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Novartis and BioVision to Continue Proteomic Research


Novartis signaled its continued interest in the proteomics field by penning a biomarker discovery deal with Digilab BioVision, a follow-up to an alliance begun in 2004.

As with the 2004 agreement, the new deal calls for Novartis to use Digilab BioVision’s proprietary Peptidomics technology to evaluate clinical samples for relevant peptides.

“In the first phase of our cooperation, we were successful [in delivering] very satisfying results to our partner and have proved that our Peptidomics approach offers the solution of choice for biomarker discovery,” Digilab BioVision CBO Rainer Voegeli said in a statement announcing the new collaboration.

Hartmut Selle, manager of customer projects for Digilab BioVision, says the new deal “is not a direct continuation [of the 2004 partnership] but it’s related concerning the underlying topic and disease.”

He declined to reveal the specific disease area the two companies will be researching, but signaled that they are looking for biomarkers for the same disease as in the 2004 deal.

“It’s in the same area,” says Selle. “There are some changes in the program, so it’s not just [that] we’re working on the same project. It’s a different one but it’s under the same umbrella, the same topic, the same field of research.” The first agreement, Selle says, was strictly for the discovery of biomarkers. The new agreement “is [for] discovery as well, but if we’re lucky we can add some validation to it.”

For Novartis, the deal is a further sign that it is committed to proteomic research. Last year, for example, scientists at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation developed a new method for selective and reversible capture of modified peptides. Novartis is also part of a partnership, created by the US Food and Drug Administration as part of its Critical Path Initiative, to develop guidelines for biomarker use.

— Tony Fong


US Patent 7,102,128. Ambient pressure matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) apparatus and method of analysis. Inventors: Jian Bai, Steven Fischer, and Michael Flanagan. Assignee: Agilent Technologies. Issued: September 5, 2006.

This patent concerns a MALDI mass spec operating at ambient pressure. “The ambient pressure (AP-MALDI) source is compatible with various mass analyzers, particularly with mass spectrometers and solves many problems associated with conventional MALDI sources operating under vacuum,” according to the abstract.

US Patent 7,098,451. Means and method for multiplexing sprays in an electrospray ionization source. Inventor: Melvin Park. Assignee: Bruker Daltonics. Issued: August 29, 2006.

The patent relates to a method for “multiplexing a plurality of samples from multiple sprayer devices to be efficiently transferred to a mass analyzer for subsequent analysis,” the abstract states. Sample ions are formed from desolvated sample sprays and then selected for use in a mass analyzer.


Waters announced that it will develop software controls so its Acquity UPLC system will work with Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex’s family of mass spectrometers. The agreement, part of an ongoing effort to make the UPLC system compatible with non-Waters mass specs, calls for Waters to develop software controls that will enable the Acuity platform to be a “fully supported” LC inlet to the ABI/MDS mass specs.

Expression Pathology has licensed from Harvard University the patent rights to the AQUA protein quantification technology, which uses labeled peptide standards “to achieve absolute [quantification] of target proteins in biological samples by mass spectrometry,” according to the company.

Protein Sciences has licensed its FluBiok recombinant influenza vaccine to Japanese biotech UMN Pharma to make and sell the product in that market. Terms of the deal call for PSC to transfer technology to UMN, which will register, manufacture, market, and sell the vaccine in Japan for annual and pandemic use. FluBiok has received “accelerated approval” status from the US Food and Drug Administration.

PerkinElmer acquired Irish instrumentation vendor Avalon Instruments for an undisclosed amount. Avalon, based in Belfast, manufactures benchtop dispersive Raman spectrometers, which are complementary to near-infrared spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy.


99 percent

Shareholders at both Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific separately approved the $10.6 billion merger of the two companies. More than 99 percent of shareholders who voted at Fisher gave the deal the thumbs up, while more than 98 percent of Thermo’s voting shareholders approved the deal. The merger must still be approved by US regulators.

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