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Apogent, Affymetrix, Xpogen, Strand Genomics, Amersham Biosciences, Combimatrix, Toppan Printing


Apogent Shutters BioRobotics Group

Portsmouth, NH-based Apogent Technologies announced that it has discontinued its BioRobotics group, which manufactures and sells automated instrumentation, as part of a corporate restructuring.

The company recorded an after-tax charge totaling $85.9 million for the estimated losses on sales of the discontinued operations, which included its Applied Biotech division, also shuttered.

Apogent acquired the BioRobotics Group, which was established in 1993 and employs over 50 people in the UK and 10 in the US, in March 2001 for an undisclosed sum. Its MicroGrid product was the first commercially available instrument to enable researchers to print their own DNA biochips.

The company’s Apogent Discoveries unit will consolidate its Sunnyvale, Calif., unit with its Hudson, NH, facility and the unit will do business as Matrix Technologies, focusing on liquid handling. The company’s line of PCR consumables will be transferred to AbGene/Marsh BioProducts. The company’s Automation Tips (AutoTips, RoboTips, and QT Tips) products will be transferred to Molecular BioProducts (MBP).

The company’s FlexChem products, Hybridization Incubators, Gemini waterbaths, and TrueTemp Microheating systems) will be discontinued upon selling the last of the inventory, the company said in a letter to customers (


Affymetrix’s Japan Unit Gets Services Partners

Affymetrix Japan, the wholly-owned direct-sales subsidiary of Affymetrix, announced last week that BioMatrix Laboratories, Kurabo Industries, Mitsubishi Chemical Safety Institute, and Takara Bio will become authorized service providers in Japan.

Beginning on June 1, the companies will provide scanning and data analysis of Affymetrix GeneChip-brand microarrays, as well as service and support for GeneChip instrumentation. The company has an installed base of 100 instruments in Japan.


Xpogen Licenses PathlinX Software to Johns Hopkins

Xpogen, a Cambridge, Mass.-based informatics company, said last week that it has licensed its PathlinX 3.0 gene expression-analysis software to Johns Hopkins Medical Center. PathlinX software is designed to identify differentially co-expressed genes in two-state method-of-action experiments.


Strand Genomics Licenses Microarray Software to Singapore Bioprocessing Institute

Strand Genomics of Bangalore, India, has licensed its Soochika microarray data mining and management software to Singapore’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute, the company said earlier this week.

The companies did not provide financial terms of the agreement.


Amersham Biosciences Revamps Service Agreement

Amersham Biosciences said it is revamping its instrumentation service agreement model to give customers more flexibility.

The new service package, called Your Agreement, allows customers to create a customized service plan, with options available for agreement length, response levels, coverage hours, preventative maintenance, parts covered, software upgrades, and computer support and training.

“Traditionally, the one-size-fits-all one- to three- year pre-packaged offers were the standard practice in the drug development industry,” said Nicola Raw, marketing director, service, at Amersham Biosciences, in a statement.

The new model is expected to provide greater flexibility “at a time when our customers are facing capital funding restrictions,” Raw said.


Combimatrix Forms Alliance with Toppan to Develop and Manufacture Arrays

CombiMatrix has formed a strategic alliance with Toppan Printing to develop and manufacture microarrays that use electrochemical detection, the company said.

Toppan of Tokyo, will pay CombiMatrix, a subsidiary of Acacia Research, an upfront fee of $1 million as well as additional development and milestone fees. Toppan will manufacture microarrays for CombiMatrix and its partners, and share revenues and royalties on these chips.

The two companies plan to co-develop semiconductor microarrays for applications in research and diagnostics. Unlike microarrays that CombiMatrix has developed with Roche, which use optical detection, these arrays will rely on electrochemical detection.

CombiMatrix said it has already tested this technology in small prototype instruments and assays for biological and chemical defense applications.

The Scan

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.

Study Highlights Pitfall of Large Gene Panels in Clinical Genomic Analysis

An analysis in Genetics in Medicine finds that as gene panels get larger, there is an increased chance of uncovering benign candidate variants.

Single-Cell Atlas of Drosophila Embryogenesis

A new paper in Science presents a single-cell atlas of fruit fly embryonic development over time.

Phage Cocktail Holds Promise for IBD

Researchers uncovered a combination phage therapy that targets Klebsiella pneumonia strains among individuals experiencing inflammatory bowel disease flare ups, as they report in Cell.