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Qiagen, Beckman Coulter, Dako, Singulex, Sigma-Aldrich, PerkinElmer, Nonlinear Dynamics, Spectral Diagnostics, Bio-Rad Pasteur, Affymetrix, Exiqon, Applied Biosystems, PerkinElmer, ViaCell, Bruker BioSciences, Proxeon

Canadian Regulatory Body Clears Qiagen’s HBV Molecular Dx Assay
Qiagen said this week that Health Canada has licensed its artus PCR-based hepatitis B virus assay to monitor the viral load of HBV-infected patients.
The company said that the assay kit is in compliance with Health Canada's medical device requirements and is now available to doctors in Canada to help evaluate the efficacy of treatment.
Qiagen said that the kit is configured for Roche’s LightCycler RT-PCR instrument and includes reagents to detect the HBV genotypes A-G. The company said these genotypes are “representative of strains of the virus which can be found globally, ensuring highest sensitivity in monitoring of treatments.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.

Beckman Coulter to Buy Dako’s Flow Cytometry Business
Beckman Coulter this week said that it will buy the flow cytometry business of Dako for an undisclosed sum.
Included in the acquisition are Dako’s MoFlo XDP cell sorter and the CyAn research flow cytometer.
Beckman President and CEO Scott Garrett said the addition of these tools and assets to its flow cytometry line allows it to offer “a more comprehensive range of research solutions to our customers.”
Dako’s flow cytometry arm employs nearly 200 people, including research, sales and marketing, manufacturing, and administrative staffers.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.
Patrik Dahlen, Dako’s CEO, said selling the flow cytometry business to Beckman Coulter “reinforces our strategic intent to create a more focused business in anatomic pathology and tissue-based cancer diagnostics."
In a separate announcement last week, DNAPrint Genomics said that it will market its AncestryByDNA and DNAWitness ancestry and forensics platforms with Beckman Coulter’s SNPSTream genotyping systems.
Financial terms of that agreement were not released.

Singulex Gets SBIR Grant, Partners with Sigma-Aldrich on Biomarker Assays
Singulex last week said that it will receive a $900,000 Phase I/II Fast Track Small Business Innovation Research contract from the National Cancer Institute to create biomarker assays to predict patient response and efficacy of cancer drugs in development.
The company has also penned a collaboration with Washington University’s School of Medicine to “increase the clinical utility” of validated and newly discovered biomarkers in human disease.
As part of the SBIR contract, Singulex will collaborate with Wash U and St. Louis-based Sigma-Aldrich. The company will use Wash U-held biological samples and optimized reagents from Sigma-Aldrich to develop assays to detect expression-level changes for a panel of proteins associated with cancer growth.
“The goal of these assays is to measure the efficacy of potential anticancer drugs earlier in the developmental process and provide insight to patients' response to new candidate therapeutic agents,” Singulex, also based in St. Louis, said in the statement.
"Biomarkers indicative of disease states are increasingly crucial to translating basic science breakthroughs into better patient outcomes," Singulex CEO Philippe Goix said in the statement. He said that the company's flagship Erenna biomarker-detection platform can measure small changes of biomarkers "from healthy to disease states to provide answers not only about disease progression but also therapeutic efficacy of drugs in development."
As part of the first alliance, scientists at Wash U’s School of Medicine will gain access to the Erenna technology to help develop assays for validated and putative biomarkers in diseases such as breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and stroke.
An Erenna system has been installed in the proteomics core facility at Washington University's Siteman Cancer Center.
"Together with Singulex, we want to determine whether the Erenna system can assess the effectiveness of novel anti-cancer drugs early in their development and predict patients' responses to these therapies,” Samuel Stanley, vice chancellor of research at Wash U, said in a statement.

