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USP, Multilyte, Applera, Morgan Stanley, Nanogen, DNA2.0, Operon Biotechnologies, Leiden University, Fluidigm

USPTO Validates Multilyte's Basic Microarray IP Portfolio
The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued an ex parte re-examination certificate to Multilyte for its basic microarray patent portfolio, validating the IP, Multilyte said last month.
The move, which strengthens Multilyte’s IP portfolio as it “endeavor[s] to license” its patents, was requested by the company and by Affymetrix ex parte.
“After careful examination stretching over two years, the USPTO concluded that all the claims are valid over more than 20 documents submitted by Affymetrix,” UK-based Multilyte said in a statement.

Applera to Buy $600M of ABI Shares from Morgan Stanley
Applera said last week that it has signed an agreement to acquire $600 million worth of Applied Biosystems common stock from investment bank Morgan Stanley.
The accelerated purchase is part of Applera’s previously announced plans to buy back $1.2 billion worth of ABI shares over the next four to six quarters.
The number of shares repurchased is subject to a minimum and maximum based on the volume-weighted average daily price of ABI’s shares over the next approximately seven and a half months. The minimum number of shares will be delivered to the firm within roughly six weeks. Any additional shares will be delivered to Applera over the following six months.
The purchase is expected to dilute ABI earnings per share for the first quarter by approximately $.01. However, it is expected to be accretive to ABI’s EPS for all of fiscal 2008, said Applera.
Applera announced the share repurchase program in early August. On that same day, the firm said it had hired Morgan Stanley to advise the company as it considers restructuring its ABI and Celera groups, which are currently traded as tracking stocks under the parent firm.

Nanogen Hopes to Raise $20M in Convertible Debt to Fatten Working Capital
Nanogen said last week it hopes to raise $20 million in a registered offering unsecured senior convertible notes and warrants to institutional investors.
The transaction will be overseen by Seven Hills Partners. The investors were not disclosed, though in a statement Nanogen CEO Howard Birndorf called them “solid” and “familiar with both our market place and our long-term prospects.”
Nanogen will use the cash for working capital and general corporate purposes. According to Birndorf, it will provide the company with a “vehicle for long-term continued investment,” and will allow it to “focus on our core objectives of managing the business and improving our EBITDA performance.”
The three-year notes, or debt, will pay investors 6.25 percent in interest each year, and subject to certain conditions, Nanogen may elect to make those payments in either cash or stock
The notes will also provide investors with the right to convert principal into registered shares of Nanogen common stock at $1.27 per share, a 12-percent premium over the closing bid price of Nanogen's stock on Aug. 24.
After 24 months Nanogen will have the right to force conversion of the notes into shares of common stock, depending on the performance of the stock.
As for the warrants, the investors initially received options to buy around 11 million shares of common stock for $1.14 apiece for a term of five years, which may be replaced with additional warrants if the initial options are exercised.

DNA2.0, Operon Biotechnologies Pen Co-Marketing Alliance
Synthetic gene company DNA2.0 and oligonucleotide synthesis shop Operon Biotechnologies said they have formed a co-marketing alliance.
Terms of the deal, announced last month, call for Operon to co-market DNA2.0’s gene-synthesis services, while Operon’s oligos will become the “primary source” of the oligos that go into DNA2.0’s synthetic genes, the companies said.
The companies are betting that the alliance will increase DNA2.0's speed of synthesis and give Operon access to what the firms call “the fastest growing application area for oligonucleotides today.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Leiden University Medical Center Buys a Fluidigm BioMark RT-PCR System
Fluidigm and BIOKE, distributor of Fluidigm systems in the Benelux region, announced last month that Leiden University Medical Center has purchased the company’s BioMark real-time PCR system.
The system was installed in the laboratory of Gert-Jan Van Ommen, head of the Department of Human Genetics and founder of the Leiden Genome Technology Center.
Fluidigm and BIOKE added that Van Ommen’s lab also plans to use BioMark digital arrays, which are crafted to partition a single sample/reagent mixture into 765 assays.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.