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Bryce Chicoyne, Susan Lucinski, Vijay Chandru, Jean-Francois Formela, Thermo, ABI, Affy, Bio-Rad, Institut Pasteur, Vita Genomics, Transgenomic

People

Harvard Bioscience CFO Bryce Chicoyne and COO Susan Lucinski have entered into one-year employment agreements, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchnage Commission. Chicoyne will receive a base annual salary of $175,000, while Lucinski will receive $235,000.


Vijay Chandru, the founder of Strand Genomics, was wounded when a gunman opened fire on a gathering of scientists at a conference at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, last week.

According to a report in the Times of India, the 52-year-old Chandru, a professor at IIS, sustained bullet injuries in the shoulder and leg from the attack. The report stated that Chandru was declared "out of danger" following surgery.


DeCode Genetics announced last week that Jean-Francois Formela has resigned from its board of directors.

Formela, a senior partner at Atlas Venture, has served on DeCode's board since the formation of the company in 1996. He resigned to devote his time to a new Atlas fund, the company said.

Atlas was among a group of venture firms that helped finance DeCode's start.

BioCommerce Briefs

Thermo Downgraded Despite Growth Guidance

Investment bank Needham & Co. recently downgraded its outlook for Thermo Electron despite the revenue growth expected by the company in 2006.

Needham cut Thermo Electron's shares to 'buy' from 'strong buy.'

However, investment bank Leerink Swann & Company initiated coverage of Thermo Electron with an 'outperform' rating. Senior biotechnology analyst John Sullivan cited Thermo Electron's global reach, new products, strong management, and execution as reasons for the rating.

Thermo expects total revenue for 2006 to grow 7 percent, to between $2.78 billion and $2.83 billion. According to Reuters Estimates, the company's guidance misses Wall Street's sales expectations of $2.89 billion.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company forecast 2006 earnings per share of $1.75 to $1.80 before subtracting $.10 for stock option expensing during the year.

Marjin Dekkers, president and CEO, said the company expects "accelerated expansion" of its operating margins and that it will improve "well above 100 basis points for the year."

The guidance does not reflect any acquisitions or divestures the company may complete in 2006, but it does reflect the favorable impact from acquisitions completed in 2005 and expected organic growth of 4 percent to 5 percent, Thermo Electron said.

The company also affirmed its expected 2005 adjusted earnings guidance of $1.51 to $1.54 per share.


ABI Licenses Affy's Microarray Patents

Applied Biosystems has licensed "a number" of Affymetrix patents "related to the manufacture, sale, and use of microarrays for gene expression analysis," the companies announced recently.

Applera, the parent company of Applied Biosystems, has taken a non-exclusive, worldwide license to the patents. ABI said that it will use the licenses to expand its Expression Array system and to enable customers "to use that system for gene expression, research and development purposes."

The companies did not disclose further details of the licensing agreement.


Bio-Rad, Institut Pasteur Extend Alliance Through End of Decade

Bio-Rad Laboratories and the Institut Pasteur have extended their cooperation an additional four years, Bio-Rad said this week.

The agreement, signed in Paris last month, gives Bio-Rad exclusive commercialization rights to Pasteur's research developments in the areas of virology, microbiology, physiology, biochemistry, parasitology and mycology.

Norman Schwartz, president of the Hercules, Calif.-based company, said that Institut Pasteur "provides important innovations affecting blood virus testing," and that the institute's research is "closely aligned" with Bio-Rad's goal to supply the healthcare community with diagnostic tools.

Bio-Rad and Pasteur have been collaborating since 1990, the company said.

Financial details of the agreement were not dislosed.


Vita Genomics Licenses Affy's Patents for In Vitro Dx Applications

Affymetrix granted Vita Genomics non-exclusive access to its microarray technology to develop and market in vitro diagnostics, the companies announced jointly last week.

Shanghai GeneCore BioTechnologies, a fully owned subsidiary of Vita Genomics, licensed the technology under the "Powered by Affymetrix" program. The program allows companies to license Affymetrix's microarray products such as the GeneChip System 3000Dx.

Vita Genomics will develop in vitro tests to detect alpha interferon treatment response in patients with HBV and HCV as well as for early onset and allergic asthma in infants and young children.

Vita Genomics will incorporate Affymetrix's arrays into its molecular diagnostic assays.

Financial details were not disclosed.


Transgenomic to Divest Nucleic Acids Business

Transgenomic's board of directors has voted to "either sell or liquidate" its nucleic acids operating segment, the company said in an SEC filing last week.

The move would follow a reorganization of the nucleic acids business early last year that resulted in the layoff of around 60 employees.

Transgenomic's board voted to divest the business on Dec. 22, "after an evaluation of, among other things, short and long-term sales projections for products sold by the nucleic acids operating segment, including estimates of 2006 sales to the operating segment's largest customer."

The company said that it may close its nucleic acids facility in Glasgow, Scotland, in the first quarter of 2006, which would result in costs of around $1 million primarily related to severance payments.

In addition, Transgenomic will record a non-cash impairment charge of between $7 million and $10 million for the nucleic acids operating segment in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The company also decided to terminate its employee stock purchase plan, "based on a determination that the anticipated benefits from the plan were not sufficient to justify the ongoing administrative burden and cost of the plan."

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.