PerkinElmer, Nonlinear Dynamics in Imaging Technology Alliance
Nonlinear Dynamics said this week that it has signed an agreement with PerkinElmer that will pair its 2D gel analysis software with a PerkinElmer imaging system.
Under the agreement, PerkinElmer will supply Nonlinear Dynamics’ Progenesis SameSpots software with its Geliance 1000 Imaging System, Nonlinear said.
The company said the increase in analysis speed offered by the Progenesis SameSpots complements the Geliance 1000, which Nonlinear Dynamics said is “one of the fastest imaging systems on the market.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Spectral Diagnostics to Provide Bio-Rad Unit with Reagents
Toronto-based Spectral Diagnostics said this week that it will provide Bio-Rad Pasteur with single chain Troponin I reagents under a license and supply agreement.
Spectral CEO Paul Walker said the “consistent revenue stream” from the agreement will generate capital the company needs to commercialize its FDA-approved endotoxemia assay, which also tests for the subsequent risk of sepsis.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Affymetrix Closes $275M Senior Notes Offering
Affymetrix has closed its registered offering of $275 million of senior convertible notes.
The company said it plans to use the funds from the sale of the unsecured, 3.5 percent notes for working capital and for general corporate purposes, which may include funding operations, acquisitions, and capital expenditures.
The notes will be convertible into Affymetrix common stock at a rate of 33.191 shares per $1,000 principal amount of notes, which it said is equivalent to around $30.12 a share.
That value represents a 39 percent premium over the firm’s closing stock price on Nov. 13, the day the offering was announced.

Exiqon Licenses Nucleic Acid IP to ABI; Applera Declares Dividend
Exiqon has granted Applied Biosystems a license to use its locked nucleic acids intellectual property in siRNA projects, the Danish company said last week.
Exiqon said the agreement fulfills one of its strategic goals for 2008, which was to license its LNA technology to a “major tool provider.” The company said the IP “offers many more possibilities for developing competitive products” than it has the means to pursue.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
Separately, Applera’s board of directors last week declared a quarterly dividend of $.0425 per share for holders of Applied Biosystems’ stock.
The dividend is payable on Jan. 2 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Dec. 3.

PerkinElmer Completes ViaCell Purchase
PerkinElmer last week closed the acquisition of ViaCell, an umbilical cord blood preservation business, for around $300 million, or $7.25 a share.
ViaCell collects and stores stem cells from newborns’ umbilical cords that might be of medical use by the child or a relative. PerkinElmer expects the company’s flagship ViaCord technology to complement its current prenatal screening tools for the risk of chromosomal abnormalities.
PerkinElmer, which first announced its plan to buy the company last month, reiterated its intent to continue selling and supporting ViaCord while divesting the ViaCell therapeutic business.
Sales of ViaCord in 2007 are expected to be around $60 million, PerkinElmer said.
In a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week, PerkinElmer said that it has entered into a $300 million unsecured interim credit facility with Bank of America as administrative agent and certain other lenders. The firm drew down all of the funds available under the bridge facility to pay for ViaCell.
The credit facility matures on March 31, 2008, at which point all amounts outstanding are due in full.

Bruker to Sell Proxeon’s Nanoscale Chromatography System
Bruker BioSciences unit Bruker Daltonik and Proxeon, a proteomics tools maker, have struck an OEM agreement allowing Bruker to sell Proxeon’s nanoscale chromatography system, the companies said last week.
Bruker plans to sell the EASY-nLC system with its HCTultra ion trap, micrOTOF Q, and apex ultra proteomics tools initially in Europe, the companies said.
The companies said the EASY-nLC is optimized for use with mass spectrometry work, particularly LC-MS applications.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released, and the firms did not say whether Bruker’s rights extend beyond Europe.

The Scan

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.

Study Reviews Family, Provider Responses to Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing Follow-up

Investigators identified in the European Journal of Human Genetics variable follow-up practices after rapid whole-genome sequencing.

BMI-Related Variants Show Age-Related Stability in UK Biobank Participants

Researchers followed body mass index variant stability with genomic structural equation modeling and genome-wide association studies of 40- to 72-year olds in PLOS Genetics.

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.