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Cellumen, RheoGene, Hurel, J&J, Evotec, Alnylam, MWG Biotech, Definiens, Chip-Man, Molecular Devices


Cellumen and RheoGene Enter Into Non-Exclusive Licensing Deal

Cellumen and RheoGene announced recently that they have entered into a non-exclusive commercial licensing agreement under which Cellumen will use RheoGene's RheoSwitch inducible gene regulation technology to develop cell biology screening products.

The products will include reagents for high content screening and stable cell lines. In addition, the companies will collaborate on the development and validation of mammalian cell lines to be used in Cellumen's cell biology profiling assays.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hurel Announces J&J Collaboration for Cell-Based Assay Tech

Startup biotech Hurel said recently that it has entered into a one-year research and development collaboration with Johnson & Johnson to validate Hurel's microfluidic in vivo surrogate cell-based assay platform and ready the product for release.

Under the terms of the agreement, J&J will provide scientific guidance and funding to Hurel.

Hurel said that it is currently holding discussions with several additional pharmaceutical and consumer product firms that have expressed interest in the collaboration.

CBA News reported in May that Hurel and J&J had agreed to collaborate to validate Hurel's platform (see CBA News, 5/30/2005). The technology, as yet unnamed, is a coverslip-sized biochip with individual compartments fluidically interconnected and designed to contain various cell, tissue, and organ cultures, against which small molecules might be tested for efficacy, toxicity, or bioavailability.

Evotec Nabs P&G as Pharma Discovery and Chemical Development Customer

Evotec and Proctor & Gamble Pharmaceuticals said recently that they have entered into an agreement for Evotec to provide pharmaceutical discovery and chemical development services to P&G.

Under the terms of the agreement, Evotec will provide P&G with a wide range of services, including assay development, screening, medicinal and computational chemistry, and scale-up and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The agreement builds upon a previous collaboration between the two companies that began in 2004, in which Evotec successfully completed a pilot screening program for a P&G therapeutic target, Evotec said.

Alnylam Licenses RNAi Patents to MWG Biotech

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals has licensed its RNA interference patents to MWG Biotech, the company said recently.

Under the non-exclusive license to Alnylam's Kreutzer-Limmer patent family, MWG is allowed to provide research products and services in RNA interference.

The patent family covers short interfering RNAs and their use in mammalian cells. To date, 14 companies have licensed the patents, including eight research tool providers, according to Alnylam.

Definiens Opens US Subsidiary; Offices to be Located in Boston, Boulder

Definiens of Munich has opened a wholly owned subsidiary of the same name in the US that will have two offices, the company said last week. The company has also added to its staff both in Europe and the US.

The offices will be located in Boston and Boulder, Colo. "A US-based branch will enable us to expand our presence in our most important market and demonstrates our commitment to our North American customers," said CEO Thomas Heydler in a company statement.

Definiens is currently developing new image-analysis products for life sciences, including high-content screening, as well as for geospatial applications.

Chip-Man Moves to New HQ, Starts Shipping Cell Analysis Tools in Europe for Evaluation

Chip-Man Technologies of Tampere, Finland, has moved into new facilities, the company said recently.

The purpose-built 2,900-square-foot facility will help the firm to "optimize our operations and also place us at the heart of the exciting new biomedical hub being formed in Tampere for regenerative medicine," according to a company statement.

Chip-Man is now starting to release its Cell-IQ cell imaging system to various sites in Europe for evaluation. Cell-IQ monitors morphological and physiological changes in cell lines, primary cells, co-cultures, and monolayer tissue models in real time.

Molecular Devices' Q2 Revenues Jump 38 Percent, Earnings Climb 48 Percent

Molecular Devices recently reported increased revenues and earnings for the second quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter were $44.5 million, up 38 percent over last year's revenues for the same period, which were $32.2 million.

Research and development expenses rose to $6.3 million, from $4.7 million during the year-ago period.

The firm's net income rose to $3.7 million, or $.22 per share, a 48-percent increase over last year's $2.5 million, or $.17 per share.

As of June 30, Molecular Devices had $12.5 million in cash and cash equivalents.

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.