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In Brief This Week: PerkinElmer; Becton Dickinson; Sigma-Aldrich; Cepheid; Pathway Genomics; Accelrys; Pressure Biosciences; Cellular Dynamics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Investment bank Mizuho Securities USA has upgraded its ratings on PerkinElmer and Becton Dickinson to Outperform from Neutral.

Analyst Peter Lawson raised PerkinElmer's rating and placed a $25 price target on its stock. He said the firm has less exposure to high-risk end markets, such as academic, pharma, and government, compared to its peers. He also said that business mix is more insulated from a cyclical downturn.

Lawson also raised BD's rating and upped his price target on the stock to $87 from $85. He said that BD also has a lower exposure to "troubled" end markets, and it has a stable track record of organic growth, even during previous economic downturns.

Sigma-Aldrich's board of directors this week declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.18 per share. The dividend is payable on Sept. 15 to shareholders of record on Sept. 1.

Cepheid said this week that its Xpert BCR-ABL Monitor test has received the CE IVD Mark. The new test, which detects the BCR-ABL mRNA transcript in the peripheral blood of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia in two hours, now reports results to the International Scale, the firm said.

Pathway Genomics this week said that its genetic testing lab has received accreditation from the College of American Pathologists.

Acclerys plans to eliminate between 10 and 15 jobs as part of a streamlining effort, it disclosed in its second-quarter earnings document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The company said the reduction is "in connection with the streamlining of our operations and integrating our content business." As a result, the company incurred total severance charges of about $500,000 for the second quarter, with $400,000 of that already paid and $100,000 to be paid before the end of the year.

Pressure Biosciences received a loan of $200,000 from existing investor in the firm, Clayton Struve. The loan was made via a promissory note with a maturity date of Nov. 3, 2011. The interest rate on the note is 20 percent per annum. In connection with the loan, Pressure Bio issue to Struve a warrant to purchase 26,315 shares of the firm's common stock at an exercise price of $.76 per share, expiring on Aug. 3, 2014.

Cellular Dynamics has launched a research grant program, under which it will provide winners with its iCell Cardiomyocites. It said the program is part of the iCell Institute, a resource sponsored by Cellular Dynamics that facilitates sharing of induced pluripotent stem cell knowledge. The application deadline for the grants is Sept. 12. More information is available on Cellular Dyanmics' website.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.