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Affymetrix, PathWork, Sequenom, Affy, Gen-Probe, AmeriPath, TGen, ABI, Fisher Biosciences, GenTel, Michigan State University, CureSearch Children s Oncology Group

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Affymetrix Licenses Microarray Technology to PathWork for Cancer Dx

Affymetrix has granted PathWork Informatics long-term non-exclusive access to its microarray technology to develop and market in vitro diagnostics for cancer.

With the agreement PathWork joins the ranks of Roche, Veridex, and BioMérieux, who are licensed to develop diagnostics through Affy's Powered by Affymetrix program.

Under the terms of the agreement, PathWork has the right to use Affymetrix's technology to develop tests for tumors of unknown origin, as well as other cancer tests, Affy said. PathWork will incorporate Affymetrix arrays into PathWorks Oncology Suites, the company's diagnostic kits that are currently under development.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In its third quarter conference call Affymetrix disclosed that PathWork as well as ArraDx, a UK-based diagnostics firm, had joined the Powered by Affymetrix program (see BAN 10/26/2005).

During a recent e-mail exchange with BioArray News, Affy's head of investor relations Doug Farrell said that announcements from both companies would be forthcoming.


Sequenom May Launch Gene-Expression Service This Year; Genotyping Service to Follow

After launching its DNA-methylation-analysis service last week, Sequenom will likely launch a gene-expression service within the year, and launch a genotyping service later, company officials told BioArray News' sister publication GenomeWeb News last week.

Sequenom is currently taking the first orders for its expression service, so "one could argue that it's being launched now," said Christian Jurinke, the company's director of product development. He spoke with GenomeWeb News during the American Society for Human Genetics meeting, held in Salt Lake City last week.

The expression service will likely officially launch before the end of the year, with a genotyping service launch to follow soon after, said Jurinke. He declined to provide a more specific timeline.

The two new services have the potential to complement the company's new DNA-methylation service, but they will not be explicitly linked in any way in the near future, said Jurinke.

Sequenom launched its methylation detection service last month. The company provided preview versions of its upcoming DNA-methylation-detection software product for the MassArray platform to four investigators, Jurinke said.


Affy, Gen-Probe, AmeriPath Invest $7.5M in TGen's Molecular Profiling

The Molecular Profiling Institute, the commercial arm of the Translational Genomic Institute, secured $7.5 million in capital from AmeriPath, Affymetrix, and Gen-Probe, TGen said last week.

The funding, obtained through Series B round, will pay for additional molecular tests in breast and prostate cancers. The company will also develop assays through clinical trials targeting patients who best respond to targeted cancer therapies.

Molecular Profiling is a reference laboratory specializing in commercial applications of TGen's research projects and International Genomics Consortium's tissue banking and analysis capabilities. The company has an exclusive license to provide MammaPrintR 70 gene breast cancer prognostic in the United States.

AmeriPath currently provides Molecular Profiling's advanced tests to patients. Gen-Probe will also collaborate with Molecular Profiling to validate and commercialize its investigational PCA3 test for diagnosing prostate cancer.


ABI Said Strong Mass Spec, RT-PCR Sales Drove 6.4-Percent Increase in Fiscal Q1 Revenue

Applied Biosystems last week reported a 6.4-percent increase in fiscal first-quarter revenue atop declining R&D spending and a 55-percent jump in profits.

Total receipts for the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $415.5 million from $390.3 million year over year. Revenue from the firm's real-time PCR/applied genomics and mass spectrometry segments were the major contributors to this increase, growing 9 percent apiece year over year to $121.8 million and $97.3 million, respectively. These segments represented 29 percent and 24 percent of ABI's total receipts in the quarter, respectively, the company said.

Revenue from DNA sequencing increased 8 percent in the period to $124.9 million, while receipts from ABI's core PCR and DNA-synthesis business declined 1 percent to $47.3 million, and revenue from all other products fell 7 percent to $24.2 million, ABI said. These segments accounted for 30 percent, 11 percent, and 6 percent of ABI's business in the fiscal first quarter, the company said.

Though Applera CEO Tony White called the results "strong" and said the company's wide-ranging restructuring has been "delivering results," ABI President Cathy Burzik said in a statement that "we remain cautious about the growth rates in our end-user markets throughout the remainder of the fiscal year."

However, she said she was "pleased by the results that we generated this quarter. We saw solid, balanced performance across all of our major product categories with growth in both instruments and consumables."

ABI said that R&D spending in the quarter decreased 10 percent to $40.8 million from $45.7 million in the year-ago period.

Net profits increased 55 percent to $57.5 million, or $.29 per basic share, from $37.1 million, or $.19 per basic share, year over year, ABI said.

The company said certain items conspired to decrease fiscal first-quarter earnings by $4.2 million, including $3.3 million in pre-tax charges for outstanding litigation and $1.1 million for asset impairments. Also recorded during the period were $13.5 million in tax benefits related to the settlement of certain transfer pricing matters in Japan.

ABI does not disclose its balance sheet.


Fisher Biosciences, GenTel BioSurfaces Sign Product Development and Distribution Pact

Pierce Biotechnology, a unit of Fisher Biosciences, has signed an agreement with GenTel BioSurfaces to distribute GenTel's PATH brand thin-film nitrocellulose slides and has licensed the use of GenTel technology in developing new protein arrays for life-science research and drug discovery, GenTel and Pierce said last week.

According to Pierce, the protein arrays will be targeted to the life science and drug discovery markets. GenTel said its slides are designed for protein-array applications, including the profiling of disease biomarkers.

The companies said that the slides are compatible with Pierce chemiluminescent-detection systems. Pierce will also apply GenTel's technology to its SearchLight multiplex protein-profiling systems.

Robert Negm, vice president of business development at GenTel, said in a statement that the agreement "marks a significant milestone for GenTel since it will help us access the life-science markets."

BioArray News spoke with GenTel's CEO Alex Vodenlich about the Madison, Wisc.-based company's protein array plans in July (see BAN 7/13/2005).


Michigan State Animal Cancer Clinic to Offer Microarray Services

Michigan State University this week dedicated a veterinary clinic that will allow sick animals access to new diagnostic techniques including molecular diagnostic screening, including PCR and microarray analysis, according to a statement from the university.

The 42,000-square-foot Animal Care Cancer Clinic in East Lansing is phase one of MSU's Center for Comparative Oncology. The university said it plans to expand the facility to enable more research activities in the future.

The clinic's staff of cancer experts will offer individualized treatments for animal cancer patient, as well as training for veterinary students, according to officials quoted in the statement.


Affy Teams Up With CureSearch Children's Oncology Group

Affymetrix and the CureSearch Children's Oncology Group announced this week that they will discover and validate gene expression signatures for common childhood cancers, including leukemia and sarcoma.

COG will now be able to use Affy's microarray technology for mining its databank of more than 20,000 tumor samples for biomarkers.

According to Gregory Reaman, the chair of COG, the new agreement creates an "opportunity for COG as a clinical trials organization, the [National Cancer Institute] as its sponsor, and industry to identify and validate potentially drugable molecular targets for pediatric cancers."

According to COG, it is the only NCI-supported collaborative research network dedicated to conducting research and clinical trials to cure childhood cancer. The network includes every pediatric cancer program in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as several European centers, COG said.

The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.