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Lynx Therapeutics, University of Michigan, Affymetrix, Enzo Biochem, Amersham


Lynx Axes 15 Percent of its Workforce

Lynx Therapeutics has cut 15 percent of its workforce, the Hayward, Calif.-based company said last week.

The layoffs leave the company, which is commercializing its Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing analysis platform, with 76 employees.

Kevin Corcoran, the company’s chief executive officer, said Lynx plans to expand new applications for its DNA sequencing services, and continue to develop its gene-expression services.

“We believe we are well-positioned to execute on our strategy, while keeping costs under control,” he said in a statement. “We appreciate the contributions made by former employees and offer them our sincere thanks.”

Michigan Researchers Create Library on a Chip

Instead of 30,000 genes arrayed on a slide, researchers at the University of Michigan have spotted some 30,000 bacterial whole genomes on a single slide, called “Library on a Slide,” according to a paper published in the journal BMC Microbiology last week.

Researchers led by Lixin Zhang isolated genomic DNA and printed it on a glass slide and tested techniques for identifying individual target genes at high sensitivity using fluorescently labeled probes.

To test the ‘Library on a Slide’ method the group created a sample array using a collection of Escherichia coli genomes, and probed this to discover which genomes contained the hemolysin gene — a known virulence factor. The results from the array experiment matched perfectly with results from experiments using dot blot and Southern hybridization methods.

Affymetrix Makes 10-K Statement on Enzo

Affymetrix, in its annual report, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on March 15, reported that the Enzo Biochem lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York (see BAN 11/12/03) has been transferred to the Southern District of New York.

The two companies are involved in a legal dispute over Enzo reagent labeling kits distributed by Affymetrix in a non-exclusive agreement signed in 1998. Enzo is seeking monetary damages and an injunction against Affymetrix requiring it to stop using, manufacturing, or selling Enzo products, and to keep it from inducing others to use the products in violation of the agreement. Enzo is also seeking the transfer of certain patents owned by Affymetrix.

Affymetrix filed a counter suit against Enzo in the Southern District court seeking a declaratory judgment for breach of contract, and injunctive relief. The company said it has asserted that Enzo had improperly broad rights in its patent portfolio, and used the 1998 agreement and distributorship agreements with others in order to corner the market for non-radioactive labeling reagents, and improperly using the 1998 agreement to claim ownership rights to technology Affymetrix claims.

The company, in its 10-K report, said it is asking the court to rule that it is entitled to sell its remaining inventory of Enzo reagent labeling kits and that nine Enzo patents in the 1998 agreement are invalid or not infringed by the company. Affymetrix said it is seeking monetary damages.

Enzo Reports Continuing Adverse Affects Of Termination of its Affymetrix Contract

Enzo Biochem, in reporting its financial results for its fiscal 2004 second quarter, ending Jan. 31, said last week that it continues to be “adversely affected by its decision to terminate a contract with Affymetrix” as it reported a loss of $1.5 million for the quarter, compared to total revenues of $1.4 million for the year-ago quarter.

The Long Island-based company, which has filed suit against Affymetrix, had revenues of $11 million for the quarter, compared to $13 million for its second quarter, 2003. The company reported cash and cash equivalents, plus marketable securities, in excess of $75 million.

Enzo, which has instituted a direct sales strategy to market its labeling and detection products after its breakup with Affymetrix, said research product sales in the quarter increased approximately 44 percent for a $3.6 million profit, compared to $2.4 million for the year-ago quarter.

Amersham Shareholders OK GE Acquisition

Amersham shareholders last week gave a thumbs-up to the company's acquisition by General Electric, one of the final approval hurdles facing the $9.5 billion proposed merger, which was announced in October.

Amersham shareholders, by proxy and at a court meeting and an extraordinary general meeting held in London, approved the share-exchange acquisition, the company said. The transaction, which is still subject to approval by the British High Court, Amersham said, is expected to close on April 8. The pricing of the share exchange will be calculated based on the trading period between March 23 and April 5, Amersham said.


The Scan

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.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.