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Nanogen, Epoch Biosciences, IntegraGen, La Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer, PerkinElmer, Procognia, Accelr8, Ciphergen


Nanogen Closes Acquisition of Epoch Biosciences

Nanogen last week closed its acquisition of Epoch Biosciences for $97 million. The deal was originally announced in September, and was approved by shareholders on Dec. 15.

Epoch ceased trading on the Nasdaq exchange at market close last Thursday.

Nanogen shareholders approved the issuance of shares of common stock for the deal, and also approved an amendment to the company’s certificate of incorporation increasing the number of authorized shares of Nanogen common stock to 135 million.

Epoch stockholders will receive .47 shares of Nanogen stock in exchange for each share of Epoch common stock they hold. At the completion of the merger, Nanogen will have approximately 50 million common shares outstanding.

The Nanogen shareholder meeting was originally held on Dec. 8, but was postponed until Dec. 15 because the number of shares represented by votes or votes by proxy was insufficient for a decision. Epoch’s shareholder meeting also was postponed to Dec. 15, even though it had already obtained the necessary number of votes in person or proxy to approve the acquisition by Nanogen.

With the purchase of Epoch, Nanogen is aiming to quickly add revenue without having to pursue a new market. The firms have several complementary products in the molecular diagnostics field. Specifically, Epoch’s MGB Eclipse Probe System, including recently launched analyte-specific detection reagents, complement Nanogen’s NanoChip molecular biology workstation and the new NanoChip 400. Both products are used for analyzing gene expression in vitro, detecting SNPs and mutations, and identifying infectious organisms, the companies said.

The new platform, which will launch in January or February 2005, will initially be targeted at the research market, followed a few months later by a push into the clinical diagnostics market, Nanogen Chairman and CEO Howard Birndorf told BioArray News last month (see BAN 11/3/2004).

IntegraGen to Develop DNA Chips for French Cancer Center

IntegraGen said this week that it has signed a contract to develop, manufacture, and supply DNA chips to La Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer.

The chips, said IntegraGen, will be used for the LNCC’s Cartes d’Identité des Tumeurs project, which is developing profiles of all genetic, molecular, or functional characteristics of tumor cells. The center hopes that the chips will enable the discovery of changes in the genetics of each tumor and provide a genomic “fingerprint” to identify specific categories of tumors.

Additional terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

PerkinElmer, Procognia to Co-Market Protein Array Platform

PerkinElmer and Procognia will co-distribute and co-market to customers instrumentation for high-throughput, high-resolution analysis of the glycosylation of proteins, the companies said last week.

The firms intend to combine Procognia’s U-c fingerprint lectin array-based platform with PerkinElmer’s Protein Array Workstation and ProScanArray HT. According to a joint statement, Procognia’s U-c fingerprint technology requires no sample purification or pretreatment and allows for quantitative analysis of 20 samples in roughly 3 hours.

Sandra Rasmussen, business manager for functional genomics and proteomics at PerkinElmer, said this is the first array on the market that allows for high-throughput analysis of glycosylated proteins.

“The beauty of this approach from a throughput perspective is that many of the conventional approaches require purification of proteins and digestion of peptides. With the Procognia array, no purification of proteins is required,” she told BioArray News’ sister publication GenomeWeb News.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Accelr8 Q1 Revenues Down, Net Loss Up

Accelr8 Technology last week said that total revenue for its first fiscal quarter fell to $21,724 from $22,284 in the year-ago period.

Accler8 said 90 percent of its net revenues in the quarter were from sales to Schott, with which it closed a microarray slide surface chemistry licensing agreement on Dec. 6.

Net loss for the quarter ending Oct. 31, meantime, increased to $509,800 from $494,761 year over year, the Denver-based company reported.

The company reported research and development expenses of $203,000 for the quarter, a 42-percent increase over the $143,000 reported for the same quarter last year.

Acceler8 reported cash and cash equivalents of $6.8 million on hand as of Oct. 31.

Ciphergen Unit to Help ADDNET Develop Molecular Dx Products for Renal Disease

A unit of Ciphergen Biosystems will collaborate with the ADDNET consortium to create molecular diagnostic products for kidney disease that rely on urine samples as opposed to traditional tissue biopsies, the company said last week.

Existing blood and urine tests “cannot detect subclinical renal disease, and, although kidney biopsies are accurate, they are invasive and therefore cannot be a routine clinical test,” the unit, Ciphergen Diagnostics, said in a statement.

As a result, the Sixth Framework Program of the European Union has funded this multi-year, multi-institution project to employ genomic, proteomic, and bioinformatics tools to “identify and validate a set of key molecular markers directly from patient urine that may yield novel diagnostic markers for the early and accurate non-invasive diagnosis of renal disease,” the firm’s statement said.

Ciphergen Diagnostics will work with the ADDNET consortium, which is funded by the Sixth Framework Program. The consortium, which comprises six participants from four countries, is led by Harry Holthofer at the University of Helsinki.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.