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Cellular Genomics, Cell Signaling Technology and AstraZeneca, Australia-based Stem Cell Sciences and National Stem Cell Centre, Athersys and JDRF, RheoGene and New England Biolabs, and Applied Imaging


Cellular Genomics Raises $34.9M in Series C

Cellular Genomics said this week it has raised $34.9 million in a Series C private equity financing round.

The Branford, Conn.-based company, which applies its chemical genetics platform for in-house drug discovery and in collaborations, said it plans to use the funding to advance the in-house programs into the clinic.

In this round, previous investors Coastview Capital and Connecticut Innovations were joined by new investors CDP Capital, RiverVest Venture Partners, and Toucan Capital.

Cell Signaling Technology to Profile AstraZeneca Compounds

Cell Signaling Technology said on June 7 that it has signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to discover biomarkers of protein tyrosine kinase target inhibition.

Under the terms of the collaboration, CST will study select compounds provided by AstraZeneca to look for phosphorylation profiles of cellular protein tyrosine kinases that indicate target inhibition. Protein kinases are key targets in cellular and biochemical assays for drug discovery.

The Global Phospho-Signature platform, according to CST, is a patent-pending method that combines immunoaffinity purification and mass spectroscopy to determine cellular protein tyrosine kinase phosphorylation profiles.

Earlier this month, CST signed a joint marketing and assay validation agreement with LI-COR Biosciences that will see CST’s phospho-specific antibodies enabling assays for kinases and cell signaling on the LI-COR Odyssey imaging platform (see page 1 in this issue for more details.)

New Stem Cells to be Made Available via Australian Collaboration

Steve Bracks, the Victorian Premier, announced last week at BIO2004 in San Francisco that new stem cell lines will soon be made available freely to researchers, thanks to a collaboration between Melbourne, Australia-based Stem Cell Sciences and Australia’s National Stem Cell Centre.

Stem cells have a variety of research applications, among them being templates for cell lines used in cell-based assays for drug screening.

Bracks said that SCS and NSCC would develop new human embryonic stem cell lines that will be derived at the Melbourne IVF Clinic following the issue of a license by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.

The stem cell lines will be made available through the NSCC’s Major National Research Facility Division, Bracks said.

Athersys Wins Diabetes Grant from JDRF

Cleveland, Ohio-based Athersys announced today that it has received a grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to use its protein expression and stem cell technology to look for proteins that promote the formation of pancreatic islet cells.

The grant was provided as part of JDRF’s Industry Discovery and Development Partnership Program. William Lehman, executive vice president, corporate development and finance of Athersys, said that the value of the grant was “in the six figures.”

Athersys will use its RAGE protein expression technology with its MAPC adult stem cell technology to identify, isolate, and characterize proteins that cause the differentiation of stem cells into pancreatic islet cells.

Athersys has developed RAGE and GECKO — which stands for genome-wide cell-based knockout technology — for use in drug target validation and therapeutic development applications.

RheoGene Licenses Products to New England Biolabs

RheoGene, of Norristown, Pa., said on June 8 that it has granted a worldwide development and distribution license to New England Biolabs regarding research kits and products based on RheoGene’s RheoSwitch inducible gene regulation technology.

According to an official company statement, the agreement also grants NEB non-exclusive rights to develop novel combination products for the research market incorporating the RheoSwitch technology.

RheoSwitch technology regulates the timing and level of transgene expression in eukaryotic cells, and is ideal for producing “difficult-to-express” and cyototoxic proteins, the company said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Applied Imaging Opens New Headquarters

Applied Imaging last week announced the opening of its new corporate headquarters in San Jose, Calif.

The new 24,000 sq. ft. facility will house all corporate functions, as well as manufacturing and warehouse facilities. The company was previously based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Applied Imaging manufactures automated imaging systems for genetics and pathology laboratories, including a system for rare cell detection.


The Scan

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.

Study Reviews Family, Provider Responses to Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing Follow-up

Investigators identified in the European Journal of Human Genetics variable follow-up practices after rapid whole-genome sequencing.

BMI-Related Variants Show Age-Related Stability in UK Biobank Participants

Researchers followed body mass index variant stability with genomic structural equation modeling and genome-wide association studies of 40- to 72-year olds in PLOS Genetics.

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.