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Illumina, Oryzon Genomics, Aviva Biosciences, Lynx Therapeutics

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Illumina’s Q2 Clouded by Lawsuit, But Revenues Rise, New Agreement Signed

Illumina’s second-quarter financial results, which it released last week, were clouded over by the $7.7 million in legal damages and attorney’s fees leveled on the company for the wrongful discharge of co-founder and former chief scientific officer Anthony Czarnik. The company, which has said it would appeal the verdict, has taken this amount as a charge on its earnings, doubling its losses for the quarter.

However, the San Diego-based company’s rosy revenue outlook peeked from behind this legal shadow, with second-quarter revenues totaling $1.9 million, up from $470,000 in the previous year’s second quarter. The lion’s share of these revenues came from service fees and products, which totaled $1.2 million, compared to $121,000 in the second quarter of 2001, Illumina said.

The company announced the latest of these service agreements, with the Ernest Gallo Clinic & Research Center to map loci for neurobiological traits associated with alcoholism, in its second-quarter financial statement. This adds to a growing roster of customers that includes GlaxoSmithKline, Placer (Biotech), University of North Carolina, University of California San Diego, Boston University Medical Center, and Johns Hopkins University Institute of Genetic Medicine.

The company also said its R&D budget increased to $7 million, up from $5 million year over year. This increase, along with its legal fees, caused the second-quarter net loss to reach $16.4 million, or $0.54 per share, from $5.9 million, or $0.20 per share, during the same period last year.

Illumina said that were it not for the heavy legal damages its net loss for the second quarter would have been $8.7 million, or $0.28 per share.

The company said it had roughly $80 million in cash and investments as of June 30.

 

El Microarray: Spanish Startup Wins Ý300K Award from New Fund

Oryzon Genomics, a new DNA chip startup in Barcelona, has won a Ý300,000 loan from a Spanish science fund.

The fund, Neotech, is a spinoff of the University of Barcelona and also has obtained its backing from the Bosch and Gimpera Foundation, the Center for Information and Business Development, and Spain’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

The company, whose home now is the Barcelona Science Park, said it has developed a technology based on DNA chips that might eventually increase the production of rice.

According to the rules of the fund, companies must repay the full amount of their award as soon as they become profitable.

 

Aviva, Axon Clench Patch Clamp Test Run

Aviva Biosciences, a San Diego biochip company that develops cellular screening and analysis products, said it had successfully validated its Patch-on-a-chip patch clamp technology that it is developing with Axon Instruments in performance tests.

The chip is a planar electronic device designed for Axon’s PatchExpress ion channel drug screening systems, and will be used to test the effects of drugs on cellular ion channels.

Under the partnership agreement, the successful performance tests enable Aviva to receive its milestone payment from Axon. The companies plan to make the first PatchExpress systems available to customers to test by the end of the third quarter, and to release the systems by the end of the year.

 

Lynx Lines up Ludwig as Cancer Gene Expression Customer

Lynx Therapeutics said last week that it will collaborate with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research to study cancer gene expression.

Under the deal, the LICR will pay Lynx to apply its MPSS technology to compare normal to cancer tissue samples and uncover differentially expressed genes in cancer samples. MPSS technology, the brainchild of scientist Sidney Brenner, consists of tags that attach to the ends of DNA fragments in the sample to be studied, and complementary antitags that are added to microbeads. The tagged fragments hybridize to the antitags, and the beads are directed into a flow cell, where the fragments are sequenced using Lynx’s sequencing instrument. The sequenced fragments are then counted to see how many of a certain transcript is present in each sample. Lynx is already engaged in a similar collaboration with the National Cancer Institute.

“We expect that the combination of these data sets with those we are generating with the NCI will provide unprecedented opportunities for the discovery of diagnostic markers and drug targets for cancer,” stated Thomas Vasicek, Lynx’s vice president for business development.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.