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Affymetrix, Exiqon, Max Planck Society, Rockefeller University, OGT, CapitalBio, Clinical Data

Affy Internal Audit Reveals ‘Lapses’ in Stock Option Grant Documentation
Affymetrix disclosed this week that its board of directors’ audit committee has been conducting an internal review of its stock option grant practices from Jan. 1, 1997, through May 31, 2006. This review has revealed “certain documentation lapses” in that period, “including one instance where the company has determined that the option grant date should have been recorded differently,” Affymetrix said in a statement.
The company added that the review “does not indicate that there was any pattern or practice of inappropriately identifying grant dates with hindsight in order to provide ‘discounted’ or ‘in-the-money’ grants,” and that it does not anticipate the outcome of the review to impact its second-quarter results.
Further details were not discussed.

Exiqon Licenses microRNA IP From Max Planck Society, RockefellerUniversity
Exigon has licensed more than 200 human and viral microRNA sequences for diagnostic applications from Rockefeller University and the Max Planck Society, the company said last week. 

The two separate, co-exclusive license agreements were signed with Garching Innovation, the technology-transfer agency of the society and the university.

Financial details were not disclosed.
According to Søren Echwald, vice president of business development at Exigon, the agreements put Exiqon in a position to “move [its] LNA technology into the diagnostic space once the miRNA profiles mature into useful diagnostic or theranostic applications.”
“We strongly believe that the fact that the agreements are four-party exclusive puts Exiqon in a favorable position, once [the market for] microRNA-based diagnostics, hopefully, picks up speed,” Echwald told BioArray News last week.
Echwald said that it was still too early to discuss what technology the Danish company will use to deliver diagnostics. “The microarray is an excellent screening tool, but one issue will be how many microRNAs would you need to test to have a clinically relevant answer for a given setting,” Echwald said. “If we are talking a few markers, a microarray may not be the most efficient and RT-PCR may be more relevant.”
Additionally, Echwald said that the line of miRNA arrays the firm launched last December will benefit from the agreement as it provides Exiqon with “a number of novel sequences yet to appear in the mirBase at the Sanger Institute.”

OGT Grants NGK Insulators License to Manufacture and Sell Microarrays
Oxford Gene Technology said this week that it has licensed its array patents to NGK Insulators, enabling the Japanese firm to manufacture and market oligonucleotide microarrays.
NGK has also been granted the rights to manufacture microarrays for sale in Japan, OGT said, making it the only Japanese microarray manufacturer with OEM rights to OGT’s technology.

According to OGT, NGK will manufacture NGK-branded and NGK-OEM manufactured arrays using its Geneshot technology, which uses piezoelectric ceramic microactuators for printing DNA microarrays. NGK provides access to its arrays via a service business.     

NGK’s license will remain valid for the patents’ lifetime. Financial details were not disclosed.           
OGT was founded in 1995 to protect and license the patent estate of microarray pioneer Sir Edwin Southern.

CapitalBio to Offer Affymetrix 500K Array in China
CapitalBio will offer genotyping services using Affymetrix's GeneChip human mapping 500K array set, the company said last week.
The Beijing-based firm is a certified Affymetrix Service Provider and has used Affy's array technology as part of its existing services in China for more than a year.
The company has also collaborated on joint R&D and commercialization programs with Affymetrix, including the development of an advanced GeneChip-compatible personal scanner (see BAN 2/14/2006).
David Sun, senior vice president of business development and marketing at CapitalBio, said in statement that the Chinese gene expression and genotyping market is “gaining momentum as more and more international pharmaceutical companies outsource microarray services in China and more and more Chinese scientists employ microarrays to solve biological problems."
Additional details were not disclosed.

Clinical Data Consolidates North Carolina Facilities
Clinical Data has consolidated its genomic labs and its offices in North Carolina, the company said last week.
Clinical Data acquired the labs and offices as part of its acquisition of Genaissance and Icoria. Icoria staff and operations have been relocated to a facility in Morrisville, NC belonging to Cogenics, a Clinical Data division. The facility previously belonged to Genaissance.
The previous location in Research Triangle Park was leased space and Clinical Data agreed on a financial settlement as part of a separation agreement.
According to the company, the move will reduce costs and improve efficiency and throughput of DNA- and RNA-based services.
Robert Bondaryk, general manager and unit head of the Cogenics division, said the Morrisville site will be used for a number of Clinical Data’s services including “nucleic acid extraction, genotyping, microarray work on the Affymetrix and Agilent platforms, biobanking and related services for both research and FDA regulated environments.” 

The Scan

Study Examines Insights Gained by Adjunct Trio RNA Sequencing in Complex Pediatric Disease Cases

Researchers in AJHG explore the diagnostic utility of adding parent-child RNA-seq to genome sequencing in dozens of families with complex, undiagnosed genetic disease.

Clinical Genomic Lab Survey Looks at Workforce Needs

Investigators use a survey approach in Genetics in Medicine Open to assess technologist applications, retention, and workforce gaps at molecular genetics and clinical cytogenetics labs in the US.

Study Considers Gene Regulatory Features Available by Sequence-Based Modeling

Investigators in Genome Biology set sequence-based models against observational and perturbation assay data, finding distal enhancer models lag behind promoter predictions.

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.