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In Brief This Week: Theradiag; Sigma-Aldrich; Transgenomic; Hologic; CommonMind Consortium; Benaroya Research Institute

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Theradiag said today that it has received the CE Mark for two new biotherapy monitoring kits: tocilizumab and rituximab. Tocilizumab is an immunosuppressive drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, while rituximab is prescribed for treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. The Theradiag kits are sold under the Lisa Tracker brand name.

Sigma-Aldrich said this week that it will pay a quarterly cash dividend to its shareholders of $.215 per share. The dividend is payable on March 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 1.

Transgenomic has reached an agreement with Dogwood Pharmaceuticals to defer a nearly $1.4 million payment that was due to Dogwood on Dec. 31, 2012, until March 31, 2013. The payment is a quarterly installment that is due under a three-year promissory note Transgenomic signed with PGx Health and Clinical Data in late 2010, when Transgenomic acquired the genetic testing business of Clinical Data for approximately $15.4 million.

Dogwood, which is owned by Forest Laboratories, is the successor-in-interest to PGx Health, Transgenomic noted in a filing this week with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hologic said this week that it has entered into separate, privately-negotiated exchange agreements under which it will retire $370 million in aggregate principal of the company's outstanding 2.00 percent Convertible Senior Notes due 2037, which were issued on Dec. 10, 2007, in exchange for its issuance of $370 million in aggregate principal of new 2.00 percent Convertible Senior Notes due 2043.

The new notes mature in 2043 and will pay interest on the original principal amount semiannually at a rate of 2.00 percent per year until Dec. 15, 2013. In addition, the new notes will accrete principal from the date of issuance at a rate of 4.00 percent per year until and including Dec. 15, 2017, and 2.00 percent per year thereafter, said Hologic. The initial conversion price of the new notes is unchanged from the 2007 notes and remains approximately $38.59 per share.

Hologic said it now has $405 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2007 notes outstanding. It also has outstanding $450 million in aggregate principal amount of its 2.00 percent Convertible Exchange Senior Notes due 2037, which were issued on Nov. 23, 2010, and $500 million in aggregate principal amount of its 2.00 percent Convertible Exchange Senior Notes due 2042, which were issued on March 5, 2012.

The CommonMind Consortium has expanded its membership to include five academic groups: the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; the University of Pennsylvania; the National Institute of Mental Health; the University of Pittsburgh; and the University of Texas Southwestern. In addition, two pharmaceutical companies — Takeda Pharmaceuticals and F. Hoffmann-La Roche — and nonprofit group Sage Bionetworks have also joined. The new additions to the founding members include Pitt, UTSW and Roche.

The CommonMind Consortium, which launched in April 2012, is a public-private pre-competitive consortium that brings together disease area expertise, large-scale and well-curated brain sample collections, and data management and analysis expertise to generate and analyze large-scale genomic data from human subjects with neuropsychiatric disease and to make this data and the associated analytical results broadly available to the public.

The Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason has established the T1D Exchange Biobank Operations Center with a $4.4 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. It will coordinate clinical study proposals and sample requests including protocol design, sample procurement, and distribution.

The T1D Exchange consists of a clinic network with access to more than 100,000 patients, a clinic registry with more than 26,000 well-characterized patients, an online community, and a biorepository.

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