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Agilent, US Federal Trade Commission, Stratagene, BioMérieux, NuGen, Epigenomics, Myriad

Array CGH Helps Drive 20 Percent Q2 Revenue Growth in Agilent’s Life Science Business
Agilent Technologies said this week that strong sales of its comparative genomic hybridization arrays contributed to a 20 percent quarterly revenue increase for its life science business.
Total revenues for the company’s second fiscal quarter, ended April 30, 2007, increased 6 percent as R&D spending increased 1 percent and profit climbed 7 percent.     
Revenue for the company's Bio-Analytical Measurement segment increased 15 percent to $428 million from $372 million year over year and Life Sciences revenue was up 20 percent to $194 million, the company said.
The company attributed the growth to strong sales of its array-CGH platform as well as liquid chromatography and LC/mass spectrometry instruments.
Total receipts for the three months ended April 31 increased to $1.32 billion from $1.24 billion year over year.
R&D spending increased to $173 million from $172 million year over year.
The company said net income rose to $123 million from $115 million in the year-ago period.
Agilent said it had around $2.05 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of April 31.
For the third quarter of 2007, the company said it expects revenues between $1.36 billion and $1.4 billion.

US Regulators Clear Agilent to Buy Stratagene
The US Federal Trade Commission has cleared Agilent Technologies’ proposed acquisition of Stratagene, according to a notice on the FTC’s website.
Agilent in April offered to buy Stratagene for $246 million, or $10.94 per share. At the time, Stratagene CEO Joseph Sorge said he plans to form a new company that will pay $6.6 million for some of Stratagene’s molecular diagnostics assets.
Should the acquisition go through, Agilent's buy will provide it with Stratagene's ArrayAssist, a desktop-based analysis package, and ArrayAssist Enterprise, a server-based package that offers users centralized data management products.
Agilent will also gain Stratagene's Universal RNA samples for mouse, rat, and human, as well its RNA purification kits for use with arrays and 96-well microplates, and the FairPlay labeling microarray kit for cDNA array labeling (see BAN 4/10/2007).

BioMérieux and NuGen Ink Cross-License Agreement for Amplification Technologies
BioMérieux and NuGen Technologies have signed a cross-license and supply agreement to share amplification technologies for expression analysis, the companies said last week.
The agreement gives BioMérieux non-exclusive rights to NuGen’s WT-Ovation RNA amplification system, and grants NuGen access to BioMérieux’s linear amplification technology. BioMérieux will use NuGen’s technology to develop microarray-based cancer assays, while NuGen gains original equipment manufacturer rights to BioMérieux’s linear amplification technologies for the research market.
NuGen last month launched an automated sample prep system with Affymetrix and Agencourt Bioscience that includes its Ovation product and targets pharmaceutical and biotech companies (see BAN 5/1/2007).
BioMérieux first signed an agreement with Affymetrix in 2005 to sell breast cancer tests using the array vendor's GeneChip platform. Earlier this year the French diagnostics firm told BioArray News that its tests were still in development (see BAN 1/16/2007)

Epigenomics, Myriad to Hunt DNA Methylation Markers for Cancer Drug Response
Epigenomics last week said it will collaborate with Myriad Genetics to identify DNA methylation biomarkers that may predict patient response to a cancer drug.
Under the collaboration, Epigenomics will use its Differential Methylation Hybridization microarray platform for genome-wide profiling of samples provided by Myriad. The company hopes to discover methylation biomarkers that are linked to sensitivity and resistance to the undisclosed marketed oncology drug.
Epigenomics also said it will use its proprietary OncoSign identification approach through a collaboration with its partner CellTrend for rapid identification of biomarkers in a panel of human tumor cell lines.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

The Scan

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Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.