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Perlegen Sciences, Oxford Gene Technology, BF-BIOlabs, Mt. Sinai Hospital-Toronto, Xceed Molecular

Perlegen Eyes First-Half '09 Launch of Breast Cancer Dx Panel
Perlegen Sciences intends to release its first diagnostic product, which is focused on stratifying risk and diagnosing breast cancer, during the first half of 2009, CEO Bryan Walser said last week at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference in New York.
According to BioArray News’ sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News, the panel will contain eight single nucleotide polymorphisms, five of which are exclusive to Perlegen. The firm believes that its panel will have utility in both risk stratification as well as helping to guide treatment selection after diagnosis.
It would compete with Myriad Genetics’ BRACAnalysis test in identifying patients at increased risk. In post-diagnosis use, the panel would compete against a variety of molecular tests, such as Genomic Health’s Oncotype Dx, Agendia’s MammaPrint, and the Molecular Profiling Institute’s MammoStrat.
Perlegen believes that its panel will provide novel and more comprehensive information than the other breast cancer tests already on the market at a fraction of the cost — several hundreds of dollars versus a few thousand dollars for some of the other competing products, according to Walser.
He also noted that the firm is currently negotiating the possible acquisition of a CLIA-certified lab that would offer the breast cancer panel, as well as follow-on assays currently in development. If Perlegen does not go through with the acquisition, Walser said that it would likely seek a lab partner, and he did not discount the possibility of an alliance with Affymetrix Clinical Services Laboratory, the CLIA lab of Affy. Perlegen is a spin-out of Affymetrix, and Affy Chairman and CEO Steve Fodor also serves as chairman of the company.
In addition to the breast cancer panel, Perlegen has a variety of SNP-based diagnostic programs in development for women’s health, cardiovascular, type II diabetes, and hepatitis C testing.
The privately held firm is currently lining up investors for a Series E round of financing. Walser said that Perlegen does not have a lead investor for the round yet, but he noted that Pfizer and Affy — both previous investors — have expressed an interest in participating in the round. He said the firm hopes to raise between $20 million and $30 million.
Perlegen’s last round of private funding came in late 2005. In that round, Pfizer invested $50 million in the company in exchange for a 12 percent stake.

BF-BIOlabs Licenses OGT's Array Patents
Oxford Gene Technology has licensed the rights to make and market certain oligonucleotide microarrays using the company’s Southern array patents to BF-BIOlabs, OGT said last week.
Under the license, Denzlingen, Germany-based BF-BIOlabs will be able to sell arrays and array-based services for identifying genes, SNPs, and gene expression analysis.
OGT said the license will remain valid for the lifetime of the patents. Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
BF-BIOlabs offers services for microarray experiments, chip readout, and data analysis. In addition to patent licensing, OGT also focuses on digital microarrays, single cell analysis, cytogenetetics products, and high-throughput microarray services.

Toronto's Mt. Sinai to Use Xceed Molecular's Gene Expression System
The reference laboratory at Toronto’s Mt. Sinai Hospital will use Xceed Molecular’s gene expression analysis systems to provide services to North American translational research customers and for use in the hospital’s own programs, the company said last week.
The Mt. Sinai’s Services unit, which is CLIA-certified by the Ontario Laboratory Accreditation Program, has acquired the company’s Ziplex System.
Xceed’s CEO, David Deems, said the partnership allows the company to expand service offerings in North America and to validate its new Xpress Chips — preconfigured arrays that are being developed “for a wide range of disorders.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.