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GenTel BioSurfaces, Kreatech, Macrogen, ABI, Pfizer, GeneLogic, Expression Analysis, Affymetrix, Agilent, Quark Biotech


GenTel BioSurfaces to Market and Sell Kreatech's ULS Labeling Kits

GenTel BioSurfaces will market and sell ULS labeling reagent kits made by Kreatech Biotechnology, the companies said this week.

The kits, which will be sold under the brand name Pandeia, are validated for use on GenTel's PATH protein microarray platform. They will be launched during the Chips to Hits conference in Boston on Sept. 12, the company said.

For one- or two-color fluorescent profiling of the relative abundance of proteins using single capture antibody arrays, each protein sample is labeled with either ULS-biotin or ULS-fluorescein, and probed against the antibody microarray, the companies said in a statement.

The bound labeled proteins are detected using fluorescent Dy dyes made by Dyomics using either a streptavidin-Dy647 conjugate or an anti-fluorescein antibody-Dy547 conjugate. The processed microarray is scanned on a standard two-color fluorescent scanner. Kreatech, which holds a license from Dyomics, has sub-licensed the rights to market and sell Dyomics' dye conjugates to GenTel.

GenTel's PATH protein array surface technology consists of an ultra-thin nitrocellulose film used for multiplex immunoassays. ULS labels multiple amino acids, the companies said. The use of the ULS labeling system "further minimizes background noise using indirect fluorescence detection."

Macrogen Uses ABI Array Tech to Provide Gene Expression Services to Korean Regulators

Macrogen of Korea will provide gene expression-analysis services to the Korean National Institute of Toxicological Research using microarray technology from Applied Biosystems, the companies said last week.

Researchers at NITR, which operates under the Korean Food and Drug Administration, will use ABI's Expression Array system to develop predictive gene signatures and toxicology evaluation technology for food and drugs, including traditional herbal medicines.

The project complements other studies by NITR, such as a genomic and proteomic expression database for unidentified toxic substances, herbal medicines, and biotechnological product evaluation. The aim of the studies is to standardize food and drug safety measurements and to establish evaluation criteria.

Pfizer Renews Subscription to GeneLogic's ToxExpress Database, Adds ToxShield

Pfizer has renewed its subscription to Gene Logic's ToxExpress database of gene expression profiles and clinical data, Gene Logic said last week.

In addition, Pfizer has subscribed to Gene Logic's ToxShield software for assessing and ranking drug candidates based on their potential toxicity in humans.

Gene Logic also provides its microarray data generation and analysis services to Pfizer — a program launched in March — to determine potentially toxic effects of novel compounds on tissues of interest.

Pfizer has been a subscriber to Gene Logic's ToxExpress database since February 2000. Its renewed subscription runs for three years.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the subscriptions.

Expression Analysis Creates Technique to Enhance Affy Array Performance

Expression Analysis, one of the few US-based facilities that are authorized to provide genomic processing and data analysis services on the Affymetrix platform, has developed a new technique that will allow customers to get better results, the company said last week.

According to a statement from EA, the company has created its own method of Gene Chip data analysis that factors in what it says are the large numbers of invariant probes on Affy chips into its final data analysis.

The technique, known as Reduction of Invariant Probes, or REDI analysis, reduces the effect that invariant probes have on EA's ability to analyze data. EA said that invariant probes, thought to be as high 30 percent on some Affy chips, were obstacles in determining fold change differences and could mask differential expression. EA has decided to augment differential gene lists by 25 percent — 200 percent depending on invariable probe significance and fold change thresholds, in order to cut down on the effect they had on their analyses.

Wendell Jones, EA's senior statistician, explained in the statement that "a significant number of probes that appeared to be partially or completely non-responsive are now known to exist, but methods of mitigating them simply were not adequate."

Agilent Posts 2-Percent Increase in LSCA Revenues; Confirms Plans to Sell Chip Business

Agilent Technologies this week reported a 2-percent increase in revenues for its Life Science and Chemical Analysis unit and a 7-percent decline in profit for the segment for its third fiscal quarter, ended July 31.

Separately, Agilent said that it plans to sell its semiconductor business for $2.66 billion to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Silver Lake Partners in a deal expected to close by Oct. 31. Agilent will lay off around 1,300 employees as part of a restructuring plan related to the divestiture, which the company said will enable it to focus on its measurement business.

Agilent's total revenues fell 10 percent to $1.69 billion for the quarter from $1.89 billion in the prior-year period. Revenues fell below the company's expectations of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion for the quarter. "Revenues were slightly below our expectations because of weak wireless test and life sciences markets," said Bill Sullivan, Agilent CEO, in a statement.

The LSCA unit posted receipts of $341 million for the quarter, a slight increase over $335 million in the year-ago period. Orders for the unit increased 8 percent, to $348 million from $321 million in the prior year.

Operating profit for the LSCA unit fell to $42 million, compared to $45 million in the equivalent period of 2004. Excluding the impact of recent acquisitions, profits for the LSCA group were flat year over year, the company said.

Agilent noted that it witnessed "particular strength" in the life science group from generic drug manufacturers, but "some weakness in near-term pharmaceutical demand."

Agilent posted net earnings of $104 million, or $.21 per share, compared to $100 million, or $.20 per share in last year's third fiscal quarter.

Quarterly R&D expenses increased 5 percent to $244 million from $235 million in the year-ago period.

Agilent had cash and cash equivalents of $2.8 billion as of July 31.

Quark Biotech Becomes Certified CGH Service Shop for Agilent Arrays

Quark Biotech has become a certified service provider for Agilent Technologies' microarrays used for array comparative genomic hybridization services, the company said this week.

Quark has been a certified service provider for Agilent's gene expression microarrays since April, and claimed it is the first of the firm's microarray service providers to be cleared to handle array CGH services.

The certification includes sample receipt, labeling, and the use of Agilent's CGH platform for hybridization and data analysis, Quark said in a statement.

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.