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GE Healthcare, Invitrogen, Buck Institute for Age Research, MitoSciences, Roche Palo Alto, MatriCal, GlaxoSmithKline, Millipore

GE Streamlines Structure; Healthcare No Longer Standalone Unit
General Electric announced last week that it is streamlining its unit structure from six units down to four units. In the process, GE Healthcare will no longer operate as a standalone unit, but it will be folded into the new GE Technology Infrastructure unit.
The reorganization is intended to align the businesses “for growth and efficiency,” the firm said in a statement. GE’s stock price has sagged over the past few months after company officials said that the firm would miss its 2008 earnings per share target of $2.42.
The Healthcare business will join Aviation, Transportation, and Enterprise Solutions as components of the Technology Infrastructure unit, which will have revenues of nearly $90 billion. Vice Chairman John Rice will lead the unit.
In advance of the reorganization, former GE Healthcare CEO Joseph Hogan left the firm two weeks ago to take over as CEO of power and automation company ABB.
The other three units are GE Energy Infrastructure, GE Capital, and NBC Universal. GE said a couple of months ago that it intends to jettison its unit that includes household appliances, lighting, motors, and electrical distribution.

Invitrogen Licenses Neural Stem Cell Line from Buck Institute
Invitrogen said this week that it has licensed an engineered neural stem cell line from the Buck Institute for Age Research.
Invitrogen said that the stem cell line, BG01 Olig2-GFP, has been engineered to track the Olig2 gene, which controls a protein that maintains a neural stem cell's ability to replicate early in brain development, and then directs it to form a particular type of neural cell.
Joydeep Goswami, vice president of primary and stem cell systems at Invitrogen, said that the company plans to offer the cell line to its customers as well as to “further develop products from the line that will serve as valuable tools in neural stem cell research.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not provided.

MitoSciences, Roche Palo Alto Ink Kinase Inhibitor Screening Deal
MitoSciences this week announced an agreement with Roche Palo Alto to generate mitochondrial toxicity profiles for over 100 known kinase inhibitors. Under terms of the agreement, Roche will provide the compound library plus previously gathered data from in vivo and in vitro experiments, and MitoSciences will apply its MitoTox technology to provide in vitro data for a broad set of mitochondrial toxicity endpoints.
MitoTox technology employs antibody-based assays for measuring the function, expression, and post-translational modification of key mitochondrial enzymes in cultured cells that have been dosed with the compounds in question. The MitoTox suite of assays looks at the effect of drug candidates on cellular metabolic competence, cell membrane potential, mitochondrial biogenesis, the inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation enzyme activity, the expression of and modifications to metabolic proteins in cultured cells, and the induction of apoptosis.  

MatriCal Ships MACCS system to GSK
MatriCal announced this week that it recently shipped its first MACCS automated cell culture system to GlaxoSmithKline’s Oncology Biology Department located in Collegeville, Penn.
According to the manufacturer, the MACCS system offers a reliable and cost effective solution for a variety of applications, including the uniform supply of cells and proteins for drug discovery research efforts. The system offers a modular, expandable design combined with the ability to work with labware, including Roboflasks, T-flasks, shaker and spinner flasks, microtiter plates, and roller bottles. 

Millipore Revenues Hit By Bioprocess Division Weakness
Millipore said this week that its second-quarter sales grew 8 percent year over year, but were flat when taking into account an 8 percent benefit from currency translation.
The Billerica, Mass.-based firm had revenues of $414.2 million for the three-month period ended June 30, up from revenues of $383.2 million in the second quarter of 2007. Sales for its Bioscience Division increased 18 percent to $184.4 million from $156.4 million, while sales for its Bioprocess Division grew 1 percent to $229.8 million from $226.8 million.
Martin Madaus, chairman and CEO of Millipore, said in a statement that the Bioprocess Division “continues to be adversely affected by reduced purchases from a handful of our largest North American biotech customers.
“Although we expect our Bioprocess Division and the overall company will report year-over-year revenue growth in the second half of the year, we do not anticipate spending from these large, US biotech customers will stabilize until the end of 2008,” he added. “Therefore, our Bioprocess results will continue to be negatively affected for the remainder of this year.”
On a geographic basis, sales to the Americas dropped 10 percent to $153.3 million from $170.6 million; sales to Europe jumped 27 percent to $189.3 million from $149.4 million; and sales to the Asia/Pacific region increased 13 percent to $71.6 million from $63.2 million.
Millipore’s R&D costs inched up to $26.2 million from $26 million, and its SG&A expenses rose 9.3 percent to $134.5 million from $123.1 million.

The firm finished the quarter with $30.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The Scan

Expanded Genetic Testing Uncovers Hereditary Cancer Risk in Significant Subset of Cancer Patients

In Genome Medicine, researchers found pathogenic or likely pathogenic hereditary cancer risk variants in close to 17 percent of the 17,523 patients profiled with expanded germline genetic testing.

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Embryos Appear Largely Normal in Single-Cell 'Omics Analyses

Embryos produced with spindle transfer-based mitochondrial replacement had delayed demethylation, but typical aneuploidy and transcriptome features in a PLOS Biology study.

Cancer Patients Report Quality of Life Benefits for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy was linked in JAMA Network Open to enhanced quality of life compared to other treatment types in cancer patients.

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.