance are Schott's slides and plates, GS' MicroGrid array spotters, and Alpha Innotech's NovaRay reader.

Speaking at IBC's Chips to Hits Conference in Boston after a presentation by a Genomic Solutions partner who described the alliance, Schott-Nexterion general manager Lutz Wehmeier said that the collaboration aims to "enhance [the platforms' ability to] work together to produce a very dedicated format."

"[Our] companies [think] that the microtiter format will be very important" in clinical diagnostics, Wehmeier said. While the collaboration is non-exclusive, Schott will recommend Genomic Solutions and Alpha Innotech tools to their customers, Wehmeier said.

Wehmeier did not exclude the possibility of a formal co-marketing agreement with the two companies. "We will evaluate future opportunities for co-marketing seriously," he said.

Sia Ghazvini, vice president of business development at Alpha Innotech, told BioCommerce Week sister publication GenomeWeb News that the companies chose to collaborate because they viewed each other as the strongest in their respective areas in the microtiter space, and that the collaboration was focused on making the plate format easier to access and understand for customers.

During his presentation, Jeremy Clarke, Genomic Solutions' global product manager, also revealed that the trio has been working with the University of Arizona and Stanford University, and both are helping them develop assays based on their respective equipment.

Blue Heron Gets SBIR Grant to Develop Protein Display Bead Technology

Blue Heron Biotechnology has received a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to develop a protein display bead technology, the company said this week.

The amount of the grant was not immediately available from the company, but NIH databases list a six-month, $133,183 grant for fiscal year 2005, entitled "Protein-Display Beads," that started Sept. 1.

The beads will be used to study protein function in high throughput. Each bead in a large pool will carry a unique DNA sequence and the protein encoded by that sequence.

According to the NIH database, Blue Heron plans to commercialize the technology for characterizing and optimizing proteins of medical and industrial value. The company plans to provide it as a service for existing customers and use it for internal research projects.

Clinical Data to Acquire Icoria for $12.5 Million

Clinical Data plans to acquire Icoria in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $12.5 million, the companies said this week.

"Icoria's biomarker discovery platform is an excellent fit with our molecular diagnostics business model while their metabolomics and genomics capabilities complement that pharmacogenomics capabilities we will be gaining in our pending acquisition of Genaissance Pharmaceuticals," said Clinical Data's president and CEO Israel Stein in a company statement. Clinical Data said in June that it will acquire Genaissance.

Under the agreement, which still requires approval by Icoria's shareholders, Clinical Data will issue 0.0139 of its own shares for each share of Icoria common stock, representing a price of $.32 per Icoria share based on the closing price of Clinical's stock last Friday.

The acquisition is expected to close late this year or early in 2006. The aggregate purchase price could fluctuate, depending on Clinical Data's common stock price, but will in no case be less than $10 million or more than $12.5 million.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.