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Cellomics, Genospectra, Cyntellect, Invitrogen and Tecan, and Accelrys and SciTegic

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Cellomics Launches Online Resource for HCS

Cellomics announced last week that it has launched “Club HCS,” an online user forum and information resource center for scientists using high-content screening.

The resource is the latest addition to an interactive website launched by Cellomics late last year. According to an official statement, the user forum was created in response to customers’ requests for a forum in which they can “interact with each other, get advice on new technologies, and share experiences.”

The move is the latest in addition to Cellomics’ overall HCS “Center of Excellence” initiative, which, among other items, has previously offered a four-day training class called HC 101.

The Club HCS website can be accessed at http://www.clubHCS.com.


Genospectra Raises $16.4M in Series C Financing

Genospectra said last week that it had closed a $16.4 million series C financing round.

The Fremont, Calif.-based company said it would use the funding to further the development of its “parallel quantitative biology” products, QuantiGene and PAC (photoactivated cellular) probes.

Battelle Ventures of Princeton, NJ, led the financing round, which included new investors Agilent Ventures, 5AM Ventures, Aravis Ventures, Allen & Co., and others. Existing investors included Alex Zaffaroni, Frazier Healthcare Ventures, HBM Bioventures, Novartis Bioventures, BioOne Capital, Bay City Capital, and Affymetrix.

QuantiGene is an assay for fresh cell lysates, tissue samples, or archived paraffin-embedded tissues. It uses branched DNA technology in which a molecular probe has many branches of DNA on one end, and on an oligonucleotide probe molecule designed to bind a specific target on the other. The branched DNA can then be detected with a chemiluminescent probe, producing a highly amplified signal. In August, Genospectra inked a deal with RNAi firm Dharmacon to bundle QuantiGene with Dharmacon’s RNAi technology in a single product offering. (See Inside Bioassays, 8/3/2004)


Cyntellect Wins $1.5M Phase II SBIR Grant for LEAP Technology Applications

Cyntellect has received around $1.5 million in a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research grant to continue developing RNA interference applications on its LEAP platform, the company said today.

Specifically, the money will help the privately held company pay for further development of its LEAP-enabled LaserFect technology for high-efficiency, low-toxicity delivery of siRNA into cells “that are typically refractory to standard transfection techniques,” the company said in a statement. Combining LaserFect with high-throughput cell imaging expands the range of cell types that can be used in RNAi studies, reduces toxicity associated with other techniques, and provides integrated cell-based assay development and readout capabilities, Cyntellect said.

The award comes 10 months after Cyntellect won $500,000 in a Phase II SBIR grant to develop the laser-based transfection technology, and the fifth the company has received since July 2003, RNAi News, Inside Bioassays’ sister publication, reported in November.


Invitrogen and Tecan Ink Product Development Agreement

Invitrogen and Tecan will develop and promote applications of Invitrogen’s research kits on Tecan’s instruments for a wide variety of biology and drug discovery applications, including nucleic acid preparation, microarray applications, and cell-based assays, the companies said last week.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will combine Invitrogen’s products, which include gene expression and high-throughput screening reagents, on Tecan’s Freedom EVO series of automated instrumentation platforms, multimode detection devices, and microarray systems. Tecan also markets the Ultra Evolution detection platform, a microplate detection system for conducting high-throughput screening assays.

Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.


Accelrys to Acquire SciTegic for $21.5M in Cash and Stock

Accelrys plans to acquire SciTegic, a provider of workflow software for research, for about $21.5 million in cash and stock, the company said last week.

San Diego-based SciTegic will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Accelrys, which plans to incorporate SciTegic’s Pipeline Pilot software into its portfolio.

Shareholders of SciTegic will receive $12.25 million of cash and approximately one million shares of Accelrys common stock in exchange for their SciTegic shares at closing, and about 300,000 additional Accelrys shares over the next two years. The acquisition is subject to approval by SciTegic shareholders and is expected to close this month.

The Scan

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.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

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.