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Cellexus, MDS, Gentronix, LSG Corporation, BioTek, Gyrasol, Stemcell Technologies

Cellexus Ltd. Acquires Cellexus Biosystems IP, Assets
The investors in Cellexus Ltd. said this week that they have acquired the assets of Cellexus Biosystems Plc and have formed a new management team aimed at bringing the firm’s products to market.
Cellexus makes single-use bioreactors and cell-based technologies for biopharmaceutical research and production. The firm said that since the asset acquisition it has “made significant design and operational improvements to the CellMaker bioreactor systems.”
It also intends to launch a range of new products over the coming months including the CellMaker Regular for culture of E. coli and Pichia cells and the CellMaker PLUS for culture of all cells including mammalian and insect. 
The Cambridgeshire, UK-based company said that it made the purchase in April, but did not disclose it until this week.

MDS' Q3 Revenues Drop 4 Percent as Mass Spec Shipments Decline
MDS this week reported that its third-quarter revenues fell 4 percent year over year, and the firm swung to a loss from a profit on restructuring charges.
The Toronto-based firm brought in total revenues of $321 million for the three-month period ended July 31, compared to revenues of $333 million in the comparable period of 2007.
Sales for the firm’s MDS Analytical Technologies segment declined 9 percent to $104 million from $114 million, due to lower shipments of mass spectrometers to its joint venture partner, Applied Biosystems. MDS said that despite this decrease in shipments, end-user revenue from mass specs grew 5 percent.
The MDS Pharma Services segment had 1 percent revenue growth to $145 million from $143 million year over year. Foreign exchange rates contributed $6 million to that segment’s revenue. MDS is in the process of restructuring the Pharma Services segment, which includes reducing headcount and closing several offices. As part of that effort, the unit took $8 million in restructuring charges during the quarter, and MDS anticipates a further $6 million to $8 million of such charges during the fourth quarter.
MDS said in July that it planned to lay off 210 employees in a restructuring effort aimed at improving profitability in its MDS Pharma Services and MDS Analytical Technologies business units.
MDS Nordion’s revenue fell 5 percent to $72 million from $76 million.
MDS reported a net loss of $10 million, or $.08 per share, for the third quarter, compared to a profit of $7 million, or $.05 per share, for Q3 of 2007. This year’s results include an $11 million asset impairment charge and a $10 million restructuring charge. Last year’s results included a restructuring charge of $3 million.
The firm’s R&D expenses declined 5 percent to $19 million from $20 million year over year, and its SG&A costs also fell 5 percent to $63 million from $66 million.
MDS finished the quarter with $130 million in cash and cash equivalents.
MDS said that as a result of “slower than expected ramp up of revenue at MDS Pharma Services, related to the delay in the start of certain customer studies,” it has lowered its 2008 revenue guidance to a range of between $1.33 billion and $1.35 billion compared to its earlier forecast of between $1.35 billion and $1.4 billion.

Gentronix Signed Deal With Japan-based LSG
Gentronix announced this week that it has signed an agreement with LSG Corporation. The deal allows Gentronix’ GreenScreen HC human cell-based genotoxicity assays to be introduced across Japan.
LSG is a subsidiary of Japanese contract research organization EPS Company.

BioTek, Gyrasol Ink Co-marketing Pact
BioTek Instruments has struck a co-marketing agreement with the specialty assay developer Gyrasol, under which the companies will jointly promote an assay platform with a microplate reader, BioTek said this week.
Under the agreement, the companies will promote the Gyrasol Sensor, a fluorescence-based assay platform, on BioTek’s Synergy 4 Hybrid microplate reader.
The Gyrasol Sensor is used in screening for kinases and phosphatases in a homogeneous format, and the BioTek microplate reader combines filter-based and monochromator-based fluorescence detection in one unit, BioTek said. The Synergy microplate reader offers multi-detection for “an unlimited number of current and future microplate-based assays,” the company said.
Further terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

Stemcell Technologies Opens German Sales Office
Stemcell Technologies announced this week the opening of a new sales office on Sept. 1 in Köln, Germany, providing direct service to Germany and Austria.
Stemcell's sales office in Köln will work in conjunction with its European distribution center, located in Grenoble, France.
Direct service will provide customers with access to in-house scientists and technical support personnel. A complete inventory of products is maintained at the European distribution center, which offers next-day priority shipping.

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.