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Affymetrix and Merck, Agendia and Rosetta, GE Healthcare and Ambion, Nanogen, CombiMatrix and US Air Force, and VisiGen Biotechnologies


Affy Arrays to be Used in SNP Assays for Merck, GSK

Affymetrix spin-off Perlegen will provide genotyping services to Merck to find DNA variations with relevance to drug discovery, the company said this week.

Under the agreement, Perlegen scientists will assay up to 675,000 SNPs in more than 1,000 DNA samples from individuals "with important clinical characteristics" provided by Merck. Perlegen will use Affymetrix microarrays, including the GeneChip Human Mapping 500K array set. Merck will integrate the results with in-house data from molecular profiling of tissue samples.

The companies did not disclose the terms of the agreement.

In addition, GlaxoSmithKline will use Affymetrix microarrays to find genetic variations associated with diseases, according to Affy.

Under the agreement, GSK will use Affy's GeneChip Human Mapping 500K array set to perform whole-genome association studies across tens of thousands of samples.

Agendia Licenses Rosetta's Gene Expression-Analysis Software

Agendia has licensed Rosetta's Resolver software and the two companies will collaborate to offer diagnostics tools for gene-expression analysis, the firms said this week.

Rosetta and Agendia will "enable interoperability between the Resolver system and Agendia's clinical and gene expression database" to support Agendia's research and development of diagnostic products and services, Yelena Shevelenko, vice president and general manager of Rosetta, said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

GE Healthcare to Manufacture miRNA Arrays for Ambion on CodeLink Chips

GE Healthcare will manufacture microRNA microarrays on its CodeLink platform for Ambion, the companies said last week.

These arrays, called mirVana miRNA microarrays, include a panel of known human, mouse, and rat miRNAs, as well as Ambion's "proprietary" and "non-published" microRNAs, called Ambi-miRs. Ambion will market the arrays, according to a company spokesperson.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nanogen Gains $19M in Stock Placement

Nanogen raised nearly $19 million through a stock offering to institutional investors that closed last week, the company said.

The San Diego-based company sold 6.8 million shares of its common stock to investors at a price of nearly $3 per share, with 1 million warrants exercisable at $4 per share for five years.

According to Nanogen's chief financial officer Rob Saltmarsh, the company earned approximately $18.9 million from the sale and said that it plans to use the net proceeds for working capital, acquisitions and other general corporate purposes.

CombiMatrix Wins $338K from US Air Force to Develop Arrays to Detect Pathogens

CombiMatrix has won a one-year, $338,000 contract from the US Air Force to develop and produce microarrays that detect pathogens, its parent company, Acacia Research, said last week.

Under the agreement, CombiMatrix will develop microarrays to detect pathogens that cause upper respiratory infections and that infect wounds. The first array will identify upper respiratory infections that can cause pneumonia, bird flu, and SARS. The Air Force Institute of Occupational Health has committed to purchasing the arrays for evaluation and use. CombiMatrix will be able to make them commercially available to other users as well.

The contract results from a prior collaboration with the AFIOH that led to the development of a microarray to identify different serotypes of influenza A.

NIGMS Awards VisiGen $100K SBIR for New Biomolecule-Labeling Method

VisiGen Biotechnologies said last week that it has won a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences to develop a new method for labeling DNA, RNA, and proteins.

The company did not provide the amount of the grant, but an NIH database lists VisiGen as the recipient of a $100,000 award for a project entitled,"Novel Biolabeling Methods and Reagents."

An abstract for the project describes the technology as a "set of novel ATP-fluorescent-dye molecules and ATP-biotin molecules ... for the enzymatic, 5'-end-labeling of an oligonucleotide," and notes that the goal of the Phase I project "is to examine the labeling efficiencies of a library of labeled ATP variants and define the critical threshold for obtaining robust and reproducible signal intensities from labeled-targets hybridized to a microarray."

According to the company, the method can be used to directly label RNA for microarray experiments "at a fraction of the cost of current labeling methods" and also has "interesting applications" for the analysis of microRNA.

In August, VisiGen was awarded a three-year, $4.2 million grant by the National Human Genome Research Institute as part of its latest round of sequencing technology grants.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.