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Premier Bio, PamGene, Geneservice, Newcastle University, Gene Logic, Expression Analysis, Illumina, ABI, Luminex

Premier Bio to Develop Custom Software for PamGene's MLPA Array
Premier Biosoft will develop customized software for PamGene for use in its microarrays, Premier Bio said last week.
The company said the software will be used by PamGene customers using its multiplex ligation-dependent probe-amplification microarray application.
MLPA is used to speed up “a number of genomic assays” and assesses gene copy number changes, SNPs, insertions, deletions, and methylation markers in one reaction tube, Premier Bio said.
Premier Bio said researchers would use custom oligo software to develop new multiplex genomic assays for pharmaceutical research.
PamGene CEO Tim Kievits told BioArray News in an e-mail that the deal with Premier will enable PamGene to expand its applications in the research and diagnostic markets.
“There are many applications that we ourselves aren't developing at all. These can now be taken up by others in academia or corporate research labs," Kievits wrote.
According to Faris Naji, PamGene’s director of bioinformatics, the company decided to work with Premier because of its expertise in MLPA probe design.
"We had been manually designing our probe sets and wanted to implement an automated approach, Naji told BioArray News in an e-mail this week.

Geneservice to Genotype Samples for Newcastle University Study
Geneservice will genotype more than 1,400 samples for a study conducted by the Institute of Human Genetics at Newcastle University, the company said today.
GSL said it will use Affymetrix’s GeneChip mapping arrays to analyze samples that will be used to produce genotypes in a whole-genome association study.
The study will look at a condition related to renal failure called vesicouretieric reflux, and is funded by the Medical Research Council. It will rely on samples from British and Slovenian individuals.
Financial terms of the award were not released.

Gene Logic Could Spin Off Genomics Unit as Review Continues; Q4 Revenues Slide 60 Percent
Gene Logic said last week that its ongoing strategic review of its genomics division has led it to consider “a spin-off entity with a retained equity position or other alternative structures to capture value for Gene Logic.”
The company made the remarks in its fourth-quarter earnings statement, in which it said revenues decreased 60 percent as R&D spending remained flat and net loss increased 133 percent.
Gene Logic began the review in June 2006. Five months later, during its third-quarter 2006 earnings call, the firm offered sparse details regarding the direction the genomics division will take, except to say that the company has “been evaluating strategic options … in areas such as clinical biomarker development and molecular diagnostics” (see BAN 9/26/2006).
Last week’s disclosure sheds some additional light on the options the company may have.
Total receipts for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, fell to $7.1 million from $17.7 million year over year. All of the company’s revenue came from its genomics services business.
Gene Logic reiterated in its earnings statement that it is “transforming” into a biopharmaceutical company, highlighted by the divestiture of its pre-clinical services division to Bridge Pharmaceuticals for $15 million during the quarter.
Through that sale the company reduced its workforce from 434 to 151 employees.
R&D spending was up slightly to $2.27 million from $2.15 million year over year.
The company said net losses increased to $5 million from $2.1 million in the year-ago period.
As of Dec. 31, Gene Logic had $50.1 million in combined cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities available for sale

Expression Analysis Moves Into Larger Digs; Will Install New Tools From Illumina, ABI, Luminex
Expression Analysis has relocated its lab to a larger facility in Durham, NC, the company said last week.
The firm, which uses Affymetrix’s GeneChip to provide microarray services for clinical trials, said the new space is triple the size of its previous lab.
Expression Analysis said it needed new space because over the past year it tripled its capacity of its gene-expression and genotyping services and recently doubled its lab and informatics staff.
The extra space will allow the company to install new hardware for use in high-throughput testing using platforms from Affy and others, ,including Illumina, Luminex, and Applied Biosystems.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.