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ABI, PerkinElmer, Euroscreen, Beckman Coulter

ABI Next Deal-Maker in Scramble for Cell-Based Assay Tools?
Applied Biosystems, which diversified its portfolio last year by acquiring Ambion's research products division for $273 million and Agencourt Personal Genomics from Beckman Coulter for $120 million, intends to continue to look for acquisitions in 2007, Applera CEO Tony White told investors at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, held in San Francisco this week.
As reported by BioCommerce Week, a CBA News sister publication, White noted that the firm does not have a strong presence in cell analysis, and intends to change that in the future through internal and external efforts.
However, further pressed during the company’s breakout session whether a cell-analysis instrument business would be a priority for ABI, White said that was not necessarily the case.
ABI’s currently offers the 8200 Cellular Detection system, Tropix chemiluminescent reagents, and FMAT Blue chemokine reagents. ABI has been eyeing an expansion of its cellular analysis tools, among other research tools, since the formation of an advanced research and technology “incubator” group in 2004 (see CBA News, 10/3/2005).

PerkinElmer Completes Acquisition of Euroscreen Products, Evotec Tech
PerkinElmer this week said it has completed a €14 million ($18.1 million) acquisition of Euroscreen's Products subsidiary, and a $30.5 million purchase of Evotec Technologies.
Euroscreen will transfer to PerkinElmer its portfolio of GPCR screening tools and its exclusive global license to the aequorin technology, sold under the brand name AequoScreen. The companies originally announced the intended sale in December, but did not disclose financial details at that time.
Euroscreen, based in Brussels, Belgium, retains its rights to the use of all Euroscreen Products' GPCR cell lines, membranes, and AequoScreen technology for future use in its research and custom services businesses, the company said.
Evotec Technologies' product portfolio includes the Opera high-content screening platform, cell manipulation and sorting systems, image-capture and cell-analysis software, and ultra-high-throughput screening instrumentation.

Beckman Coulter to Shutter, Relocate Palo Alto Plant to Indianapolis in '08
Beckman Coulter will shutter and relocate its plant in Palo Alto, Calif., by the end of 2008 as part of a cost-cutting strategy, the company said this week.
Beckman said it will relocate the assets from the facility to the Indianapolis area, where the company currently houses other discovery and automation products.
The Palo Alto plant, which employs 220 staffers, develops and manufactures centrifuges for the company’s Discovery and Automation segment. It was not immediately clear whether there will be layoffs.
Pam Miller, supply chain vice president, said the move to Indianapolis will allow the company to “aggressively manage our costs” and take “a longer-term view of work force planning.”
The company said moving the facility to Indiana will lower its operational costs because of the “favorable local business environment.” Also, the location will enhance the company’s presence in the region and enable Beckman to take advantage of the state’s efforts to “focus on life sciences and advanced manufacturing.”
Miller said the decision to leave Palo Alto was difficult because of the “excellent” staff and the company’s “long history in the area.”

The Scan

mRNA-Based Vaccine on the Way in China

China may soon have its own mRNA-based vaccine, according to Nature News.

Arranged Killing, Fraud Alleged by Prosecutors

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors allege that the co-founder of a biotech arranged to have a business associate who threatened to expose him as a fraud killed.

Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

The New York Times looks back at the 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their CRISPR paper.

PNAS Papers on Blue Cone Monochromacy Structural Variants, HIV-1 Mutant, T-ALL

In PNAS this week: structural variants linked to blue cone monochromacy, HIV-1 variants affecting the matrix protein p17, and more.