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Qiagen, eGene, Exiqon, Luminex, Illumina, Agilent, Kreatech, Affymetrix, Sigma-Aldrich, Sangamo, Applied Microarrays, OGT

Qiagen Closes Acquisition of eGene
 
Qiagen said this week that it has closed its $34 million acquisition of eGene, and said it expects the company to contribute strong revenue growth by next year.
 
Specifically, the company said it expects the acquisition to contribute $2 million in the second half of 2007 and between $7 million and $9 million for full year 2008.
 
The acquisition, originally announced April 12, gives Qiagen’s North American Holdings subsidiary eGene’s multi-channel sample-separation and -analysis technology, its HDA GT12 genetic analyzer, as well as a software-analysis package and consumable cartridges used by molecular diagnostics and research markets.
 
The total purchase price for Irvine, Calif.-based eGene includes $15.5 million in cash and 1 million common Qiagen shares priced at $17 apiece. Qiagen also absorbed around $1.5 million in liabilities.
 

 
Exiqon to Distribute microRNA Products Designed for Luminex’s xMAP Platform
 
Luminex and Exiqon have struck an agreement under which Exiqon will non-exclusively distribute a line of microRNA products the companies designed for Luminex’s xMAP platform in 2006.
 
The FlexmiR product line is based on Luminex’s xMAP technology and Exiqon’s locked nucleic acid technology.
 
The deal also gives Exiqon non-exclusive rights to sell Luminex systems worldwide.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 
The companies claim FlexmiR can deliver more than 6,300 data points in four hours.
 

 
Mexican Genomics Facility to Use Illumina’s BeadStation
 
Illumina will provide its BeadStation to a large-scale genomics facility in Mexico City designed to continue and expand the work of the Mexican HapMap project, the company said this week.
 
The National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN) will use the Illumina hardware with IBM bioinformatics in SNP-genotyping and gene-expression studies to “characterize the genetic variation of the Mexican population,” the company said.
 
The data collected on the genomes of Mexicans will be used to “incorporate genomics into methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, to enhance genomics training and research, to educate the public, and to make available advances in technology," INMEGEN Director Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez said in a statement
 
Illumina said INMEGEN opened one lab this week that houses a genotyping and gene expression-analysis unit to be stocked with the BeadStation, as part of what will be a 40,000-square-foot facility.
 
INMEGEN researchers will use that lab to genotype and analyze samples from 1,200 individuals from six different Mexican states.
 
"Based upon results from the second phase of the Mexican HapMap Project, we will be able to lay the foundation necessary to improve and accelerate the development of clinical genomic medicine," Jimenez-Sanchez said.
 

 
Agilent Licenses FFP Labeling Technology from Kreatech
 
Agilent Technologies has licensed labeling technology from Kreatech for use with its formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded DNA tissue-extraction method, Agilent said this week.
 
Agilent said it will use Kreatech’s Universal Linkage System, which is a non-enzymatic direct-labeling methodology that has been optimized to be used with Agilent’s oligo comparative genomic hybridization microarrays.
 
There are around 400 million FFPE-preserved DNA samples in tissue banks that are “too degraded to use in microarray analysis techniques such as aCGH,” the company said. 
 
Having the capability to access degraded FFPE samples for microarray use offers “tremendous promise for cancer researchers,” Jay Kaufman, Agilent’s marketing director, said in a statement.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
European Institutes to Use Affymetrix Microarrays in Mental Retardation Studies
 
A group of three European academic research institutes will use Affymetrix technology in an initiative aimed at identifying mutations in mentally retarded children, the company said this week.
 
The European Cytogenetic Research Initiative includes Affymetrix, the University of Tuebingen in Germany, the NHS Regional Genetics Laboratory in the UK, and the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, Affy said.
 
The three institutions will use Affy's microarrays to provide a high-resolution look at the human genome, "enabling researchers to better identify causative mutations, copy number variants, and loss of heterozygosity information," the company said.
 
University of Tuebingen's Olaf Riess said that by using the Affy microarrays, the collaborators "expect to find a much higher number of causal de novo deletions and amplifications than we could with the current gold-standard methods like karyotyping."
 
"Each year up to 30,000 children with learning difficulties will be tested in the UK alone using karyotyping and targeted FISH methods," said NHS' head of molecular cytogenetics, Dominic McMullan. But "these technologies are only helping to resolve five to ten percent of cases," McMullan added.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich, Sangamo Collaborate on ZFP Research Reagents
 
Sigma-Aldrich and Sangamo BioSciences said this week that they will collaborate on the development of and marketing of zinc finger-based research reagents.
 
The firms will use Sangamo’s ZFP technology to develop the reagents for a variety of cell analysis applications including cell lines with enhanced protein production performance, panels of knock-out cell lines for drug discovery, and stem cell and transgenic animal models.
 
Under terms of the license, Sigma will make an initial payment o Sangamo of $13.5 million, which consists of an upfront license payment and the purchase of 1 million shares of Sangamo common stock at $7.75 per share. Sangamo also will receive additional fees and minimum annual payments as well as up to $22 million in development and commercial milestone payments. It also will receive royalties on sales of products by Sigma.
 
Sigma has the right to sublicense the technology for research applications. If it takes that sublicense it would provide Sangamo with 50 percent of revenues from the sublicense in the first two years and 25 percent of revenues thereafter.
 

 
Applied Microarrays Licenses Southern Patents from OGT
 
Oxford Gene Technology has licensed its Southern array patents to Applied Microarrays, OGT said this week.
 
The IP comprises the fundamental patents enabling companies to manufacture and market oligonucleotide microarrays, and will allow Applied Microarrays to fabricate, market, and distribute the CodeLink line it acquired in May from GE Healthcare.
 
AMI, a 1-year-old firm headed by a former Motorola Life Sciences researcher, also gets OEM rights to manufacture custom arrays for third parties under their own brand name. 
 
The license will remain valid for the patents’ lifetime.
 
Financial details were not disclosed.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.