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Illumina, GlaxoSmithKline, Affymetrix, Sysmex, Agilent, Empire Genomics, Welgene, Roche, Epigenomics, The Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Partek, ntegromics, Microsoft, Epitome

Illumina Sells 1,000 HumanHap550 BeadChips to Glaxo
Illumina has sold 1,000 of its HumanHap550 BeadChips to GlaxoSmithKline, Illumina said this week.
Under the agreement, GSK will use Illumina’s services and hardware at a “third party facility” in what Illumina said is a continuation and expansion of existing genotyping arrangements between the two companies.
The firms have had running genotyping agreements for more than five years.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Affy Names Sysmex New Japanese Distributor, Says Firm Can Develop IVDs Based on GeneChips
Affymetrix this week said it has hired Japanese lab diagnostics company Sysmex to sell its diagnostic arrays and instruments in Japan, and has enabled the company to develop and market its own in vitro diagnostics based on the GeneChip platform.
The deal gives Sysmex exclusive rights to distribute diagnostic GeneChip arrays and instruments in Japan, and could enable it to distribute the products to other countries in Southeast Asia.
Another part of the agreement gives Sysmex non-exclusive rights to use the GeneChip to develop and market its in vitro tests worldwide.
The company currently has tests in the areas of urinalysis, immunochemistry, hematology, and hemostasis, and is now marketing a test to detect lymph node metastases in breast cancer patients, Affy said.
Financial terms of the agreements were not released.

Agilent Certifies Empire Genomics, Welgene for Microarray Service Providers Program
Agilent Technologies said last week that it has signed on Empire Genomics and Welgene Biotech as new members of its Certified Microarray Service Providers program.
The program includes training and assessments with Agilent’s 60-mer oligo microarrays, the company said. The training systems for the Agilent platforms include quality control, sample preparation, hybridization, microarray analysis, and final data analysis.  
Empire Genomics is a personalized medicine company based in Buffalo, NY, and Welgene Biotech is a PCR and microarray-analysis company based in Taipei City, Taiwan.
According to Renee Zuckerman, Agilent’s senior genomics marketing manager, the program is a “focused tool that extends our reach throughout the global research community, helping customers try Agilent products for the first time in an environment that promotes success.”
She told BioArray News last week that the addition of Welgene will further Agilent’s Asian business as well. “We already have centers of excellence in China, Japan, and other countries, which allow us to work alongside our customers on their applications. The Certified Service Provider Program allows us to further expand that effort,” she said.
Agilent also said it re-certified French RNA-splicing company ExonHit.

Roche Abandons Biomarker-Development Alliance with Epigenomics
Roche Diagnostics last week said it has abandoned its 4-year-old cancer-screening collaboration with DNA-methylation company Epigenomics.
Terms of the alliance, penned in 2003, called for the partners to develop cancer drugs and diagnostic and prognostic tools for colon, breast, and prostate cancer using Epigenomics’ DNA-methylation technology and Roche’s PCR platform, and microarrays (see BAN 3/28/2003).
In a statement Roche said it decided to terminate the agreement because “the colorectal cancer screening data presented by Epigenomics to date did not meet Roche criteria for development as in vitro tests.”
As a result, Epigenomics has taken back the licensing rights to Septin 9, its marker associated with colorectal cancer.
Epigenomics’ COO Christian Piepenbrock said the company was “disappointed about Roche’s decision and strongly disagree[d] with their impression that our data does not support a development decision.”
He added that the company believes the colorectal biomarker panel warrants further development and commercialization.
As part of their original agreement, Roche contracted Epigenomics for a deal worth €$4 million ($4.25 million). The agreement also called for research funding, milestone payments, and royalties that could have reached as much as €100 million.

AussieHospital Buys Partek's Genomics Suite Software to Study Cancer, Metabolic Disorders
The Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, has bought Partek’s data-handling software, Partek said last week.  
Partek said the Department of Genetic Medicine at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital will use the Partek Genomics Suite software to analyze data in studies of cancer, birth defects, and metabolic disorders.
Missouri-based Partek is a genomics software developer specializing in an Affymetrix GeneChip-compatible platform that is used to identify and quantify data patterns.
Partek said the software handles data from “genomic and proteomic studies, high throughput screening campaigns and computer aided drug design.”
Financial terms of the sale were not released.

Integromics Joins Microsoft’s BioIT Alliance
Integromics last week said it has joined the BioIT Alliance.  
The company, based in Madrid, Spain, specializes in data management, integration and data mining solutions.  
The BioIT Alliance, sponsored by Microsoft, is a group of biotech and IT companies that uses the Microsoft platform to develop new IT advances for use in the biomedical field.
Other members of the alliance include Affymetrix, Applied Biosystems, and Hewlett Packard.

Epitome Nets $500K SBIR Grant to Develop Protein Phosphorylation Arrays
Epitome Biosystems has received a $500,000 Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation, the company said last week.
Epitome will use the cash to help it develop a technology that measures ”key tyrosine phosphorylation sites that have important roles in many cellular and drug responses,” the company said.
The technology is an antibody array that incorporates Epitome's EpiTag platform to enable researchers to qualitatively and quantitatively measure protein phosphorylation.
The firm won a Phase II SBIR grant, also for $500,000, in October 2005 that it used to develop a protein kinase array that profiles cell-signaling pathways.

President Neal Gordon said the company’s products may help pharmas to develop drugs targeting diseases with abnormal signaling, such as kinase inhibitors.

The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.