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In Brief This Week: Gen-Probe, Pacific Biosciences; OpGen; Danaher; CEPMED; Bioke; Molecular Response; Biodesix

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Gen-Probe disclosed in its annual 2011 earnings document that it has lost almost $41 million in its investment in Pacific Biosciences as of the end of 2011.

In 2010, Gen-Probe made a $50 million investment in the Menlo Park, Calif.-based next-generation sequencing firm in the form of preferred stock. When PacBio went public in October, 2010 that stock was converted into common stock, and as a result of a drop in PacBio's stock price, the value of Gen-Probe's investment has plummeted.

During Gen-Probe's third-quarter earnings release, it said that it took a $39.5 million non-cash write-down in the value of its PacBio investment. "As of December 31, 2011, our investment in Pacific Biosciences had a value of $9.2 million," Gen-Probe said in its Form 10-K filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.


Whole-genome analysis firm OpGen announced this week its participation in the European Union's Patho-NGen-Trace research program to make next-generation sequencing a standard routine tool for medical and bio-industrial applications.

The Gaithersburg, Md., firm's Whole Genome Mapping technology will be used with NGS to generate more accurate sequences of model pathogens. The technology will also be used to characterize genetic biomarkers for drug resistance, virulence and whole genome evolution, it said.


Danaher's board has approved a regular quarter dividend of $.025 per share payable on April 27 to shareholders of record on March 30.


The Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine in Montreal launched a web-based personalized medicine portal for Canadians. DNA Direct by Medco's Genomic Medicine Network is partnering with CEPMED in the initiative.

The portal will provide information and decision-making tools concerning genetic tests to patients so that they can more about such tests and to foster better communication with their healthcare providers, CEPMED said. The portal provides information about access to specific genetic tests in each province.


Bioké said it has entered an exclusive deal to SensoQuest's thermocyclers in the Benelux countries. Bioké said that it will now offer an extensive product portfolio for PCR applications by combining products from 4titude, Macherey-Nagel, and New England Biolabs.


Molecular Response announced an agreement with OncoMed Pharmaceuticals to develop patient-derived tumor xenografts using Molecular Response's "living" cell bank of primary tumor cells. The deal, whose terms were not disclosed, will deliver molecularly characterized patient-derived tumor xenograft models for multiple cancer indications "with full utilization of Molecular Response's highly optimized pre-screening and characterization methodologies," Molecular Response said.

As a result, OncoMed will be able to expand its bank of proprietary xenograft models that have been derived from freshly resected human cancers based on the molecular profile of the tumors. The deal also complements the company's existing biomarker and patient selection efforts.


Biodesix has relocated its corporate headquarters to Boulder, Colo., from Broomfield, Colo. Its R&D locations and CLIA laboratory remain at their current locations.


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

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