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Sigma-Aldrich, Epigentek, Affymetrix, Third Wave, Acacia, CombiMatrix, Nanogen

Sigma-Aldrich Licenses Epigentek IP for Epigenetic Products
Sigma-Aldrich this week said it has licensed from Epigentek technology for DNA modification, methylation quantitation, and protein/DNA interaction, which Sigma plans to use to develop its planned epigenetics research products.
The license is exclusive in the US and co-exclusive globally, Sigma-Aldrich said.
Keith Jolliff, Sigma-Aldrich’s director of Genomics and Functional Genomics, said the agreement “is an excellent entry point to supporting epigenetics research,” which he said the company has identified “as a growing area of interest and research for heritable diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many others.”
Sigma-Aldrich plans to launch a family of products for epigenetic research, beginning with the Imprint DNA Modification Kit, which it will launch this month. Other products planned under the Imprint brand include kits for global methylation quantitation and chromatin immunoprecipitation based on Epigentek's technologies.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

South Korean Government to Use Affy Microarrays for Population Genetics Study
The South Korean government will use Affymetrix’s microarray technology in a large human genome-wide association study to identify genetic causes of “lifestyle-related” complex diseases that are prevalent in the country, the firm said this week.
The Korean Association Resource project, also known as KARE, is commissioned by Korea’s National Institute of Health and its Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Affy said.
The project will use Affy’s SNP Array 5.0 to generate genotypes from more than 10,000 human samples in order to discover genes that are associated with adverse drug responses or other complex disorders.
It “will enable us to uncover the genes associated with diseases such as metabolic syndrome that affect many individuals in Korea," said Bermseok Oh, chief of the KNIH’s Division of Structural and Functional Genomics.
Affy said KARE will make the information drawn from the studies available as part of a database that may be used by other researchers.
Affy's South Korean supplier SeouLin Bioscience will provide the microarray technology and support the KNIH, and DNA Link, an Affymetrix service provider, will run the microarray research in its high-throughput lab.
“The technology will provide [KNIH] with a more unbiased and comprehensive view of genetic information relating to the Korean population," said DNA Link CEO Jong-Eun Lee.
According to Affy, the KARE project, which will use samples from the prospective epidemiological Ansan and Ansung cohorts in Korea, is comparable to the SNP Health Association Resource project, which is also using Affymetrix technology to identify genetic variants associated with heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.
The SHARE project is currently analyzing more than 9,000 samples collected by the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Boston University for the Framingham Heart Study.

Third Wave’s Japanese Subsidiary Raises $5.3M in Series A Financing
Third Wave Japan, a subsidiary of Third Wave Technologies, has raised roughly $5.3 million in a stock placement, the company stated in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week.
Third Wave Japan sold 7,112 shares of common stock at ¥90,000 ($743) per share to Mitsubishi, Shimadzu, CSK Institute for Sustainability, Daiichi Pure Chemicals, BML, and Toppan Printing.
Third Wave Japan said the investors purchased roughly 12.9 percent of its outstanding shares and around 12.4 percent of the company’s outstanding equity.
Including previous investments, Mitsubishi and CSK now own around 27 percent of Third Wave Japan, or 31 percent after exercise of warrants.
The company said the convertible Series A preferred stock has an 8-percent, non-cumulative dividend.

SEC Clears Acacia, CombiMatrix Split for August
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has declared that Acacia Research and CombiMatrix can split apart on Aug. 15 after completing a share trade.
At that date, every 10 shares of Acacia Research-CombiMatrix common stock will be redeemed for one share of CombiMatrix Corporation common stock.
CombiMatrix in December 2006 filed with the SEC to split off from parent company Acacia, saying at the time that Acacia’s business “is significantly different than our business,” and that Acacia’s business involves added financial risks related to patent litigation that would not otherwise be a part of CombiMatrix’s business. 
"The separation of our two companies will enable each to execute its business independently, and we are excited about the future prospects of our company as we re-invent ourselves with a focus on molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine," CombiMatrix President and CEO Amit Kumar said in a statement.
On Aug. 15, CombiMatrix’ stock will begin trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol CBMXD, and after 20 days will begin trading under the symbol CBMX.
Acacia Research will then trade under the symbol ACTG. Until that time, Acacia Research-CombiMatrix common stock will trade as CBMX.

Nanogen, Canadian Government Partner on Diagnostics for Bioterror, Agroterror Agents
Nanogen this week said that it has received an undisclosed amount of funding from several Canadian government agencies to help develop diagnostics that would detect natural or bioterror threats to livestock.
Under the agreement, Nanogen will use its NanoChip multiplexing microarray platform to develop diagnostics for diseases such as avian flu, foot-and-mouth disease, and other pathogens.
One of the funding agencies is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, whose laboratory in Lethbridge, Alberta, will participate in the collaborative project. Also participating will be the National Center for Foreign Animal Diseases, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Nanogen said the project, called “Adaptation of Recently Developed DNA Microarrays to NanoChip Microarray Technology for Detection of Agroterrorism Agents,” was approved by Defense Research and Development Canada under the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Research and Technology Initiative.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

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.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.