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Invitrogen, Applied Biosystems, Clinical Data, Bayer Healthcare, Genedata, WaferGen Biosystems, University of Pittsburgh, Spartan Bioscience, NorDiag, Tecan, University of Florida, Ariadne

Invitrogen, ABI to be Named Life Technologies Post-Merger
Following the merger of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems, which is expected to close this month, the combined entity will be named Life Technologies, according to an internal memo from Invitrogen Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier to employees obtained by BioArray News sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News.
When the $6.7 billion deal was announced in June, the firms said that the merged entity would operate under the Applied Biosystems name. However, in a memo sent to employees this week, Lucier said that as the leadership teams of the two firms were “working together to define the identity and vision of our combined organization … one word became prominent in our discussions. That word was ‘life’ — a word that we believe truly symbolizes the promise of our combined company,” he wrote.
He said the leadership team had chosen Life Technologies as the new name for the firm after the merger is closed.
Life Technologies also was the name of the Rockville, Md.-based provider of molecular biology and cell culture supplies that Invitrogen merged with back in July 2000, with Invitrogen retaining its name after that deal.
Lucier said in the memo that the combined entity is “not losing the Invitrogen or Applied Biosystems brands, which will continue to be prominently positioned as part of our brand strategy.”

Clinical Data Q2 Loss Rises Sharply on Acquisition Costs
Clinical Data this week posted a $70 million net loss for the second quarter, resulting primarily from charges related to its August acquisition of Adenosine Therapeutics.
The Newton, Mass.-based firm reported revenues of $8.8 million for the three-month period ended Sept. 30, down 3 percent from revenues of $9.1 million for the second quarter of 2007. Excluding $1.8 million in grant revenue recognized by Cogenics Icoria during last year’s second quarter, Clinical Data’s revenues increased 22 percent year over year. Late last year, Clinical Data wound down Icoria product lines that are no longer providing revenue for the firm.
The firm said that its PGxHealth division had 127 percent revenue growth year over year to $2.2 million, driven primarily by sales of its Familion cardiac tests. Exlcuding the Cogenics Icoria grant revenue from 2007, Cogenics’ genomic service business revenues grew 5 percent to $6.4 million.
Clinical Data’s net loss for the quarter was $70 million, or $3.30 per share, compared to a loss of $10.9 million, or $.57 per share, for the second quarter of 2007. The firm took a charge of $52.1 million during the quarter related to in-process research and development tied to its acquisition of Adenosine Therapeutics in August.
Clinical Data’s R&D spending increased more than three-fold to $9.4 million from $2.9 million, while its SG&A expenses rose around 17 percent to $10.9 million from $9.3 million.
The company held cash and cash equivalents of $41.2 million as of the end of its second quarter.

Bayer Healthcare Expands License for Genedata's Software
Bayer Healthcare has expanded a 10-year license agreement for Genedata’s software to include all of Bayer Schering Pharma’s drug research sites, Genedata said this week.
The global agreement builds on a relationship dating back to 1999 and expands a renewed agreement from 2006 that gave Bayer Schering access to Genedata’s Phylosopher and Expressionist software at sites in the US and in Germany.
Genedata said it also will support integration services and will provide interfaces to existing research logistics infrastructure such as lab technologies and related IT systems.
Phylosopher is used to manage biological target information and Expressionist is used in quality control of gene expression data, for statistical analysis, and for processing data from high-throughput studies.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

U Pitt Using WaferGen SmartChip under $3M NHLBI Grant
WaferGen Biosystems said last week that researchers at the University of Pittsburgh working under a grant from the National Institutes of Health will use the company’s PCR system in gene expression studies of lung disease.
Using a grant of around $3 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Pittsburgh scientists will use WaferGen’s SmartChip Real-Time PCR System to apply gene expression profiling to lung samples from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
The research program also will include development and application of the PulmoSmartChip, a custom-designed SmartChip phenotyping assay for COPD and IPF that will identify and validate module networks that can help predict the natural history of the disease and the patient’s response.
The aim of the study is to identify and validate gene expression signatures and microenvironments, while generating module maps that can be used to characterize COPD and IPF and their underlying causes.
Financial terms of the agreement between WaferGen and the university were not disclosed.

Spartan Bioscience, NorDiag to Combine Technologies in New DNA Analysis Platform
Canadian molecular diagnostics firm Spartan Bioscience said last week that it will collaborate with Norwegian firm NorDiag on the development of an end-to-end DNA sample preparation and analysis system.
The firms intend to combine NorDiag’s Arrow DNA isolation device with the Spartan DX-12 DNA Analyzer.
The systems are aimed primarily at smaller labs, and offer a small instrument footprint at a relatively low cost. The instruments will be offered to customers separately and as a combined offering, and are expected to cost less than $15,000 each.
Financial details were not discussed.

Tecan Adds New Asia Pacific Headquarters in Shanghai
Swiss biopharmaceutical supply and research instruments company Tecan held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week for a new Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Shanghai’s pharmaceutical and life sciences center, the company said.
The new office will sell directly to biotech, diagnostic, and pharmaceutical companies in the region, and the company will provide training, warehousing, and other services out of the new branch. The company plans to maintain its operations in Beijing, which it said will continue its “close regional relationships with customers in China.”
Tecan also said that it plans to use the same distributor network it had previously to cover the Asia Pacific region.
“With a stronger presence and new facilities, we will be able to improve sales coverage, service, and support to all of our customers and partners in the entire Asia Pacific region,” Tecan Group CEO Thomas Bachmann said in a statement.

Univ. of Florida Renews License for Ariadne’s Software for Genomics Studies
The University of Florida will use Ariadne’s software in its Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, the company said last week.
Under the agreement, which renews a site license for the company’s Pathway Studio, the university will continue to use the software in its medical and agricultural gene expression and proteomics studies.
ICBR Bioinformatics Core Director Li Liu said in a statement that UFL researchers “work on many non-model organisms and create microarrays for them” using technology from Roche’s 454 Life Sciences subsidiary and Agilent Technologies. "After mapping genes from these non-model organisms to model organisms, we use Pathway Studio to explore the gene networks,” Liu added.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.