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Phalanx, OGT, GeneGo, CombiMatrix, Wellcome Trust, Expression Analysis, SAEC, Agilent

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Phalanx Gains License to OGT’s Southern Array Patents
 
Oxford Gene Technology and Phalanx Biotech Group said this week that they have concluded a licensing agreement granting Phalanx access to OGT’s “Southern array patents” — the IP generated by OGT founder Sir Edwin Southern.
 
Under the terms of the deal, Phalanx, which is headquartered in Taiwan, will now be able to sell arrays, including its whole-genome OneArray platform, for gene expression profile studies in the US.
 
The license will remain valid for the patents’ lifetime. Financial details were not disclosed by Phalanx or OGT.
 

 
GeneGo to Debut MetaRodent Analysis Tool
 
GeneGo will soon launch MetaRodent, a mouse- and rat-specific version of the firm’s MetaCore software suite for functional analysis of experimental data, according to a company official. 
 
Julie Bryant, the firm’s vice president of business development and sales, told BioArray News in an e-mail last week that MetaRodent will contain gene and protein complexes in mouse and rat that are not in human and will also include mouse- and rat-specific canonical pathway maps.
 
The software tool will also enable conversion between mouse, rat, and human gene and protein IDs, visualization of species-specific genes and interactions between them on maps and networks, and the ability to export in a species-specific format.
 
Bryant said that MetaRodent was designed with a broad user base in mind. “Systems biology is broad and therefore our ideal user base is, from R&D to clinical trials to physicians,” she wrote.
 
Bryant declined to discuss pricing for MetaRodent.
 

 
CombiMatrix Q3 Revenues Decline 9 Percent as Firm Shifts Focus to Dx Market
 
CombiMatrix last week reported a 9 percent dip in third-quarter revenues amid a double-digit decline in R&D spending and a smaller net loss.
 
For the quarter ended Sept. 30 — its first as a standalone firm after splitting from Acacia Research in August — revenues fell 9 percent to $1.7 million from $1.8 million in the comparable period of 2006.
  
“The decrease relative to 2006 was expected as we made a significant strategic shift in our commercial focus early in 2007 from selling R&D products to researchers to selling diagnostic products and services to physicians, patients and reference laboratories,” Amit Kumar, president and CEO of CombiMatrix, said in a statement.
 
Third-quarter revenues from government contracts fell to $627,000 from $725,000 in the prior-year period, while product sales dropped to $828,000 from $968,000 in the third quarter of 2006. Service contract revenue rose to $164,000 from $88,000 in the year-ago quarter.
 
R&D spending fell 32 percent to $1.9 million from $2.8 million in the comparable period of 2006.
 
CombiMatrix narrowed its net loss by 20 percent to $3.4 million from $4.3 million in the third quarter of 2006. The firm had cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $10.5 million as of Sept. 30.
 

 
Wellcome Trust Awards $2.7M for Alzheimer's Genome-Wide Association Study
 
The UK’s Wellcome Trust said last week that it has awarded £1.3 million ($2.7 million) to support a large genome-wide association study with the goal of understanding the genetic basis of late-onset Alzheimer's disease.
 
Cardiff University will lead the project, which will analyze DNA samples from 14,000 people — 6,000 with late-onset Alzheimer's disease and 8,000 controls from the UK and US. The researchers hope to identify common genetic variations that either increase the risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s or protect patients from developing the disease.
 
Julie Williams, a professor of neuropsychological genetics at Cardiff University and the principal investigator on the project, said in a statement that it is the “largest genetic study ever to look at Alzheimer's.”
 
Panos Deloukas’ group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute will perform the genotyping for the study with Illumina’s HumanHap550 Genotyping BeadChips.
 

 
Expression Analysis to Genotype Samples for SAEC's Liver Toxicity Project
 
The Serious Adverse Events Consortium has selected Expression Analysis as the exclusive provider of genotyping services for its first research project, the genomic services firm said last week.
 
The first project will focus on liver toxicity using samples provided by DILIGEN and EUDRAGENE, two European clinical research networks. Expression Analysis said that it will use Illumina's Human 1M DNA Analysis BeadChip to perform the genotyping on these samples.
 
The SAEC, launched last month, is a collaboration between the US Food and Drug Administration, several pharmaceutical companies, and academic research groups to identify genetic biomarkers that may predict which individuals are at risk for drug-related adverse events.  
 
Arthur Holden, chairman of the SAEC, said in a statement that the consortium’s scientific management committee “independently evaluated many competing proposals and selected Expression Analysis based on its extensive ‘quality system’ and service track record.”
 

 
Agilent Offering $600M in Debt to Pay for Acquisitions, Other Needs
 
Agilent Technologies said last week it is offering $600 million in senior notes and plans to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, including repurchases of outstanding shares of common stock, acquisitions, working capital, and capital expenditures.
 
The offering, expected to close Oct. 29, will be handled through book-runners Citi Markets & Banking and J.P. Morgan Securities.
 

Agilent said the notes will mature in November 2017 and will bear interest at 6.5 percent per year.

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.