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Thermo Electron, Niton, Invitrogen, Agilent, Bruker AXS, EBI, SBML, FDA

Thermo Electron Buys Niton
X-Ray Company For $40.5M In Cash

Thermo Electron has purchased Niton, a Billerica, Mass.-based company that provides portable X-ray analyzers for $40.5 million in cash, subject to a post-closing adjustment, the company said last week.

"Niton helps Thermo bring a traditional laboratory-based analytical technique to settings outside the laboratory," said Thermo CEO Marijn Dekkers in a statement. "Its portable products can quickly identify the composition of a wide range of metals, which is becoming increasingly important as new regulations controlling the use and disposal of toxic metals in various consumer products take effect, particularly in Europe and Japan."

Niton's X-ray analyzers provide non-destructive testing of a range of metals for customers in a variety of manufacturing, quality-control, environmental testing, and recycling processes.

Invitrogen, Agilent to Co-Market
Pathogen-Detection System

Invitrogen and Agilent Technologies last week announced a two-year agreement to co-market the PathAlert System, a technology that combines Invitrogen reagents and Agilent's 2100 Bioanalyzer or 5100 Automated Lab-on-a-Chip platforms.

Invitrogen will distribute the PCR-based technology, which as been successfully evaluated by the US Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency, the companies said.

By testing samples collected from the air, food, and water, the system may be used to detect infectious agents such as Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax; Yersinia pestis, which causes plague; Vaccinia, which causes smallpox simulant; and Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia.

Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Additionally, Invitrogen announced a kinase-screening services deal with Berkeley, Calif.- based Plexxikon. Plexxikon is combining X-ray crystallography, molecular modeling, and chemistry to design compounds against certain disease targets.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Bruker AXS Opens X-Ray
Crystallography Lab in the Netherlands

Bruker AXS has established a laboratory in Delft, the Netherlands, to investigate protein crystallization macromolecular structures, the company said last week.

The laboratory will combine X-ray instrumentation and technologies to determine 3D crystal structures of small molecules and proteins.

Bruker AXS is an operating subsidiary of Bruker BioSciences.

EBI, SBML Team Launch Database
Of Annotated Biological Models

The European Bioinformatics Institute of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory this week announced the launch of BioModels, a database of annotated biological models created through a collaboration with the SBML (Systems Biology Markup Language) team.

"Until now, computer modelers had no defined way of exchanging descriptions of biological systems, and there was no accepted place to deposit and share new models when they were developed," Nicolas Le Novere, of the EBI, said in a statement. "The BioModels database aims to address these issues."

Developing the database involved establishing a standard way of describing biological models, said EBI. This task fell to the SBML team, which created the Systems Biology Markup Language, an open-source computer language.

Also contributing to the development of BioModels was the Keck Graduate Institute, the Systems Biology Institute in Japan, and Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

FDA Publishes 'Concept Paper'
On Development of 'Theranostics'

The Food and Drug Administration last week issued a "concept paper" on how drugs and accompanying diagnostics should be co-developed "in a scientifically robust and efficient way."

The paper is the first step on the way to a formal guidance on the co-development of drugs and diagnostics. The FDA said it intends to seek comments from the public on the concept paper first, then develop a draft guidance for public comment.

Like the Pharmacogenomics Data Submission Guidance that the agency released last month, a similar so-called "theranostics" guidance could help encourage drug and diagnostics companies to invest in new pharmacogenomics technologies.

According to the FDA, the paper "contains general ideas on both process and scientific issues to be considered in the co-development of drugs in which a new diagnostic test may play a critical role in the clinical use of the drug."

Specifically, the new document addresses the development of in vitro diagnostics for mandatory use in decision making about drug selection for patients. It does not include the use of pharmacogenomic testing for drug dosing or monitoring of drugs, "although it does contain principles that may be relevant to the development of these types of tests," according to the paper.

To view the complete concept paper, click here to view on the FDA website.



The Scan

UK Team Presents Genetic, Epigenetic Sequencing Method

Using enzymatic DNA preparation steps, researchers in Nature Biotechnology develop a strategy for sequencing DNA, along with 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, on existing sequencers.

DNA Biobank Developed for French Kidney Donors, Recipients

The KiT-GENIE biobank described in the European Journal of Human Genetics contains DNA samples, genotyping profiles, immune patterns, and clinical features for thousands of kidney donors or transplant recipients in Nantes, France.

Cardiometabolic Disease May Have Distinct Associations With Microbial Metabolites in Blood, Gut

By analyzing gut microbes in combination with related metabolites in feces and blood, researchers in Nature Communications found distinct cardiometabolic disease relationships at each site.

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.