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Vicuron, Signature Genomics, Wright State University, University of California, Berkeley, Amersham, BioCrossroads


Vicuron Files Shelf Registration For a Potential Public Offering

King of Prussia, Pa.-based Vicuron last week filed a shelf registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that will permit the company to offer and sell up to $200 million of equity or debt securities in the future.

Vicuron is a biotech company using functional genomics and developing a antifungal agent for which it has filed a new drug application with the US FDA.

Signature Genomics of Spokane, Wash., Gets Seed Funding from Sacred Heart

Signature Genomics Laboratories, a Spokane, Wash.-based startup company, has received undisclosed seed funding from Spokane’s Sacred Heart Medical Center, according to a report last week in the Spokesman-Review newspaper.

The company, founded by Washington State University researchers Bassem Bejjani and Lisa Shaffer, is developing microarray-based technology for diagnostic testing. The two formerly worked at Baylor College of Medicine but moved to Spokane in 2001 to create the firm.

Wright State University Med School Establishes New Center for Genomics

Wright State University of Dayton, Ohio, last week announced the establishment of a new center for genomics research in its school of medicine.

The new center will build on an already-established gene expression laboratory and is funded with $1.5 million in grants from the Kettering Fund and other funds from the US Department of Defense. Steven Berberich, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, will serve as director of the new center, the school said in a statement.

Cal-Berkeley Team Creates Miniature Fluorescence Scanner

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have created a miniature fluorescence microscopy instrument, the school said last week.

The biosensor uses 5 millimeter by 1.5 millimeter chips and an instrument containing microfluidics to create a device that uses fluorescence to determine the presence of specific substances. Details of the research are to be published in the March 1 issue of the journal Sensors and Actuators.

The elements in the system include a laser light source, a holding platform where a sample is placed, a filter that blocks unwanted light and a detector that senses light at specified wavelengths. The researchers used laser “lift-off” techniques to create a miniaturized system.

Amersham Q4 Revenues up for Health and Bioscience Units as GE Merger Approaches

Amersham posted a year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter earnings for both its Amersham Health and Amersham Bioscience business units Tuesday, as part of its preliminary results for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2003.

Amersham posted total sales of £451 million ($859 million) for the fourth quarter of 2003, up from £428 million ($815 million) in 2002.

Revenues for the Amersham Health business unit were £254 million in the fourth quarter of 2003, up from £247 million in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Amersham Biosciences also reported an increase in sales for the quarter. Fourth-quarter 2003 sales were £196 million, compared to £181 million in the year-ago period.

Within the Amersham Biosciences business unit, Protein Separations accounted for £95 million in revenues for the fourth quarter of 2003. Discovery Systems accounted for £101 million in revenues in the fourth quarter.

Amersham had £35 million cash on hand and £27 million in short-term deposits and investments as of Dec. 31, 2003.

The company’s pending acquisition by GE has been cleared by US and European regulatory authorities, and should be completed by early April.

Indiana Consortium Launches Proteomics Center with $3.2M from Lilly

BioCrossroads, a public-private consortium of life science institutions in Indiana, said this week that it has established a protein center of excellence called the Indiana Centers for Applied Protein Sciences (INCAPS).

The center will provide proteomics tools and services — including technology validation, protein analysis services, instrumentation, and technical support — for academic and industry investigators. INCAPS is housed at the Indiana University Emerging Technologies Center in Indianapolis. James Ludwig, head of proteomics programs at Eli Lilly, will serve as the founding CEO of the organization.


The Scan

Latent HIV Found in White Blood Cells of Individuals on Long-Term Treatments

Researchers in Nature Microbiology find HIV genetic material in monocyte white blood cells and in macrophages that differentiated from them in individuals on HIV-suppressive treatment.

Seagull Microbiome Altered by Microplastic Exposure

The overall diversity and the composition at gut microbiome sites appear to coincide with microplastic exposure and ingestion in two wild bird species, according to a new Nature Ecology and Evolution study.

Study Traces Bladder Cancer Risk Contributors in Organ Transplant Recipients

In eLife, genome and transcriptome sequencing reveal mutation signatures, recurrent somatic mutations, and risky virus sequences in bladder cancers occurring in transplant recipients.

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.