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HTG, Affymetrix, Sequenom, MWG Biotech


Array Shop HTG Closes $3.4M in Series B Financing Round

HTG, a gene expression assay-technology company, has closed $3.4 million in a Series B round of private-equity financing, the company said last week.

The cash brings to $4.6 million in total venture capital HTG has obtained to date.

HTG will use the funds to expand manufacturing, sales, and marketing activities; hire additional staff; and increase product trials to support its ArrayPlate qNPA technology.

Participating in the financing round were Solstice Capital, Valley Ventures, Emerging Technology Partners, Deimos Ventures, Village Ventures, members of the Tucson Desert Angels, and HTG founder Bruce Seligmann.

Solstice Capital, Valley Ventures, and Village Ventures participated in HTG's first round of financing in 2002.

Affy Supplying Its 500K Arrays to Public Gene Variant Study

Affymetrix is providing its 500K mapping arrays to an international consortium that is cataloging large-scale gene variants, a consortium leader told BioArray News last week.

Steven Scherer, director of the Center for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, said Affy recently joined the consortium, which includes researchers from Brigham & Women's Children Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He spoke with BioArray News at Cambridge Health Institute's Microarrays in Medicine Conference, in Boston last week. He said Affy began supplying its array over the past two months.

According to Scherer, whose lab is an existing Affy customer, the microarray giant is providing its 500K mapping arrays to help the group genotype a diverse cohort of individuals in order to develop a database of nucleotide copy variations. The large-scale copy variations in the human genome that scientists believe account for the differences in individuals will be added to TCAG's publicly accessible database.

Scherer said Affy was running the experiments and HapMap samples in-house, and that the consortium approached Affy because they "wanted to try their 500K SNP chip."

Affy will join the nascent collaborative at an invitation-only meeting in July in Toronto, Scherer said.

Sequenom Reports 16-Percent Decline in Q1 Revenues, Narrowed Loss

Sequenom this week reported a 16-percent drop in revenues amidst narrowed losses for the first quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter ended March 31 fell to $4.3 million from $5.1 million during the first quarter of 2004. Revenues were "impacted" this quarter by conditions Sequenom granted to new customers that enable it to recognize some revenues later this year.

"We believe that our MassArray products continue to gain traction in the clinical research market," with 130 systems installed so far, said acting-CEO and CFO Steve Zaniboni in a statement.

Research and development expenses fell to $3.2 million from $5.5 million during the same quarter last year.

Sequenom's net loss for the quarter narrowed to $7.4 million, or $.18 per share, from $9.9 million, or $.25 per share, during the year-ago period.

As of March 31, Sequenom had $31.4 million in cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments, and restricted cash.

Less Two Business Units, MWG Posts 43 Percent Decline in Revenue

MWG Biotech this week reported a 43-percent decline in total revenues for the first quarter of 2005, and reaffirmed its commitment to lay off nine staffers by the end of the year.

Total receipts for the three months ended March 31 declined to €5 ($6.5) million from €9 million in the prior year period.

The loss in revenue was generally attributable to the sale of the company's genomic diagnosis and genomic technologies units to Ocimum Biosolutions in March (See BAN 3/2/2005).

However, MWG also saw a slight decline in revenues for its remaining DNA/RNA Synthesis and DNA Sequencing units, to €5 million from €5.9 million in the same quarter of 2004, a 16.6 percent decrease.

Still, the company managed to cut its net losses to €30,000 from €2.43 million in the same quarter of 2004, although the DNA/RNA Synthesis and DNA Sequencing units only amounted to €35,000 of the 2004 net loss.

The company also noted that its overhead costs had declined by €4 million over the past year and reaffirmed its commitment to pare the company's employees from 174 to 165 by the end of the year.

On the reporting date March 31, 2005 MWG Biotech owned cash and cash equivalents worth €6.6 million.

The Scan

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.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.