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In Brief This Week: Sigma-Aldrich; Agilent; WaferGen; ACMG; RainDance, Ambry; Clarient, HistoRx; Waters

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sigma-Aldrich's restructuring plan, which began in the fourth quarter of 2009, has included 240 job cuts as of the end of September 2011, the firm said in its most recent quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the firm, the "exit activities" were intended to reduce its cost structure and "better align its global manufacturing and distribution footprint." Sigma-Aldrich said the cuts are "substantially complete" and "all restructuring expenses have substantially been incurred."

Agilent Technologies has entered into a five-year, $400 million unsecured credit facility with JPMorgan Chase Bank, the firm said in a filing with the SEC. Under the agreement, which expires Oct. 16, 2016, the firm may increase commitments under the facility up to $300 million in aggregate.

Investment bank Rodman & Renshaw this week dropped coverage of WaferGen Biosystems to "better allocate resources within our coverage universe." WaferGen, which makes the SmartChip real-time PCR platform, said last week that its CEO and President Alnoor Shivji had resigned from both of those positions as part of a transition to a new role as a consultant to the company. However, he will remain as chairman.

The American College of Medical Genetics will change its name to the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, effective March 2012. The association said the change "recognizes the increasingly central role of medical genomics and its importance alongside genetics in fulfilling the mission of the ACMG."

RainDance Technologies and Ambry Genetics said this week that they have collaborated to develop and launch a targeted sequencing panel to screen genes for drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion research. The new panel enables researchers to simultaneously interrogate 242 known pharmacogenomics genes using next-generation sequencing systems.

GE Healthcare's Clarient has inked a deal to provide services using HistoRx's Aqua technology at its CLIA lab. The technology will be used to provide pharmaceutical clients with protein biomarker analysis.

Waters said this week that the laboratory of Ganesh Anand at the National University of Singapore has joined its Centers of Innovation Program

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

The Scan

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.

Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

Researchers eBioMedicine track down potential vaccine targets with transposon sequencing on mutant bacteria causing neonatal meningitis in mouse models of the disease.

Multiple Myeloma Progression Influenced by Immune Microenvironment Expression

Researchers in NPJ Genomic Medicine compare RNA sequencing profiles of 102,207 individual cells in bone marrow samples from 18 individuals with rapid or non-progressing multiple myeloma.

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.