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Affy's High-Throughput System on Track for End-of-Year Release

This article has been updated to correct Greg Schiffman's title.

Affymetrix' High-Throughput System, which has been available to early-access customers like Johnson & Johnson for nearly two years, will finally be made commercially available to the masses by the end of this year, according to Greg Schiffman, executive vice president and CFO at Affymetrix.

Schiffman told his audience during a Nasdaq presentation in London last week that they could expect a "full commercial release in the second half of the year."

He said that Affy had already sold four of the systems in early access.

"Three are placed with large pharmaceuticals and one with an academic center," Schiffman said.

According to Schiffman, the system is ideal for pharmaceutical companies like J&J because "instead of processing one array at a time, it lets you process 96 arrays in a single experiment."

"We think it's going to be very important in helping us to build the downstream drug development and really industrialize Gene Chip technology in clinical trials and molecular toxicology, as well as the large academic studies that are taking place looking at genetic differences between individuals," Schiffman said.

Affy declined a request for more information following Schiffman's presentation.


Agilent's LSCA Unit Grows 3 Percent in Fiscal Q2 as Total Receipts Slide 8 Percent

Agilent Technologies last week reported an 8-percent drop in revenues and decreased earnings for its second fiscal quarter, though contributions from its life sciences and chemical analysis segment grew 3 percent.

Total revenue for the quarter ended April 30 fell to $1.7 billion from $1.8 billion during the same period last year. Receipts from the company's life sciences and chemical analysis segment increased to $344 million from $333 million during the same quarter.

Total research and development costs increased slightly, to $248 million from $237 million during the second quarter of 2004.

Net earnings for the quarter fell to $95 million, or $.19 per share, from $104 million, or $.21 per share, during the year-ago period.

As of April 30, Agilent had $2.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents.


Epigenomics Confirms Biomarkers, Preps Test for Breast Cancer

Epigenomics last week announced that it can now confirm that some of its DNA methylation markers are correlated with disease recurrence of breast cancer. The company said that it would use the results to develop an in vitro diagnostic with Roche Diagnostics to make a prognosis of patients who are recovering from treatment and to help clinicians craft better therapeutic strategies for patients.

The Frankfurt, Germany-based firm presented the data at the 41st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando, Fla. and data were published in the journal Cancer Research which describes the identification of markers for drug response in advanced breast cancer.

At ASCO, Epigenomics and its collaborators presented results from a clinical study validating the DNA methylation marker PITX2 for predicting outcome in tamoxifen-treated, hormone receptor-positive, node-negative, breast cancer patients. The study forms the basis of a research and product development program Epigenomics is conducting in a partnership with Roche Diagnostics. The program is currently scheduled to enter large-scale clinical evaluation with Roche Diagnostics in the third quarter.


Genomatix Gets $500,000 in Series B Investments

Genomatix, a Roanoke, Va.-based gene expression and proteomics tools start-up, last week announced that it has closed a Series B round of financing led by a $500,000 investment from NewVa Capital Partners, a venture capital fund managed by Third Security.

Robert Beech, CEO of Genomatix, said in a statement that the new funding will "accelerate the roll out and marketing of our proprietary genetic tools," and called NewVa's investment a "strong indicator" that the company was on the "right track, both scientifically and commercially."


IntegraGen to Help Establish Autism DNA Database

IntegraGen will help develop a DNA database for autism in France, the Paris-based company said this week.

IntegraGen will provide the Foundation Autisme, a newly founded organization, with funding and other assistance to collect DNA samples from 200 French families with autistic children over the next 12 months. The samples, along with clinical data, will be freely accessible to scientific researchers.

Fondation Autisme will also work with another foundation, Cure Autism Now, and with Généthon, a French research institute, to create the databank. IntegraGen plans to use the samples to validate its genetic test for autism, which it expects to make available next year.