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GE Healthcare, Whatman, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Gentel Biosciences, NuGen Technologies, Med BioGene, University Health Network

GE Healthcare, Closing Whatman Buy, Adds Lab Technologies to Dx Portfolio
General Electric’s GE Healthcare unit said last week that it has closed its purchase of the lab filtration company Whatman.
GE Healthcare signed the £363 million ($713 million at the time) agreement to acquire Whatman in early February (see BAN 2/5/2008).
Peter Ehrenheim, GE Healthcare’s president and CEO, said in a statement today that “combining the skills of the two companies will enable GE Healthcare to create strong added value for customers in biomedical and drug discovery research."

Thermo Fisher, Gentel Team on 96-Well Microarray Platform
Thermo Fisher Scientific and Gentel Biosciences have completed the first phase of a collaboration on a product offering that will increase the speed and volume of multiplex microarray technologies, the companies said last week.
The partners said the new platform, which will be offered by Thermo Scientific as the SmartPlex and by Gentel under the APiX 96 name, conforms to the SBS microplate standard and may be used to help process “thousands of samples per day.”
“Now that multiplex immunoassays have come of age, higher throughput configurations of the technology are a natural step in providing the next generation of analytical tools for protein measurements,” said Gentel VP of Commercial Operations Randy Durnell.

NuGen Technologies Gets ISO Certification
NuGen Technologies announced this week that it has received ISO 13485:2003 medical device certification for its products.
The San Carlos, Calif.-based firm said that it had received the certification from TUV SUD, an engineering services firm that provides international safety testing and certification services.
NuGen makes rapid, high-throughput nucleic acid amplification and labeling
systems used for discovering biomarkers.

Med BioGene to Commercialize UHN Lung Cancer Prognostic Test
British Columbia-based molecular diagnostics company Med BioGene has obtained exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize early-stage, non-small-cell lung cancer prognostic tests discovered by researchers in the Ontario-based University Health Network.
Under the licensing and collaboration agreement, Med BioGene plans to market the test — a gene expression-based assay — under the trade name LungExpress Dx. The assay was developed by researchers in the UHN — three teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto. The prognostic test has been presented at scientific meetings and an article on the technology was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology last December.
Last year, in the United States alone, there were roughly 213,000 new lung cancer cases. Some 85 percent of these are non-small cell lung cancers. Most of these, if detected early, are treated by surgically removing tumors. But there are differences in treatment response between individuals. Some benefit from chemotherapy after surgery while others may not require it.
The LungExpress Dx test is intended to help physicians select those patients who will benefit most from chemotherapy treatment after surgery. By identifying these patients, the researchers say, it may be possible to narrow the group of patients who get chemotherapy, sparing those who don’t need it from an expensive and highly toxic treatment.
“This test has the potential to make an immediate impact upon patient care by providing a more significant understanding of each patient’s lung cancer, thus resulting in better-informed, more appropriate treatment decisions,” Frances Shepherd, chair of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group Lung Cancer Site and who helped develop the UHN test, said in a statement. “We are moving much closer to the ultimate goal of personalized medicine.”

The Scan

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.

Study Reviews Family, Provider Responses to Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing Follow-up

Investigators identified in the European Journal of Human Genetics variable follow-up practices after rapid whole-genome sequencing.

BMI-Related Variants Show Age-Related Stability in UK Biobank Participants

Researchers followed body mass index variant stability with genomic structural equation modeling and genome-wide association studies of 40- to 72-year olds in PLOS Genetics.

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

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.