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Nanogen, Accler8, BACcelr8r, to 20/20 GeneSystems, Affymetrix, NIH, TriLink, NCI, Roche

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Nanogen to Acquire Spectral Diagnostics' Cardiac Test Business for $7.7M

Nanogen will acquire Spectral Diagnostics' rapid cardiac immunoassay test business, including the cardiac STATus, Decision Point, and i-Lynx product lines, the companies said this week.

Nanogen will assume related sales, marketing, and manufacturing activities for the product lines, which it said it will combine with its own StatusFirst congestive heart failure test. The transaction, expected to close during the first quarter of 2006, is subject to approval by Spectral's shareholders.

Nanogen will pay CDN$9 million ($7.7 million) for the business, comprised of CDN$5.65 million in cash and CDN$3.35 million in Nanogen common shares, the companies said.


Accler8's Losses Widen in Q1; BACcelr8r Promised in 2006

Accelr8 Technology said last week that despite quadrupling its total revenue for the first fiscal quarter for 2006, net losses widened.

David Howson, president of the Denver-based company, told BioArray News this week he would "not make any public projections" on when the company could achieve profitability.

The company said total revenues for the three months ended Oct. 31 increased to $86,388 from $21,724 in the year-ago period. Howson said most of the company's income continues to come from licensing its OptiChem surface chemistries and OptArray microarray slides to companies.

He said the company is just starting a project with Promega that could convert to a license in the future, and that it continues to have Schott-Nexterion as a licensee (see BAN 6/15/2005).

Net loss for the quarter increased 51 percent to $772,000, or $.08 per share, from $509,800, or $.05 per share, year over year, the Denver-based company said.

The company reported research and development expenses of $573,000 for the quarter, a 182-percent increase over the $203,000 reported for the same quarter last year. The increase is attributed to the development of the BACcelr8r diagnostic system. Howson said that that nearly all of Accelr8's R&D expenditures in 2004 and 2005 have been invested in the bacterial identification system.

Accelr8 expects to complete studies on materials and processes for the system and begin selling it in fiscal 2006, the Howson said.

Acceler8 reported cash and cash equivalents of $4.9 million on hand as of Oct. 31.


20/20 Acquires Rights to Protein Biomarkers for Lung Cancer Dx from U of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky said last week that it has licensed a panel of protein biomarkers to 20/20 GeneSystems that the company will use to develop a lung cancer diagnostic tool.

University of Kentucky researchers reported in the November 2005 issue of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine that they have identified multiple antibodies that the body's immune system produces in response to lung cancer development.

With the biomarkers identified by the team, 20/20 plans to create a screening test for the early detection of lung cancer using its proprietary layered peptide array platform.


Affy Partners with Imperial College London, MRC to Genotype Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Cancer

Affymetrix said last week that researchers at Imperial College London and the UK's Medical Research Council will use the company's GeneChip technology to study the genetic variations associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

The researchers will use Affy arrays to perform genotyping and gene-expression experiments. Affymetrix did not disclose which of its GeneChips the UK researchers will use.

Affymetrix said that the collaboration is part of its translational medicine program, an initiative designed to "accelerate clinical research and improve patient care by helping to bring more effective personalized tests and therapies to market faster."

Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.


NIH Awards TriLink $750K Phase II Grant for Structure-Free DNA and RNA Research

TriLink Bio Technologies has received STTR Phase II funding from the National Institutes of Health to continue its structure-free DNA and RNA program, the company said last week.

A company spokesperson told BioArray News' sister publication GenomeWeb News that the award is for $749,405 and will cover the period from January 2006 to Dec. 31, 2007.

TriLink is working with Howard Gamper of Thomas Jefferson University on the project, titled "Reagents for Preparing Structure-Free DNA and RNA." In Phase I, they demonstrated that certain base analogs can enhance accessibility of the pseudo-complementary target sequence to short probes.

The second phase of the project aims to improve the efficiency of hybridization between short oligonucleotide probes and long DNA and RNA targets, the company said.

In this collaboration, TriLink is developing the structure-free DNA and RNA technology while Gamper identifies the best nucleotide candidates which can be enzymatically incorporated into pseudo-complementary nucleic acid targets for improved hybridization performance.

The initial funding was for $99,871 from NIH and covered July to December.


NCI Awards Burnham Institute $9.5M to Find Prostate Cancer's Molecular Signature

With funding from the National Cancer Institute, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research will collaborate on a task force to define molecular signatures for prostate cancer, the not-for-profit research institution said last week.

The consortium, led by University of California, Irvine, will receive $9.5 million over the next five years.

In its tissue microarray analyses of 4,000 prostate tissue samples, the group will look for cancer markers that are indicative of the clinical behavior of prostate cancer cells, the institute said.

Other collaborating institutions include University of California, San Diego; Northwestern University; the Translation Genomic Institute of Phoenix; San Diego, Calif.-based Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center; and the Sun Health Research Institute.

The NCI funding is part of its Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures Program. In addition to prostate cancer, NCI awarded funding for childhood leukemias, non-Hodgekin's lymphoma, lymphocytic leukemia, lung cancer, and breast cancer.


Roche to Invest $1.6M in Diabetes Biomarker-Discovery Research with SystemsX

Roche announced last week a three-year research partnership with SystemsX, the Swiss Initiative in Systems Biology, to develop diabetes drugs and identify biomarkers.

Roche will finance 2.1 million Swiss francs ($1.6 million) for the duration of the project.

In a statement, Roche called the project a "holistic" approach.

A team of 15 scientists from Roche and SystemsX's Competence Center for Systems Physiology and Metabolic Diseases will be joined by researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and University of Zurich.


NOTE: This is the last issue of BioArray News to be published in 2005. We will resume our normal publishing schedule on Jan. 4, 2006.
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.