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RBM, Luminex, Invitrogen, HUPO, GE Healthcare, Illumina, Type I Diabetes Genetics Consortium, JP Morgan, Agilent, Piper Jaffray, Cepheid, HiFi DNA Tech, Nanosphere

RBM to Pay Luminex $12.5M to Settle Dispute, Raises $25M in Private Funding
Multiplexed biomarker testing lab Rules Based Medicine will pay Luminex $12.5 million to settle a lawsuit having to do with Biophysical Corporation’s testing services, Luminex said this week.
RBM, which was spun off from Luminex in September 2002, initially filed the claims in a Travis County, Texas, District Court in 2005, but Luminex soon afterward responded with its own counterclaims.
The settlement, which formally dismisses the lawsuit, includes the retirement of Luminex’s ownership of RBM stock and “the grant of certain additional licensing rights,” Luminex said.
All other terms of the agreement are confidential, Luminex said.
Meanwhile, RBM has raised $25 million in a Series A round of private equity financing, the company said this week.
The Austin, Tex.-based shop said it plans to use the cash for aggressive growth in the services business, to fund development of diagnostics services and kits, to shore up its balance sheet, to repay debts, and to make acquisitions and investments in the biomarker and medical diagnostics fields.
In addition, RBM will use $12.5 million of the financing to pay Luminex under the terms of the settlement. 
The financing was led by Equity Group Investments, and included contributions from Cross Creek Capital and Stephens Capital Partners.
As part of the funding, Matt Zell, managing director of EGI, has joined RBM's board of directors.

Invitrogen, HUPO Create Protein Standard
Invitrogen and the Human Proteome Organization have wrapped up an effort to create a protein standard sampling program, the company said last week.
The resulting HUPO Gold MS Protein Standard is a fixed mixture of known human proteins designed to allow scientists to benchmark and compare data between experiments, Invitrogen said.
Paul Predki, Invitrogen’s vice president of R&D, said the standard will help scientists make “their substrate identification more definitive and will allow them to reference their efforts on a global research scale."
The standard is designed to enable scientists to “validate and cross-reference their data, independent of sample types processed, mass spectrometry workflows performed, or actual mass spectrometers used,” Invitrogen said.
Predki added that currently available mass spec standards “potentially contain naturally occurring contaminants, as well as proteins subject to natural genetic variations … which can contribute to reduced reliability and reproducibility of a standard.”
The product, which is available to HUPO members now, will be the first commercially available all-recombinant human protein standard for mass spectrometry when it widely launches in the first quarter of 2008, according to Invitrogen.

GE Healthcare Revenues Rise 4 Percent But Profits Dip
General Electric last week reported that revenues for its Healthcare business rose 4 percent as profit for the business slipped 1 percent.
Total Healthcare receipts for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to around $4 billion from around $3.9 billion during the same period one year ago.
According to GE, Healthcare’s results were in line with expectations. Noting that its US imaging business "continues to face pressure from effects of the Deficit Reduction Act," the company said that “the balance of the Healthcare business is performing very well.”
Healthcare’s revenue for the period represents around 9.5 percent of GE’s overall revenue for the quarter, which increased 12 percent to $42.5 billion year over year. Total organic revenue business-wide increased 8 percent, the company said.
Healthcare’s profit slid 1 percent to $692 million from $699 million in the year-ago period.

Illumina to Provide Genotyping Services for Diabetes Consortium
Illumina will handle genotyping services for a joint study for the Type I Diabetes Genetics Consortium that aims to identify genes that influence the risk of developing the disease.
The firm said it will provide its Fast Track Genotyping Services to process more than 6,500 samples for the study, which is being conducted by the Center for Public Health Genomics at the University of Virginia for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Illumina will use its HumanHap550-Duo BeadChip platform for the study. Once the diabetes-linked genes have been identified, "researchers can then use this information to develop better approaches to detecting, treating, and preventing the disease," said Stephen Rich, director of the CPHG.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

JP Morgan Upgrades Agilent
Investment bank JP Morgan this week upgraded its rating on Agilent Technologies’ stock from “neutral” to “overweight” and placed a $46 price target on the shares. Agilent’s shares closed Tuesday at $38.30.
JP Morgan also noted that Agilent remains a potential takeover target.

Piper Jaffray Starts Cepheid Coverage
Investment Bank Piper Jaffray initiated coverage of Cepheid’s stock with a “market perform” rating and a $24 price target.
The bank said Cepheid would benefit from increased market penetration in the market for hospital-acquired infection tests, but cautioned that the firm’s earnings would be impeded by its margin structure.
Cepheid’s shares had risen sharply since the beginning of the year, but dropped over the past week on profit taking. Its stock closed Tuesday at $22.10.

HiFi DNA Tech Files Suit Against FDA Over HPV Test Classification
HiFi DNA Tech said this week that it filed a lawsuit against the US Food and Drug Administration last week for allegedly failing to respond in time to the company’s petition to reclassify DNA tests for human papillomavirus from class III to class II devices.  
The Trumbull, Conn.-based company, which makes reagents and has developed a PCR-based HPV genotyping methodology, said the agency is required to either approve or deny such petitions within 210 days under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The company filed its petition to reclassify the test in May.
The agency's "inaction" blocks the availability of newly developed molecular diagnostic tests and may be hindering women from accessing treatment and slowing therapeutic decision-making, President Sin Hang Lee said in a statement.
“Reclassification of HPV tests as class II in vitro devices will encourage small innovative companies to use the less burdensome 510k applications to introduce their new technologies for more accurate HPV testing on a competitive basis," Lee added.
HiFi DNA Tech is a startup founded to commercialize the HPV test.

Nanosphere Gets FDA OK for Coagulation-Linked Gene Mutations
Nanosphere last week said that the US Food and Drug Administration has cleared a test that detects gene mutations linked with blood coagulation and metabolism disorders.
Nanosphere’s F5/F2/MTHFR Nucleic Acid Test runs on the company’s Verigene System and can be applied in single or multiplex formats.
It tests for mutations in three specific genes that together can increase the risk of blood clots and resulting ischemic stroke.
Last month, the FDA cleared Nanosphere’s test for gene variants linked to sensitivity to the anticoagulant warfarin.

The Scan

mRNA-Based Vaccine on the Way in China

China may soon have its own mRNA-based vaccine, according to Nature News.

Arranged Killing, Fraud Alleged by Prosecutors

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors allege that the co-founder of a biotech arranged to have a business associate who threatened to expose him as a fraud killed.

Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

The New York Times looks back at the 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their CRISPR paper.

PNAS Papers on Blue Cone Monochromacy Structural Variants, HIV-1 Mutant, T-ALL

In PNAS this week: structural variants linked to blue cone monochromacy, HIV-1 variants affecting the matrix protein p17, and more.