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In Brief This Week: BD; RainDance Technologies; Shimadzu; Complete Genomics, Ingenuity Systems; Gen9; Gentris; ACGT; BioFortuna

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Becton Dickinson said this week it has declared a quarterly dividend of $45 per share, payable on Sept. 28 to shareholders of record on Sept. 7. The indicated annual dividend rate is $1.80 per share.

Separately, BD announced a new collaboration with the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to improve healthcare and laboratory systems in the developing world. The five-year collaboration called Labs for Life and valued at $20 million builds on a previous collaboration between the two partners that focused on overall laboratory systems and services in sub-Saharan African nations severely affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. The new deal will include Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Mozambique, as well as India. It will focus on improving lab services to attain accreditation; training of personnel on pathology, forecasting, and optimization; development of curriculum and training on equipment maintenance, and other things.

RainDance Technologies has begun accepting samples from participants of the RainDrop Digital PCR First Access Program. The RainDrop system generates up to 10 million picoliter-sized droplets per sample, or 500 to 1,000 times more data points than legacy digital PCR offerings. Commercial delivery of the system will start later this year.

Goldman Sachs has initiated coverage of Shimadzu with a Neutral rating and a 12-month target price of Y740 ($9.46). Analyst Issac Ro said that measuring instruments are the company's main growth dirvers and projects steady growth in separation/analysis systems, including mass spectrometers "as countries invest more in R&D and food safety awareness grows and/or regulations tighten."

Complete Genomics will bundle Ingenuity Systems' Ingenuity Variant Analysis application with its research whole-genome sequencing services. The bundled solution will allow scientists to analyze and interpret biologically relevant genetic variations. As part of the agreement between the companies, Complete's customers using Ingenuity Variant Analysis will have access to the Wellderly whole-genome sequence dataset being developed in collaboration with Scripps Health.

Gen9 has underwritten the first annual G-Prize to celebrate and support innovation in synthetic biology. The contest is being launched to encourage creative and innovative methods for using synthetic DNA constructs to advance industries, such as chemical and enzyme production, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and data storage. The G-Prize is open to researchers in academic or public-benefit organizations only. Four winners will be chosen in the following categories — first prize (500GeneBits DNA constructs, up to 500kb); second prize (300 GeneBits, up to 300kb; and two awards for third prize (100 GeneBits, up to 100kb to two teams). The total market value of the prizes is in excess of $500,000.

Gentris is collaborating with a "major pharmaceutical company" to test the long-term stability of DNA in whole blood samples that have been stored for five to 10 years. The study will research into the optimal, long-terms storage of clinical samples to ensure adequate DNA integrity for pharmacogenomics testing in the future. The collaboration will be carried out in three phases and will investigate the effects of multiple freeze-thaw cycles on DNA from whole blood, both fresh and archived.

Contract research organization ACGT announced its new accelerated DNA sequencing turnaround time exclusively to Chicago area researchers. With "Rush" services, DNA samples prepared and ready for pickup in the afternoon will be collected and processed the same day, with sequencing data available the following morning.

UK molecular diagnostics firm Biofortuna is launching a contract development and production service. Services that will be available range from the conversion of a currently available PCR test through to the management of a full development and production project.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.