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Nanogen, Gene Logic, Illumina, Beckman Coulter, Affymetrix

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Nanogen Considering Selling or Closing Array Business to Achieve Profitability
 
Nanogen said this week that it is “evaluating strategic alternatives for its microarray business as part of an aggressive plan to achieve profitability.” The San Diego firm’s array business includes its NanoChip 400 instrument system and related multiplexed reagents and consumables. 
 
According to Nanogen it has retained Credit Suisse to assist in the evaluation of alternatives which may include a “sale, partnering or closure of the array business.” Nanogen will complete the evaluation of these strategic alternatives in 60 to 90 days, it said.
 
“We recognize that our microarray technology is very good and customer reception is positive,” said Nanogen CEO Howard Birndorf in a statement.  “However, multiplex molecular testing remains an early stage market with slower growth and lower testing volumes than we expected,”
 
According to Nanogen Chief Financial Officer Robert Saltmarsh, the firm expects the sale or closure of the microarray business could decrease expenses and improve cash flow by at least $15 million annually. 
 

 
Gene Logic to Help FDA Develop QC Standards for Genomic Data
 
Gene Logic said last week that it will work with the US Food and Drug Administration to develop quality control metrics that will help the agency assess the quality of genomic data submissions.
 
The collaboration is part of FDA's Critical Path Initiative. Gene Logic said that the collaboration's results will be released publicly as "an early step towards formulating industry-wide standards" for assessing genomic data. The company said that there are currently no such standards in place.
 
Donna Mendrick, vice president of toxicogenomics at Gene Logic, said in a statement that the project is “a step on the path to achieving a common understanding of key microarray QC procedures that may lead to the development of preliminary microarray data standards for the submission of microarray data to the FDA."
 

 
Illumina to Handle Genotyping for Two Large Cancer Research UK Projects
 
Illumina will use its Infinium and Beadchip tools to genotype more than 15,000 samples for lung and ovarian cancer research studies organized by Cancer Research UK, the company said last week.
 
For the program to discover genetic risk factors to lung cancer, Illumina will run more than 2,000 samples on the HumanHap550 Beadchip and 5,600 samples on an iSelect Custom Beadchip for the University of Cambridge.
 
In the ovarian cancer study, conducted for the University of Cambridge and the University of London, Illumina will process more than 2,000 samples on the HumanHap550 and 6,000 samples on the iSelect, the company said.
 
Illumina said the programs are the third and fourth for which it has been asked to contribute for Cancer Research UK.
 
Financial terms of the studies, both of which will be funded by Cancer Research UK, were not released.  
 

 
Affy Grants Premier Status to Beckman Coulter's ArrayPlex Target Prep Tool
 
Beckman Coulter last week said it will market its Biomek 3000 ArrayPlex for target RNA preparation to Affymetrix customers after it received Premier Application Status from the chip vendor.
 
Beckman Coulter said the ArrayPlex is an alternative for Affy customers who are looking for a smaller, less-expensive option for medium- to low-throughput applications.
 
The ArrayPlex includes automated instruments, software, and protocols for use on the Biomek FX or on the Biomek 3000 laboratory automation workstations.
 
Affy had previously awarded Premier Status to Beckman Coulter's ArrayPlex application on the high-capacity Biomek FX automated liquid-handling platform.

The Scan

Gap in COVAX Doses

BBC News reports that COVAX is experiencing a vaccine shortfall, as the Serum Institute of India has paused exports.

Sanofi, GSK Report Promising Results

The Wall Street Journal reports that the candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline has had encouraging early results.

Influence of Luck

The New York Times examines how the US avoided variant-fueled increases in COVID-19 cases.

PLOS Papers on Retina GWAS, Hantaan Virus, COVID-19 Phenome-Wide Association Study

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of retinal morphology, analysis of hantaan virus found in a mouse, and more.