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NimbleGen, Affymetrix, Illumina, Solexa, MDS, Molecular Devices, U of Minnesota

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RZPD Expands NimbleGen Array Services Offering to Include Affy IP
 
The German Resource Center for Genome Research, based in Berlin, said it has expanded an agreement with NimbleGen to cover Affymetrix’ microarray patents in Germany and Austria.
 
NimbleGen signed an agreement with Affymetrix in October that gave it non-exclusive, worldwide rights for the manufacture, use, and sale of nucleic acid microarrays (see BAN 10/10/2006).
 
Under the new agreement, RZPD will be able to offer technology covered by this IP to its customers as part of its services offering.
 
RZPD has been a distributor for NimbleGen in Germany and Austria for three years. It offers services such as ChIP-chp, comparative genomic hybridization, and gene expression analysis based on the NimbleGen platform.
 

 
Illumina Closes Solexa Acquisition
 
Illumina this week said it has closed its $600 million acquisition of Solexa. The company announced its plans to acquire the sequencing firm in November (see BAN 11/14/2006).
 
"We are excited to join the two companies, creating the only company with genome-scale technology for genotyping, gene expression, and sequencing, the three cornerstones of modern genetic analysis," Illumina CEO Jay Flatley said in a statement.
 
"With Solexa's recent technical achievements we look forward to the rapid commercialization of our next-generation sequencing platform," he added.
 
In connection with the merger, Illumina has increased the size of its board from eight to 10 members, adding Blaine Bowman and Roy Whitfield, both of whom were Solexa directors.
 
Illumina will report its fourth quarter financial results on Feb. 1.
 

 
MDS to Buy Molecular Devices for $615M in Cash to Expand MDS Sciex Business
 
MDS has signed a definitive agreement to buy Molecular Devices, a maker of high-content screening, cellular analysis, and biochemical testing tools, for $615 million in cash, the companies said this week.
 
The agreement calls for MDS to pay $35.50 per share for all of Molecular Devices’ common stock. The boards of both companies have approved the transaction.
 
Through the acquisition, MDS will be able to sell Molecular Devices’ line of GenePix microarray scanners, which it added to its portfolio through its purchase of Axon Instruments in 2004 (see BAN 7/7/2004).
 
MDS said it will create a new business segment that combines Molecular Devices with its MDS Sciex business, which will be run by current MDS Sciex president Andy Boom.
 
The new segment will have 1,100 employees and 250 scientists and engineers.
 
MDS said the MDS Sciex business will continue its mass spectrometry partnerships with Applied Biosystems and PerkinElmer following the transaction.
 
The companies said Molecular Devices will generate $190 million in revenue and $45 million to $50 million in earnings in the first year. Molecular Devices reported $185 million in revenue in fiscal 2006.
 
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter. The companies said that after merger-related expenses are covered in 2007, the deal should be "significantly accretive" in 2008.
 
The transaction costs include $585 million for the purchase of outstanding Molecular Devices shares and $30 million for stock options.
 

 
Mayo Clinic, U of Minnesota Open $22M Genomics Facility
 
A Minnesota research collaboration headed by the Mayo Clinic has established a new genomics and bioinformatics facility in Rochester, Minn., the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics said last week.
 
The facility, a three-story addition to a space in downtown Rochester, will house genomics research equipment, a bioinformatics lab, and conference rooms to support the partnership’s research initiatives.
 
The state legislature provided $21.7 million in backing for the facility, which is the product of a partnership involving the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and the State of Minnesota.
 
The Minnesota Partnership said ongoing research includes "anti-cancer drug development, heart disease, pancreatic cancer, neuromuscular diseases, tuberculosis, auto-immune diseases, transplant rejection, drug addiction and tuberculosis."
 
Describing itself as "a unique collaborative venture," the Minnesota Partnership aims to head the region’s biotech and genomics sector.

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.