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Amersham, PreAnalytiX, Affymetrix, Enzo Biochem, Nanogen, STMicroelectronics, Intel, Fred Hutchinson Center

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Two Sirs, With Diagnostic Rights: Amersham and OGT Expand Licensing

Amersham last week announced that it has expanded its rights, under its existing license, to DNA microarray patents owned by Oxford Gene Technology.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The expanded rights allow Amersham access to OGT’s sequence variation patents as well as core patents relating to analyzing polynucleotide sequences and allows Amersham to sublicense the technology in the research and clinical diagnostic arenas, opening opportunities for the company’s CodeLink microarray product.

“This relationship with OGT will greatly strengthen our CodeLink bioarray platform, Sir William Castell, Amersham’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This agreement now paves the way for Amersham to expand the CodeLink product family and develop it as a clinical diagnostic platform.”

“With the granting of sublicensing rights to key DNA microarray patents, OGT hopes to promote and encourage continued technology development,” Sir Edwin Southern, chairman of OGT, said in a statement.

The announcement follows last month’s news that General Electric has made a $9 billion offer to acquire Amersham, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, and answers questions of the CodeLink product line’s future under the GE brand.


PreAnalytiX and Affymetrix Collaborate on Gene Expression from Whole Blood RNA

PreAnalytiX, a Hombrechtikon, Switzerland-based collaboration between Qiagen, BD, and Affymetrix, announced a collaboration to optimize the PreAnalytiX PAXgene blood RNA system for use with Affymetrix GeneChip-brand technology with the goal of improving gene expression profile results on RNA extracted from whole blood.

Financial details of the non-exclusive agreement were not disclosed.

In a statement, the companies said the collaboration will target reduction of variability in the preparation processes of whole blood, and a decrease of the signal contributed by globin RNA, which can lead to changes in expression profiles ex vivo.


Enzo Biochem Files Suit vs. Affymetrix, Seeks Damages For Breach Of Agreement

Enzo Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Farmingdale, NY-based Enzo Biochem, last week announced that it had terminated an agreement with Affymetrix and filed suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York claiming that Affymetrix had breached an agreement between the two companies.

The suit claims Affymetrix improperly transferred or distributed business assets of Enzo to third parties, including portions of the company’s proprietary technology, and failed to account for shortfalls in sales of Enzo’s products or failed to reimburse Enzo for unauthorized manufacturing and sale of its products.

Enzo has a portfolio of approximately 200 patents covering labeling and detection products for gene sequencing and genetic analysis, with approximately 200 patents worldwide.

“We are prepared to fully meet all of our customers’ needs through products held in Affymetrix’ inventory. Additionally, we plan to launch GeneChip brand sample labeling kits in the near future,” Alan Dance, senior vice president of corporate marketing, said in a statement released by Affymetrix, acknowledging the suit.


Nanogen Q3 Revenues on Slight Uptick As Company Reports 10 NanoChip Deals

San Diego-based Nanogen last week reported total revenues of $1.7 million for its third quarter, compared to the same amount for the year-ago period, and up over the $1.6 million for the second quarter.

The company reported product revenues of $752,000 for the quarter and said it engaged in 10 transactions involving its NanoChip instrument platform – five instrument sales, one reagent rental agreement, and four development site agreements. Additonally, one instrument was installed as part of a product collaboration.

The company recorded a net loss of $7.1 million for the quarter, compared to a loss of $8.2 million for the year-ago quarter. The third-quarter loss included a $1.0 million write-down of intangible assets, an increase of $829,000 in inventory reserves, and a realized gain on investments of $778,000 related to the shares of CombiMatrix stock received in 2002 as part of a litigation settlement.

The company reported research and development costs of $4.3 million for the quarter, compared to $5.3 million for the year ago period.

The company reported cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $32.6 million, an increase of $4.1 million on hand at the end of the second quarter attributable to a private equity placement resulting in $7 million in gross proceeds.

The company said that it expects to place between 35 and 45 instruments this year, but redirected its product revenue expectations downwards by $4 million for the year and said its loss for the year will be at the “high end” of guidance of $27 million to $29 million.


STMicroelectronics Aligns With MobiDiag for Molecular Diagnostic Biochips

STMicroelectronics of Geneva, Switzerland, last week announced an agreement with MobiDiag of Helsinki, Finland, to create a system for genomic-based detection of infectious diseases based on a silicon MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems) biochip. The collaboration combines STMicroelectronics’ microfluidics skills with MobiDiag’s diagnostic assays and sets a 2005 target for production of a commercial product.


Intel and Fred Hutchinson Center Ally To Study Early Disease Detection

Intel and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center last week announced a collaborative research effort to develop new methods for studying cancer.

Intel’s Precision Biology team will build a Raman bioanalyzer system at the Hutch in Seattle. The system is based on a technique known as Raman spectroscopy, which Intel uses in its chip manufacturing process. The instrument detects the unique Raman spectra that are produced under excitation by laser lights and will be used to identify proteins in blood serum with the goal of identifying those that might point to susceptibility, presence, or prognosis of diseases such as cancer.

Financial details were not provided.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.