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NimbleGen, Light Biology, CombiMatrix, Agilent, Centrex


NimbleGen Buys Light Biology

Madison, Wisc.-based NimbleGen Systems has acquired Light Biology, a startup commercializing technology developed at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Light Biology is commercializing a DNA microarray manufacturing technique called digital optical chemistry. NimbleGen is acquiring the company’s assets and patent rights. Harold Garner, the company founder, will join NimbleGen’s scientific advisory board.

With the acquisition of Light Biology and its intellectual property, NimbleGen says it will be able to enhance its operations in the United States. The company, which offers microarray analysis services, currently conducts is analysis operations in a facility in Iceland.

Light Biology’s technology uses Texas Instruments’ Digital Light Processing techniques, a system that uses micro mirrors. Light Biology applied the technology to direct light for constructing the probes in a microarray manufacturing process.

CombiMatrix Adds $5.9M DOD Contract

Mukilteo, Wash.-based CombiMatrix has received a $5.9 million, two-year contract from the US Department of Defense to further develop its microarray-based technology for the detection of biological threats.

The focus of the new contract will be the integration of CombiMatrix’s biotechnology with microelectronics and microfluidics and the development of an automated system with reduced size and cost.

CombiMatrix is the life-sciences unit of Acacia Technologies of Newport Beach, Calif., and is one of four tracking stocks remaining on the stock market. The company has already been collaborating with the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease under a cooperative research and development agreement, to integrate its technology into a variety of devices.

Agilent Sets New Unit for Genomics, Proteomics, Reagents

Agilent Technologies is carving out a new unit, grouping its gene expression, proteomics, and reagent business together as Integrated Biology Solutions, which is still managed within its Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis division.

Fran DiNuzzo will lead the new group, the company said in a statement last week. Previously, he was Agilent’s vice president for bio-reagents, consumables, and services with responsibility for research and development, manufacturing, and marketing of Agilent’s life sciences businesses, including gene expression, proteomics, and reagents. DiNuzzo holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of New Hampshire.

DiNuzzo is a 23-year veteran of the company, which was spun off from Hewlett-Packard and entered the microarray market in 2001. He will report to Chris van Ingen, president of Agilent’s Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis group.

Company representatives were not available for comment by press time for this publication.

The unit targets basic research, drug discovery, and early-stage drug development, the company said in a statement.

“Under the leadership of Fran DiNuzzo, I believe we can accelerate our life science growth and position Agilent as a much stronger player in systems biology and the fields it encompasses,” van Ingen said.

The announcement addresses the emerging concept of systems biology, a convergence of biology and high technology, seeking to understand biological functions from a broader viewpoint.

“It will enable the rapid development of products that bridge multiple disciplines, thereby facilitating a more integrative study of biological organisms often referred to as ‘systems biology,’” said DiNuzzo, vice president and general manager of IBS.

Pharmaceutical, biotech and academic customers use a combination of technologies to research disease and potential new drugs. The data obtained during research — whether from RNA, DNA, or proteins — is applicable to the broader study of biological systems such as molecular pathways and cellular metabolism. But it has traditionally been very difficult to integrate these diverse technologies and the data they produce.

No Spinoff of Nucleic-Acid Sensor Business For Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Centrex

Centrex, a Tulsa, Okla., company developing a DNA/RNA detection technology, announced last week that it would not participate in the formation of a subsidiary, Early Warning Technologies, with Calif.-based Trifocal Group, and would retain rights to a nucleic acid-based detection technology exclusively licensed from Los Alamos National Laboratories. The company is in the prototype stage with an instrument that will use microfluidics on a lab card that contains the technology.


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