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British Midlands Development Corporation, University of Nottingham Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering, and Modeling Center, Corning, Invitrogen, Applied Biosystems

British Midlands Opens Stem Cell Center at U of Nottingham
British Midlands Development Corporation this week announced the opening of the University of Nottingham's Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering, and Modeling Center, dubbed STEM.
The new unit is part of the university's $50 million Center for Biomolecular Sciences, which opened last year.
The STEM program has attracted $8 million of funding from research councils to support 70 researchers specializing in cell and molecular biology, tissue engineering, and mathematical modeling.
One line of research at the center involves turning embryonic stem cells into cardiomyocytes. Chris Denning, a lecturer in medicine and health sciences at the University of Nottingham, is using a heart-specific gene to separate cardiomyocytes from unwanted cell types. One of the most important applications of the research is in screening new drugs or drug candidates for cardiotoxicity.

Corning Completes Two Large HT Screens
Corning has completed two independent high-throughput, label-free screens that are believed to be the largest label-free screens publicly announced to date, the company said this week.
Scientists from two undisclosed pharmaceutical companies each screened 100,000 drug candidates in high throughput using the label-free Corning Epic system, the company said.
Corning's Epic system uses patented optical biosensor technology to study biochemical and cell-based targets. The system was launched in 2006.

Invitrogen to Acquire Applied Biosystems for $6.7B
Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems announced this week that Invitrogen will acquire all of the outstanding shares of ABI in a cash and stock deal valued at $6.7 billion.
The acquisition combines Invitrogen’s portfolio of reagents and low-cost instruments focused on the molecular and cell biology and protein research markets with ABI’s vast array of consumables and instruments for applications such as DNA sequencing, proteomics, RNAi, gene expression, and applied testing.
The combined company, which will retain the Applied Biosystems name but will be based at Invitrogen’s headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., will have approximately $3.5 billion in revenue, of which roughly 70 percent will come from consumables and services.
Invitrogen Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier and ABI President and COO Mark Stevenson will hold the same roles in the combined company. The board of directors will include nine current Invitrogen board members and three ABI board members, though the firms did not disclose the names of those directors.
The combined firm will boast a sales and service force of approximately 3,000 employees and have customers in more than 100 countries.
Under terms of the deal, ABI shareholders will receive $38 for each share they own in the form of Invitrogen stock and cash, with cash accounting for 45 percent of the split. The purchase price represents a 12 percent premium to ABI’s average closing price for the previous 30 trading days.

The firms expect the transaction to close in the fall, pending regulatory and shareholder approval.

The Scan

Team Tracks Down Potential Blood Plasma Markers Linked to Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Researchers in BMC Genomics found 10 differentially expressed proteins or metabolites that marked atrial fibrillation with heart failure cases.

Study Points to Synonymous Mutation Effects on E. Coli Enzyme Activity

Researchers in Nature Chemistry saw signs of enzyme activity shifts in the presence of synonymous mutations in a multiscale modeling analysis of three Escherichia coli genes.

Team Outlines Paternal Sample-Free Single-Gene Approach for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening

With data for nearly 9,200 pregnant individuals, researchers in Genetics in Medicine demonstrate the feasibility of their carrier screening and reflex single-gene non-invasive prenatal screening approach.

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.