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BioForce Nanoscience, University Pierre & Marie Curie, Centre National de Recheche Scientifique, Sigma-Aldrich, AlphaGenix, Cellectricon, PerkinElmer, Stem Cell Sciences, CHDI Foundation

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BioForce to Collaborate With French Researchers to Develop Neural Cell Assays
 
BioForce Nanosciences announced this week that it has signed a scientific collaboration agreement with the University Pierre & Marie Curie and Centre National de Recheche Scientifique in Paris, France. Under the terms of this agreement, researchers from the laboratory of Fatiha Nothias at UPMC will collaborate with BioForce to develop technologies, protocols, and products related to neural cell-based assays.
 
These proprietary assays will be created using the Nano eNabler molecular printer from BioForce, and they will allow scientists to study the structure, function, and microenvironments of neural cells. Neural cell-based assays hold particular promise as a platform for evaluating the therapeutic potential of new drug compounds and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and neural trauma.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich to be Exclusive Supplier of AlphaGenix Stem Cell Tools
 
Sigma-Aldrich this week announced a distribution agreement with AlphaGenix under which it will be the exclusive supplier of AlphaGenix-developed antibodies and research tools for the fields of regenerative medicine and stem cell biology.
 
This partnership will further augment Sigma-Aldrich's growing product portfolio of life science tools for stem cell research. The new product offerings include antibodies to stem cell markers; tools for 3D stem cell culture systems, such as MaxGel, a human derived extracellular matrix and its components; and HydroMatrix, a synthetic peptide scaffold.
 
According to the manufacturer, both MaxGel and HydroMatrix promote cell growth and migration, and have been shown to support the proliferation and enhance the function of many cell types, including neural stem cells, neurons, glia, astrocytes, fibroblasts, and keratinocytes.
 

 
Cellectricon Delivers Three HT Systems to US Biotech Shop
 
Cellectricon announced this week that it has received an order for three Cellaxess HT systems from an undisclosed US biotech firm.
 
Cellaxess HT is an automated workstation for high-throughput RNAi screening on biologically relevant cell types, the company said. The system allows reagent-free delivery of siRNA and cDNA to a wide range of primary cells and cell lines at a throughput of 50,000 wells per day.  
 

 
PerkinElmer to Realign Business Groups to Focus on Human, Environmental Health
 
PerkinElmer announced this week that it will realign its business units as of Jan. 1, 2009, to focus on human and environmental health.
 
PerkinElmer’s operations are currently organized into two main divisions: Life and Analytical Sciences and Optoelectronics. Under the new model, the company’s operations will be split between two new businesses: Human Health and Environmental Health.
 
The Human Health business will develop diagnostics, tools, and applications for biomedical research and drug discovery. This business will include the company’s Genetic Screening, Bio-discovery, and Medical Imaging operating units. Robert Friel, PerkinElmer’s president and CEO, will lead the Human Health business on an interim basis.
 
The Environmental Health business will be focused on product safety and energy efficiency. It will include the company’s Analytical Sciences, Laboratory Services, and Detection and Illumination (formerly known as Sensors and Specialty Lighting) operating units. John Roush, who currently leads the company’s Optoelectronics business, will lead this division.
 
In line with the restructuring, PerkinElmer said it has placed “a portion” of its specialty lighting business, which includes xenon flashtubes, ceramic xenon light sources, intense pulsed light, laser pump sources, and LEDs, under strategic review.
 
The company said that the businesses under review are expected to generate around $90 million in revenue for 2008.
 
PerkinElmer does not break out revenues for its product lines, but the Optoelectronics segment that houses the specialty lighting business generated total sales of $460.1 million in fiscal 2007, while the company's total revenues for the year were $1.79 billion.
 

 
Stem Cell Sciences to Standardize CHDI Mouse Stem Cell Lines; Licenses Technology to Animal Model Firm
 
Stem Cell Sciences announced this week that it has entered into an agreement with the CHDI Foundation to support the standardization of CHDI's novel mouse embryonic stem cell lines.
 
Under the terms of the service agreement, SCS will create standard culture conditions for CHDI's mouse ES cell lines using its serum-free and feeder-free ESGRO Complete media. Initially, SCS will convert three cell lines to the standardized culture conditions and will monitor their viability and stability during this process.
 
If successful, the company may have the opportunity to apply its proprietary technologies across the entire range of CHDI's mouse ES cell lines, and provide the foundation and researchers with media and reagents for future programs.
 
Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
 
The company also announced this week that it has licensed its Internal Ribosome Entry Site technology to an undisclosed provider of genetically modified rat and mouse models for medical and pharmaceutical research.
 
Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, which is non-exclusive and retroactive, the partner will gain access to the IRES technology for use in its own research and development activities. SCS will receive $750,000 over six years plus royalties. 
 
SCS’ IRES technology allows researchers to monitor the activity of a particular gene of interest in living cells or tissues without blocking the normal function of the gene. In particular, IRES can be used to evaluate the success of gene knockouts or knockins in stem cells.

The Scan

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

The Associated Press says Moderna is expanding its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine study to included additional children and may include even younger children.

PNAS Papers on Rat Clues to Human Migration, Thyroid Cancer, PolyG-DS

In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.