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DiaGenic, DNAVision, Illumina, BioDiscovery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, Exiqon, Roche Diagnostics, NuGen Technologies, Asuragen, Promega, One Lambda

DiaGenic Partners with DNAVision to Sell Breast Cancer, Alzheimer’s Tests
Norwegian diagnostics company DiaGenic this week said that it has signed a service provider agreement with DNAVision, a Charleroi, Belgium-based provider of gene expression-based diagnostic testing and services 
Oslo-based DiaGenic said it expects its blood-based, gene expression tests for breast cancer and early-stage Alzheimer’s disease detection to receive CE Marking by early 2009, at which point they will become available in Europe through DNAVision as part of a “full European launch.”
In May, DiaGenic signed a similar deal with SRL Ranbaxy to begin offering its breast cancer test in India (see BAN 5/27/2008).
Financial details were not disclosed.

Illumina to Repurchase Up to $120M of Stock
Illumina said last week that its board of directors has approved the repurchase of up to $120 million of its common stock.
"Given the underlying strength of Illumina's business and the recent turbulence in the equity markets, we think our current stock price is undervalued,” said Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley. “Therefore, we believe the stock buy-back program is in the best interests of our stockholders.”
Last week, the firm also posted third-quarter revenue growth of 54 percent to $150.3 million (see related story, this issue).
Illumina said that the purchases would be made on the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. It will fund the purchases with existing cash balances, it said.

Johns Hopkins Genomics Center Using BioDiscovery's Microarray Software
BioDiscovery said last week that the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute has acquired a multi-seat license to Nexus Expression, a software package designed for microarray gene expression analysis.
The software is a platform-independent product that supports Affymetrix, Agilent, Illumina, Roche NimbleGen, and custom arrays, the company said.
The Nexus software provides functional annotation and enrichment analysis, gene set analysis, and it allows user input of gene lists for signature analysis, according to Chris Cheadle, director of the Johns Hopkins Lowe Family Genomics Core at Bayview Medical Center.
The software allows users to cluster genes and samples to discover expression patterns, compare expression profiles alongside gene annotations, display genes in affected biological processes, perform enrichment analysis, and identify genes that are significantly over-represented in a population, the company said.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Exiqon Licenses Roche Reagent for PCR Assays
Danish gene expression company Exiqon has licensed real-time PCR-related technology from Roche Diagnostics, Roche said this week.
Under the agreement, Roche has granted Exiqon a non-exclusive license to use the SYBR Green reagent for detecting and quantitating PCR products in real-time PCR reactions.
Roche also noted that the two companies recently amended a 2005 license and distribution agreement allowing Roche to sell Exiqon’s Universal ProbeLibrary products.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Asuragen to Use NuGen's RNA Ovation Systems in Expression Analysis Service
NuGen Technologies said last week that Asuragen’s Pharmacogenomic Services Division will use NuGen’s RNA amplification and labeling products in its gene expression profiling services.
The company said Asuragen will use NuGen’s products for its services, which are performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue and whole blood samples on the Affymetrix GeneChip platform.
Asuragen will use the WT-Ovation FFPE Solution for global gene expression analysis of degraded RNA archives from FFPE samples using the Affy GeneChip Exon and Gene ST arrays, and the Ovation Whole Blood Solution for target preparation for gene expression analysis of samples as small as 20 ng of whole blood RNA.
Asuragen will include the NuGen products in its Encompass Services for FFPE portfolio, offered with analysis on Affy microarrays to give researchers access to information from archived samples.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Promega, One Lambda to Co-market DNA Extraction, Testing Systems
Promega and One Lambda have agreed to co-market Promega’s DNA extraction systems with One Lambda’s human leukocyte antigen tests, Promega said last week.
Under the agreement, the companies will market the Promega Maxwell 16 DNA extraction system along with One Lambda’s LABType SSO and Micro SSP tests to customers in the HLA market.
One Lambda VP of R&D Jar-How Lee said in a statement that Promega’s system “helps ensure consistent, reliable results” for One Lambda’s assays, and it helps eliminate problems with poor sample preparation. “Suboptimal sample extraction can lead to time-consuming rework and system failure, which slow results, decrease productivity and potentially compromise overall accuracy of the tests,” Lee added.
The Maxwell 16 System extracts DNA from blood, buffy coat, or buccal swabs in about 30 minutes to 40 minutes, and it reduces labor, reagents, and assay time, Promega said.

The Scan

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.

Study Offers Insights Into Role of Structural Variants in Cancer

A new study in Nature using cell lines shows that structural variants can enable oncogene activation.

Computer Model Uses Genetics, Health Data to Predict Mental Disorders

A new model in JAMA Psychiatry finds combining genetic and health record data can predict a mental disorder diagnosis before one is made clinically.

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.