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Affymetrix, Genetix, Expression Analysis, NuGEN, Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, Arrayjet, Roslin Institute, University of Puerto Rico, NIH, BioForce Nanosciences

Affy's Decision to Shutter Mass Plant Will Cost $15M-$19M
Affymetrix's decision to shutter its Bedford, Mass., plant will cost it between $15 million and $19 million, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week.
Affy decided to shut its instrument manufacturing and development facility as part of a restructuring plan to cut costs. The facility will be consolidated with two existing plants in California (see BAN 9/19/2006).
Employee severance and relocation benefits are expected to cost between $8 million and $10 million. Vacating the facility, which was under lease, will cost between $5 million and $7 million.
Approximately $2 million will be spent on other costs, including fixed-asset write downs and equipment and inventory relocation costs.
These restructuring expenses will be reflected in the third calendar quarter of 2006 and continue through the third quarter 2007.
Cash outlays incurred in connection with these restructuring activities are estimated to be in the range of $14 million to $18 million.
Affymetrix expects to complete the closure by the third quarter of 2007.
As part of the shutdown, approximately 80 positions will be eliminated or transferred beginning in the fourth quarter of this year and continuing into the first half of 2007, according to the SEC filing.

Genetix Places Protein Array in South African Institute
Genetix said this week that it has sold to a South African lab one of its microarrayers dedicated to the production of protein arrays.

The company said it has placed the arrayer, called the QAray2, in the lab of Jonathan Blackburn at the Center for Proteomic & Genomic Research in Cape Town.

Blackburn develops surfaces and affinity tags for immobilizing proteins without impairing function, and studies protein activity, according to Genetix.

Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Expression Analysis Adopts NuGEN's Amplification Tech for Certain GeneChip Analysis
Affymetrix service provider Expression Analysis last week said it has adopted NuGEN Technologies' Ovation product line for amplifying, fragmenting, and labeling RNA samples for GeneChip array analysis.
"We hope to migrate all of our clients who require microarray testing with limited RNA specimens to this service,” Tom Goralski, senior director of laboratory operations at Expression Analysis, said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate the Ovation system for potential use with whole blood samples."
Expression Analysis also said it will begin validating NuGEN’s new WT-Ovation Pico RNA amplification system for ultra-small and/or degraded specimens in early October.
"We believe this product may be extremely useful in tumor-based oncology applications," Goralski said.
Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Affymetrix Pens Gene-Expression Alliance With Aussie Cancer Center
Affymetrix last week said that that it has penned a five-year gene-expression collaboration with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center in Australia.
Terms of the agreement call for Peter Mac researchers to use Affymetrix GeneChip technology for translational research projects. The first studies will cover ovarian cancer and carcinoma of unknown primaries.
Millennium Science will supply Peter Mac with Affy’s technology and provide technical support.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Arrayjet Sells Microarray Spotter to Scotland's Roslin Institute
Arrayjet said last week that it has sold an Aj120 inkjet microarray spotter to the ARK-Genomics facility at the Roslin Institute.
The ARK-Genomics Center for Functional Genomics in Farm Animals will use the spotter as part of its microarray services.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
This is the third Aj120 Arrayjet sold this month. Earlier this month Arrayjet said it had sold instruments to the UK's University of Exeter and University of Nottingham (see BAN 9/12/2006).

Puerto Rico to Build Genomics Facility as Part of New Biotech Hub
Genomic technologies will be a focus of a new biotechnology hub being built in Puerto Rico, the island’s governor said this week.
Calling the US territory a “Bio Island,” Anibal Acevedo Vilau said the molecular science facility would be a joint venture of Puerto Rico, the US National Institutes of Health, and the University of Puerto Rico.
Along with genomics, the facility will study nanotechnology, biology, molecular neurosciences, and infectious disease prevention.
The biotechnology hub will also include the University of Puerto Rico Cancer Center, a joint venture with the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The center will study cancer prevention and treatment specifically for the Hispanic community.
Puerto Rico also established the Science and Technology Trust to provide ongoing funding for infrastructure advancements and research and development projects.
Puerto Rico’s biotechnology sector has more than 2 million square feet of manufacturing space and has generated more than $3.5 billion in capital investments, the governor said.
The remarks were made as part of the second annual Biotechnology Week on Puerto Rico, which coincided with the third annual Caribbean and Latin American Biotechnology Congress.

NIH Grants BioForce Nanosciences $400K to Develop Benchtop Arrayer
BioForce Nanosciences has been awarded $400,000 from the National Human Genome Research Institute to support the second phase of commercial development for the firm’s Nano eNabler benchtop molecular printing system, the company said last week.      
The award comes with the potential for an additional $400,000 after Aug. 31, 2007, BioForce said. According to Curtis Mosher, vice president of research and development at BioForce, the next phase of the firm’s development program “focuses on the improvement and expansion of the capabilities and throughput” of the devices.

“Cartridge loading and cleaning in place are primary objectives of the ongoing program,” Mosher added in a statement. 

The Scan

Cell Signaling Pathway Identified as Metastasis Suppressor

A new study in Nature homes in on the STING pathway as a suppressor of metastasis in a mouse model of lung cancer.

Using Bees to Gain Insights into Urban Microbiomes

As bees buzz around, they pick up debris that provides insight into the metagenome of their surroundings, researchers report in Environmental Microbiome.

Age, Genetic Risk Tied to Blood Lipid Changes in New Study

A study appearing in JAMA Network Open suggests strategies to address high lipid levels should focus on individuals with high genetic risk and at specific ages.

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.