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Qiagen, Whatman, Cepheid, PerkinElmer, Axxam, Illumina, Sigma-Aldrich, Beckman Coulter, Biosite, BD, Waters, LabCorp, Roche

Qiagen to Distribute Whatman Sample-Prep Kits
Qiagen said this week that it will distribute Whatman's FTA DNA-handling products under a non-exclusive agreement.
Under the agreement, Qiagen will pay an upfront fee and royalties for the rights to sell the kits in the life science research, molecular diagnostics, and applied-testing markets.
The royalty payments will apply to all Qiagen sales that incorporate Whatman's products.
Whatman's FTA instruments and FTA-based kits use "a chemically treated matrix" that lyses cells, immobilizes nucleic acids, and allows researchers to collect, transport, archive, and release DNA at room temperature.
Qiagen said the FTA line is "highly synergistic" with its sample-prep technology portfolio, and that it expects the combination of tools to be useful in forensics, pharmacogenomics, biobanking, and genomics research.

FDA Determination Means Cepheid’s MRSA Test Will Be Sold In and Out of Hospital Labs
The US Food and Drug Administration has determined that Cepheid’s methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus test is of “moderate complexity” under its Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments guidelines, the company said this week.
Cepheid said that the categorization will enable the Xpert MRSA test to be used both within and outside traditional hospital labs.
The FDA in April approved the test, which is designed to rapidly detect MRSA, a common cause of nosocomial infections.
The test runs on the company’s GeneXpert system, which combines sample prep with real-time PCR amplification and detection functions, the company said.

PerkinElmer to Market Axxam’s Photoprotein Technology
PerkinElmer said this week that it has licensed exclusive worldwide rights to market Axxam’s Photina photoprotein technology to the drug discovery market.
Photina is a luminescent cell-based assay platform for screening drug targets including G-protein coupled receptors and ion channels.
The firms have also agreed to collaborate on the development of ion channel cell lines for use in high-throughput screening and compound profiling. Axxam retained the rights to use the technology in its discovery services for third parties.
The collaboration is the latest in a series of actions by PerkinElmer over the past several months to greatly expand its presence in the cell analysis market. Last month, the firm acquired Improvision, a privately held developer of cell-imaging software (see BioCommerce Week 4/4/2007).
That deal followed the earlier acquisitions of Euroscreen Products and Evotec Technologies (see BioCommerce Week 1/3/2007  and BioCommerce Week 12/6/2006).

Illumina to Expand Into New San Diego Facility
Illumina will expand its laboratory and office workforce into an 84,000-square-foot facility currently under construction in San Diego, BioMed Realty Trust said last week.
BioMed, a real estate investment company focused on the life sciences industries, said the new facility, for which it officially broke ground on Friday, is an expansion of an existing 110,000-square-foot lease it has with Illumina at the University Towne Center submarket of San Diego.

Sigma-Aldrich Unit Licenses Beckman Coulter Oligo Synthesis Technology
A Sigma-Aldrich unit this week said that one of its businesses has licensed Beckman Coulter’s fast deprotection chemistry.
The license covers Beckman’s acetyl-protected cytidine DNA- and 2'-O-methyl phosphoramidites for the synthesis of oligonucleotides, according to SAFC, whose Supply Solutions business attained the IP.
Through the deal, SAFC becomes the first company to license the “full range” of these phosphoramidites, which the company will produce at its Proligo Reagents ISO 9001-certified manufacturing facility in Hamburg, Germany.
It also expands SAFC's oligo synthesis reagents product offerings in the sector.

Beckman Coulter Gets $54M from Biosite
Beckman Coulter said in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week that Biosite has paid the firm the $54 million termination fee stipulated under the terms of their proposed merger agreement, after Beckman pulled out of the bidding war with Inverness Medical Innovations to buy Biosite.
Under the purchase agreement, which comes after more than six weeks of offers, counteroffers, and negotiations, Inverness will pay $92.50 a share for 95 percent of Biosite's outstanding shares. Inverness already owns 5 percent.
The companies expect the deal to close at the end of the second quarter or at the beginning of the third quarter.
Inverness CEO Ron Zwanziger said his company plans to "quickly leverage Biosite's strength in proprietary protein markers and robust cardiovascular platform" with its own ongoing cardiac R&D programs.

BD, PerkinElmer Boards of Directors Declare Dividends
The Boards of Directors for Becton Dickinson and PerkinElmer both declared quarterly dividends this past week.
BD will pay a dividend of $.245 per common share on June 29 to holders of record on June 8.
PerkinElmer will pay a dividend of $.07 per common share on Aug. 10 to shareholders of record on July 20.

Waters to Provide Instruments for China’s Dioxin Labs Network
Waters said this week that it will provide the China State Environmental Protection Agency with analytical instruments and lab equipment for use in the country’s dioxin laboratories and monitoring network.
The agreement follows last year’s agreements between Waters and the China Municipal Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the Beijing Municipal Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Those collaborations are focused on food-safety analysis and environmental regulatory compliance.

LabCorp to Sell Roche’s PCR-Based HIV-1 Test
Laboratory Corporation of America will be the first commercial laboratory in the US to sell Roche Diagnostics' AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan HIV-1 test, the company said this week.
The US Food & Drug Administration approved the real-time PCR test May 11.
The product quantifies the amount of HIV virus in the blood to enable doctors to establish a baseline HIV infection level before starting treatment. They could also use the test to monitor patients' responses during treatment.
In a statement, LabCorp said the test’s ability to fully automate sample preparation, amplification, and detection in a standardized process “will eliminate a number of manual steps and enhance the total quality process.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.