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Epigenomics, DRI Capital, Nanogen, Golden Helix, Harvard School of Public Health, CombiMatrix, HistoRx, Eli Lilly and Company

Epigenomics' 2007 Revenues, Net Loss Decline
Epigenomics this week said that its 2007 revenues dropped 25.7 percent and its net loss fell 14.3 percent as the firm shifted its focus during the year to a strategy of non-exclusive licensing agreements intended to more rapidly commercialize molecular diagnostic products.
The Berlin, Germany-based firm reported full-year 2007 revenues of €2.6 million ($4.1 million), down from €3.5 million in 2006. Epigenomics said the decline was exclusively attributable to a terminated collaboration with Roche.
Over the past six months, Epigenomics has inked collaborations with Abbott Molecular and Quest Diagnostics for the development of molecular diagnostic tests for colorectal cancer.
The company posted a net loss of €13.2 million for 2007, compared to a net loss of €15.4 million the year before.
Epigenomics said its cost of sales tumbled 82 percent to €900,000 from €5 million as accounting for the firm’s diagnostic R&D partnerships were shifted to its R&D costs. As a result, Epigenomics’ R&D costs for 2007 rose 20.7 percent to €10.5 million from €8.7 million.
As of the end of 2007, Epigenomics had liquid assets including marketable securities of €10 million.
The firm recently raised €13.5 million from the sale of nearly 8.5 million shares of its common stock to private investors at a price of €1.60 per share.

DRI Capital Acquires Rights to Nanogen Royalties
DRI Capital will pay Nanogen $10 million for the rights to all future royalties under a licensing agreement between Nanogen and Applied Biosystems.
According to a joint announcement from the firms, DRI Capital will receive royalties related to Nanogen’s minor groove binder technology, which was licensed by ABI for use in certain TaqMan products. The MGB technology is used for the design of oligonucleotide probes.
“Monetizing this royalty stream provides us with a non-dilutive means of raising capital to fund our operations as we work towards achieving cash flow breakeven in late 2008,” said Howard Birndorf, chairman and CEO of San Diego-based Nanogen.
Earlier this month, Nanogen reported that its fourth quarter revenues had increased 13 percent, even though it had shut down its microarray business just a few months earlier. The firm also said that it expects its independent accountants to issue an adverse opinion with respect to its internal controls and say that “there is substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
Nanogen had $5.8 million in cash and cash equivalents as of the end of 2007.
Nanogen also said last week in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it will restate its 2007 financial statements due to adjustments in the way the firm accounts for its investment in Jurilab. It said the changes would not impact previously reported cash, short-term investments, or revenues.

Golden Helix to Offer Scholarship for Harvard Family-Based Association Test Course
Genomics software firm Golden Helix will offer a scholarship to a participant in an upcoming Harvard School of Public Health course focused on family-based experimental designs for genetic association studies, the company said last week.
The Bozeman, Mont.-based company said the scholarship will cover travel expenses and course registration fees for a participant who would otherwise not be able to participate due to financial limitations. The company also will give the scholarship and two runner-up candidates one-year subscriptions to the Golden Helix SNP and Variation Suite or to the Golden Helix PBAT software.
The family-based association test short course, to be held June 2-3, focuses on designing experiments that use information about infected individuals and close relatives such as parents and siblings. Further information is available here

CombiMatrix 10-K Includes 'Going Concern' Qualification
CombiMatrix announced last week that its recently released annual report on form 10-K contains a “going concern” statement from its accountants, Peterson Sullivan PLLC.
Earlier this month, CombiMatrix reported that its fourth-quarter revenues more than doubled and that its net loss dropped 22.2 percent as it continued its transition to focusing on molecular diagnostics (see BAN 3/11/2008).
“We anticipate that our cash and cash equivalent balances, anticipated cash flows from operations and other sources of funding from the capital markets will be sufficient to meet our cash requirements through September of 2008,” CombiMatrix said in the annual report, which was filed last week with US Securities and Exchange Commission.
“In order for our company to continue as a going concern beyond this point and ultimately to achieve profitability, we will be required to obtain capital from external sources, increase revenues, and reduce operating costs,” it added.
The firm finished 2007 with $8.2 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments. It also is awaiting a $32.1 million payment from a judgment in its favor in a lawsuit against National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa.

HistoRx Extends Eli Lilly Deal for Biomarker Analysis Technology
HistoRx said last week that it has signed a three-year agreement to supply its biomarker analysis technology to drug maker Eli Lilly and Company.
The company said it has extended and expanded a 2005 agreement to make its Aqua technology available to Lilly for use in its pharmaceutical development programs.
Under the agreement, HistoRx will give Lilly’s researchers access to the biomarker analysis technology and it will develop customized immunohistochemical assays for use in Lilly’s drug programs. HistoRx also gains the option to commercialize the assays and reagents that are developed over the course of the partnership for use as predictive diagnostics.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.