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University of California, Lark Technologies, Paradigm, CombiMatrix, Case Western Reserve University


Former Nanogen VP Gets Grant For Electronic Microarray App

Marc Madou of the University of California, Irvine, and CalbaTech of Irvine, Calif., received a University of California discovery grant for research on a electrode array technology, the company said in a statement.

The amount of the funding was not disclosed.

Madou, a professor in biomedical engineering and a member of the integrated nanosystems research facility in the school of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and CalbaTech, a life-sciences incubator, received the award for the project, “Rapid and Low-Cost Biomolecule Detection on Adjacent Impedance Probing (AIP) Electrode with Impedance Amplifying Labels.”

The project involves high-density electrode-based array devices for low-cost nucleic acid analysis, the company said in a statement.

Madou previously was vice president of advanced technology at Nanogen of San Diego. He also founded SRI International’s microsensor department, and Teknekron Sensor Development, as well as being a visiting professor at Cal-Berkeley, and a professor in chemistry and materials science and engineering at Ohio State University.

CalbaTech is commercializing a product called the pathogen chip for electronic DNA detection for application in point-of-care diagnostics, drug discovery, and biological warfare agent detection. The company’s portfolio of firms includes Molecula, an RNAi startup, and MolecularWare, a bioinformatics developer.

Lark Shareholders to Vote On Genaissance Merger in April

Lark Technologies last week said that its stockholders will vote on the proposed merger with Genaissance Pharmaceuticals in a meeting on April 1 at the company’s offices in Houston.

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals of New Haven, Conn., announced in December an offer to acquire Lark Technologies of Houston, in an all-stock transaction worth about $19.9 million.

Lark Technologies’ business is focused on good laboratory practices-compliant research services, and the company provides microarray support, among other offerings, to customers in pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and agricultural product research and development. The company, which also has a site in Cambridge, UK, has a long-term deal with Pfizer to support the research operation located in Sandwich, UK.

This is the second acquisition this year for Genaissance, a pioneer in using haplotype technologies in drug-discovery alliances with the pharmaceutical industry. The company acquired DNA Sciences in April for $1.3 million.

Paradigm Cuts Net Loss

Research Triangle-based Paradigm Genetics, a biotech company that also offers microarray services on the Agilent and Affymetrix platforms, reported a net loss of $2.2 million for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, compared to a net loss of $2.7 million in the same quarter of 2002.

The company reported fourth-quarter total revenues of $5.5 million, compared to $1.9 million for the year-ago period. The company said its revenue improvements stemmed from increases in revenue from contracts with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Monsanto, and an advanced technology program grant.

As of Dec. 31, the company reported unrestricted cash and investments in the amount of $16.3 million, in the form of cash, cash equivalents, short- and long-term investments.

The company spent $1.7 million on research and development for the period, compared to $2.9 million for the same quarter in 2002.

Case Western Researchers Seek to Develop Alzheimer’s Diagnostic with CombiMatrix

CombiMatrix will collaborate with researchers at Case Western Reserve University to develop a diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease, the company said this week.

The university scientists, led by Mark Smith, a professor of pathology, will use CombiMatrix’s CustomArray microarray platform in their research.

CombiMatrix’s platform uses electrochemically and independently addressable microelectrodes on semiconductor chips.

Last week, CombiMatrix, a unit of Acacia Research, reported that total receipts for the period ended Dec. 31 jumped to $53,000 from $16,000 one year ago. From this, revenue from product sales increased in the quarter to $27,000 from $9,000 year over year, and receipts from grants or contracts increased to $26,000 from $7,000 during the fourth quarter 2002.

R&D spending in the fourth quarter fell to $1.9 million from $4 million year over year. As a result, net loss for the division dwindled to $4 million from $21.4 million for the same period last year.

CombiMatrix said it had around $17.3 million cash, equivalents, and short-term investments as of Dec. 31.

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