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PerkinElmer, Millipore, JPT Peptide Technologies, University of Edinburgh, Sigma-Aldrich, Beckman Coulter, Lumigen, NCI, University of Puerto Rico

PerkinElmer CEO Cites Cell Screening Technologies as ‘Acquisition Priorities’
Recognizing the recent increased uptake of cell-based assays in drug discovery, a high-ranking PerkinElmer official last week said the company has made cellular screening technologies and related consumables and reagents “acquisition priorities,” and that it will continue to build out its cell-based screening platforms, particularly in the areas of GPCRs and kinases.
In a presentation at UBS’ annual Global Life Sciences conference held last week in New York, Greg Summe, PerkinElmer’s chairman and CEO, said that the firm has “been a leader in high-throughput biochemical screening technology for a while,” but that industry is “increasingly moving into cellular assays.”
Summe also said that reagents and other consumables and cellular screening technologies are two of several “acquisition priorities” for the company in the coming months. Other priorities include technologies for neonatal, prenatal, and maternal health; medical imaging; and drug-discovery services.
Later, in an investor breakout session, Summe added that “our initiatives will be based around instrumentation, reagents, and high-throughput and high-content screening.”
In particular, he said that know-how within the analytical part of PerkinElmer’s Life and Analytical Sciences division would be a good complement for high-content screening technologies because “one of the major challenges in this area is the massive amount of data you get.”
Another company executive, Richard Elgen, vice president and general manager, recently told BioCommerce Week sister publication Cell-Based Assay News that the firm, which doesn’t currently offer a platform for high-content, image-based screening, is nonetheless keeping a close eye on the space, and “evaluating possibilities.”

Millipore Inks Enzyme Products Pact with JPT
Millipore announced last week that it will market and distribute JPT Peptide Technologies’ line of enzyme profiling products and services targeting enzymes such as kinases, phosphatases, and proteases.
JPT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berlin-based Jerini. The non-exclusive deal is worldwide.
JPT's products “strongly complement our existing portfolio of cell signaling reagents and services,” Rick Ryan, vice president of the drug discovery business unit for the bioscience division of Millipore, said in a statement.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

University of Edinburgh Joins Sigma-Aldrich’s RNAi Partnership Program
Sigma-Aldrich said this week that researchers at the University of Edinburgh have joined its RNAi Partnership Program.
Sigma formed its RNAi Partnership Program in April to provide researchers with RNAi tools, including products, new technologies, and reagents, as well as access to Sigma-Aldrich’s functional genomic portfolio.
The portfolio includes access to the company's lentivirus-based MISSION TRC shRNA libraries that target more than 15,000 human and mouse genes.
Last month, researchers at six other universities, including the Wistar Institute, Mayo Clinic, Tufts University, Princeton University, the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, and Washington University in St. Louis, joined the program.
Sigma-Aldrich also said this week that its SAFC Pharma business segment has invested $16 million in expanding its cGMP protein purification capacity to meet increased market demand for therapeutic proteins. The operations are part of the Sigma’s 400,000 square feet manufacturing campus in St. Louis, Mo.

Beckman Coulter Acquires Lumigen for $185M
Beckman Coulter said this week that it has signed an agreement to acquire Lumigen for $185 million.
Lumigen, based in Southfield, Mich., provides detection chemistries for clinical diagnostics and life science research. In the research field, the technology has been applied to Western and Southern blotting, according to a Beckman spokesperson.
Beckman Coulter currently uses Lumigen’s proprietary chemiluminescent chemistry for its Access family of immunoassay systems.
Sales of Lumigen's chemiluminescent substrate to Beckman Coulter accounted for about 40 percent, or $13.2 million, of Lumigen’s reported 2005 revenues of $33 million. The Beckman spokesperson said the purchase price is roughly five times the current estimate of Lumigen’s revenues for 2006.
Lumigen has 44 employees, all of whom are expected to be retained by Beckman, the spokesperson said. The company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Beckman following completion of the acquisition, which is expected by Nov. 1.
Beckman said that the acquisition will ensure it has continued access to Lumigen's current and future immunochemical and other high-sensitivity testing products.

NCI Launches $104M Proteomics Cancer Initiative
The National Cancer Institute last week unveiled a $104 million Clinical Proteomic Technologies Initiative for Cancer.
NCI awarded a total of $35.5 million in grants over five years to establish a network of five teams for Clinical Proteomic Technology Assessment for Cancer, the agency said. The teams comprise: the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; University of California San Francisco/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; Purdue University; and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Each team will assess measurement technologies for proteins and peptides relevant to clinical cancer research and practice. Specifically, they will assess mass spectrometry and affinity capture platforms and evaluate the performance of various proteomic technology platforms.
The NCI said standards will allow researchers conducting cancer-related protein research at different labs to use proteomic technologies and methodologies to directly compare and analyze their work.

New Puerto Rico Biotech Hub to Focus on Genomic Technologies
Genomic technologies will be a focus of a new biotechnology hub being build in Puerto Rico, the island’s governor said last week.
Calling the US territory a “Bio Island,” Anibal Acevedo Vilau said the molecular science facility would be a joint venture of Puerto Rico, the US National Institutes of Health, and the University of Puerto Rico.
Along with genomics, the facility will study nanotechnology, biology, molecular neurosciences, and infectious disease prevention research.
The biotechnology hub will also include the University of Puerto Rico Cancer Center, a joint venture with the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The center will study cancer prevention and treatment specifically for the Hispanic community.
Puerto Rico also established the Science and Technology Trust to provide ongoing funding for infrastructure advancements and research and development projects.
Puerto Rico’s biotechnology sector has more than 2 million square feet of manufacturing space and has generated more than $3.5 billion in capital investments, the governor said.

The remarks were made as part of the second annual Biotechnology Week on Puerto Rico, which coincided with the third annual Caribbean and Latin American Biotechnology Congress.

The Scan

Cell Atlas of Human Lung Development Gives View of Developing Airway

Researchers have generated a cell atlas of human lung development, which they report in Cell.

Study Finds Costs of Genome Sequencing May Limit Utility in Routine Care

Researchers report in the European Journal of Human Genetics that genome sequencing for rare disease diagnoses currently has similar benefits as less expensive exome analysis.

Study Suggests Nursing Mother's Diet Can Impact Offspring's Gut Microbiome

A new Cell Host and Microbe paper finds that mice whose mothers were fed a low-fiber diet during nursing experience lasting microbiota dysbiosis and increased obesity.

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.