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Cellular Dynamics International, Cellomics, National Center for Drug Screening, Guava Technologies, Strategic Research Institute, Sigma-Aldrich, Invitrogen

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Cellular Dynamics International Opens Doors

Cellular Dynamics International, a privately held company engaging in cell-based drug screening, has recently begun construction of laboratory facilities at University Research Park in Madison, Wis., the company said last week.

CDI was founded by James Thomson, Craig January, and Timothy Kamp, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Tactics II Ventures LP, a Wisc.-based venture capital firm.

The company will focus initially on developing and providing stem cell and Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK) cell-based screening services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, it said in a statement.

The company’s screening services will be based on two technologies developed at UW-Madison. The first is the HEK cell-based methods for hERG screening, developed by January. In the future, CDI said, it will use technologies developed by Thomson and Kamp that produces cardiomyocytes for drug screening from human embryonic stem cells.


China’s National Center for Drug Screening Expands Cellomics Collaboration

Cellomics said this week that it has expanded its high-content screening collaboration with the National Center for Drug Screening in Shanghai, China.

First, NCDS has acquired a KineticScan HCS reader, Cellomics said, which it said it will use in conjunction with its existing Cellomics ArrayScan platform. In addition, Cellomics will sponsor a nationwide HCS workshop to be held at the NCDS in Shanghai, between April 4 and 6. This event brings together 60 researchers selected from more than 20 major cities, provinces, and autonomous regions, Cellomics said.

The NCDS, affiliated with the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, began its collaboration with Cellomics in September, when Cellomics installed an ArrayScan 4.0 and provided training and user support (see Inside Bioassays, 9/7/2004).


Guava Announces Technical Paper for Baculovirus Titer Assay

Guava Technologies said last week that it has available a new technical paper describing a flow cytometric-type assay for rapid, accurate determination of baculovirus titers.

The paper discusses the benefits and drawbacks of traditional baculovirus titer methods, which include real-time PCR, end-point dilution, and plaque assays, Guava said. The results of these assays are compared with results obtained using a Guava PCA-96 system.

According to Guava, the comparison showed that the PCA-96 method gave results of equal or greater accuracy than the traditional methods, and allowed accurate virus titer determination of multiple conditions in less than 24 hours, as opposed to the four days required for plaque assays.


Strategic Research Institute to Hold Ion Channel Drug Targets Meeting

The Strategic Research Institute said this week that it will hold its 5th Annual Ion Channels in Drug Discovery and Development Conference, July 19-20 in Philadelphia.

According to SRI, scientists from the pharmaceutical industry and academia will hail from organizations such as Pfizer, J&J Research and Development, Scion Pharmaceuticals, Merck, Abbott, Wyeth, Molecular Devices, Schering, Chantest, Sophion, and the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

For agenda and registration, interested parties should go to http://www.srinstitute.com/cs338.


Sigma-Aldrich Completes Proligo Acquisition

Sigma-Aldrich announced last week that it has completed its acquisition of DNA and RNA maker Proligo from Degussa.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. According to Sigma-Aldrich, Proligo had 2004 sales of about $40 million.

Sigma-Aldrich first announced its intent to acquire Proligo in February.


Invitrogen Closes $391M Dynal Acquisition

Invitrogen closed its acquisition of privately held Dynal Biotech in a deal valued at approximately $391 million, the company said last week.

The deal gives Invitrogen Dynal’s Dynabeads magnetic separation-technology business and its HLA diagnostics segment.

Invitrogen bought Dynal, which has operations in China, from majority owner Nordic Capital of Sweden. The firm supplies magnetic particles to diagnostics manufacturers for use in high-throughput automated immunoassays as well as other diagnostic instrument systems. Nordic and Ratos purchased Dynal for $190 million in 2001.

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.