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Diagnostic Hybrids, KaLy-Cell, UC-Davis, BioTrove, Euroscreen, GNF, Novartis, Procognia, GlaxoSmithKline, Invitrogen

Diagnostic Hybrids to Manufacture, Distribute Cell Products for CRO KaLy-Cell
Diagnostic Hybrids, a manufacturer of cellular and molecular diagnostic kits, announced this week that it has executed a technology transfer and supply agreement with contract research organization KaLy-Cell.
The agreement calls for Diagnostic Hybrids to manufacture and distribute hepatocytes and subcellular fractions from humans and several large and small animal species to KaLy-Cell.
The agreement also allows the companies to perform collaborative research and development activities.
Diagnostic Hybrids is located in Athens, Ohio, and KaLy-Cell is based in Besancon, France.

UC-Davis is Using BioTrove's Imager in Human Disease Studies
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine are using BioTrove’s OpenArray NT Imager to study genetic variations of human diseases, BioTrove said this week.  
UC-Davis researchers are conducting SNP-genotyping studies of large patient cohorts to study disease susceptibility. These studies will use “tens of thousands” of samples to consider links between disease and ancestry.
Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Euroscreen Completes Research Alliance With GNF, Novartis
Euroscreen, a preclinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Brussels, Belgium, announced this week that it has completed a research agreement with the Genomics Research Institute of the Novartis Foundation and Novartis.
Euroscreen and GNF will focus their research on developing therapeutic antibodies targeting G protein-coupled receptors.
Financial details of the agreement, and the specific GPCRs involved, were not disclosed.

GSK to Test-Run Procognia’s Protein Arrays for Kinase-Screening Studies
Procognia said this week that GlaxoSmithKline will use its protein arrays to profile kinase kits in drug development research.
Under the agreement, GSK will use Procognia’s protein array technology with its own kinase inhibitors in profiling studies to assess whether it can integrate these arrays into its screening process.
GSK will have use of “over 300 functional kinases,” Procognia said, adding that it hopes to “have a functional human protein array containing the entire human kinome” in the second quarter of this year.
Procognia also said its protein arrays are used for biomarker discovery, protein interaction, and in identifying substrates.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Invitrogen, Distended by Big Acquisitions, Will Now Concentrate on Fewer, Smaller Buys
Invitrogen, distended from a binge of acquisitions in 2004 and 2005, will focus on fewer and smaller buys in the future, a company official said this week.
Speaking at the Lehman Brothers Global Healthcare Conference in Miami, CFO David Hoffmeister said the firm will most likely make tuck-in acquisitions this year, though it does not see gaps in its portfolio.
“Invitrogen is a natural way to market for entrepreneurs and others who develop innovative technologies, and so we’re going to continue to do acquisitions,” Hoffmeister said at the conference. “Those acquisitions, though, are going to be fewer than we’ve done in the 2004-2005 timeframe, and smaller, more tuck-in types of deals.
In 2005 Invitrogen spent at least $650 million acquiring eight companies. In 2006, the firm made just one acquisition: the $25.9 million deal to acquire Sentigen, which was completed last December.
Hoffmeister said this week that this type of smaller deal is much more likely for Invitrogen this year as well.
“We’ll continue to do acquisitions, despite our research and development spending and our active in-licensing program,” he said. “We’re never going to be able to in-license or develop ourselves all of the technologies that are going to come out of this rapidly changing industry.
“We feel very good about the portfolio as we currently [have] it. We don’t see any major holes,” he added. “So, we’re not looking at large acquisitions to fill any gaps.”
The remarks come after the company departed from comments officials made in early 2006 that the firm would spend roughly half a billion dollars on acquisitions that year. But those plans were derailed by a number of challenges, including continuing difficulties in its BioReliance business, a massive IT overhaul, and integration issues related to the purchases in 2005.
“We have been very aggressive on integrating our acquisitions,” said Invitrogen Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier during the firm’s third-quarter conference call in late October. “And perhaps for a company of our size, maybe too aggressive.”
He said that as a result, Invitrogen had to slow the pace of its acquisitions in 2006. “We have gone back through the portfolio and reviewed it,” said Lucier. “I think we have done everything prudent to put the company on a better foundation.”
The complete version of this article appears in the current issue of BioCommerce Week, a Cell-Based Assay News sister publication.

The Scan

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Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.