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Waters, Symyx, Beckman Coulter, Biosite, Emiliem, Invitrogen, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Thermo Fisher, Bruker, NAS

Waters Integrates Symyx Software with Data-Management System
Waters said this week it has integrated its data-management system with a Symyx software package.
The companies have integrated Symyx’s Electronic Lab Notebook software with Waters’ NuGenesis scientific data-management system for accessing and sharing information from experiments coming from multiple sources.
Researchers using the ELN software will be able to retrieve and share information stored on the NuGenesis, which Waters said will save time and effort and enhance R&D and project data-management productivity.

Beckman Coulter Commences Offer for Biosite Shares
Beckman Coulter said this week that it has commenced its tender offer for all outstanding shares of Biosite for $85 per share.
As reported last week by BioCommerce Week, the offer represents a 53.5 percent premium over Biosite’s closing stock price of $55.38 on March 23, the last trading day before the acquisition agreement (see BioCommerce Week 3/28/2007).
The total value of the deal is approximately $1.55 billion, which is approximately five times Biosite’s annual revenue.
Beckman said once the transaction is completed, all of Biosite’s stock options will vest and are expected to convert to Beckman stock options at an equivalent value. The non-cash portion of the deal represents roughly $200 million of the purchase price, said Beckman.

Emiliem to Use Invitrogen’s SelectScreen in Kinase Research
Emiliem and Invitrogen will screen Emiliem’s multi-kinase inhibitors under a partnership agreement, the companies said last week.
The companies said they will use Invitrogen’s SelectScreen for kinase and P450 screening and cellular pathway profiling to study Emiliem’s cancer compounds.  
The two-phase agreement calls for Invitrogen to confirm specificity and potency of Emiliem’s compounds, to study the effects of these compounds on biological pathways, and to use metabolizing liver enzymes to determine profiles of lead molecules.
The SelectScreen service uses enzyme collections and cell lines.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Alnylam Grants Bio-Rad Laboratories License to RNAi IP
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals said last week that it has granted Bio-Rad non-exclusive rights to sell RNAi products based on certain of its IP.
The license falls under Alnylam’s Kreutzer-Limmer patent family, which covers the use of small interfering RNAs and “their use to mediate RNAi in mammalian cells,” the RNAi drug maker said.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Thermo Fisher Completes Genevac Sale
Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that it had completed the sale of its Genevac business to Riverlake Equity Partners.
Genevac is a manufacturer of vacuum concentrators that brought in annual revenue of roughly $17 million. The sale of the business was the only condition for approval of the $10.6 billion merger of Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific by both US and European regulatory authorities.
Riverlake said it will eventually merge Genevac into SP Industries, its lab equipment products and services company.

Investment Bank Downgrades Bruker Stock
Bear Stearns this week downgraded Bruker’s stock from “peer perform” to “underperform.”
As reported last week by BioCommerce Week, Bruker’s shares have risen significantly over the past few months. The firm’s shares rose 43 percent during the first quarter of 2007, outpacing the other 21 firms that comprise the BCW Index.

NAS Calls for Single Federal Agency to Oversee ‘Unorganized” Biomarker Field
Biomarkers may help fight a variety of cancers, but that potential is being undermined by confusing regulations and standards, and “piecemeal and unorganized efforts,” according to a report issued last week by the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine.
The Institute proposed a set of suggestions that it said would spur research and development advances in the field, which would include unifying oversight of the field under a single entity.
To realize the potential of biomarkers in cancer medicine, the Institute said, a single federal agency is needed that would coordinate and oversee a more organized approach to the discovery and development of these markers.
Diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies and federal agencies should partner to create international research consortia that would generate and share data, the Institute said. It added that these companies would employ resources from different partners that would benefit the entire field.
The National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and similar agencies should support cell and tissue repositories that could be used to validate new biomarkers, the report advised.
Those who sponsor research should focus on identifying “indicators of cell communication pathways that are involved in many kinds of cancer and other diseases” so the biomarkers would be broadly applicable.
Biomarkers for particular drugs, the Institute said, are riskier investments because the drugs could fail.
Underscoring the need for uniform standards is the amount of “false starts” related to biomarker-based breast cancer tests, the Institute said. To remedy that, government agencies and other stakeholders should cooperate to offer guidelines for the development, validation, and use of biomarkers.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.