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Geron and Proctor & Gamble, SurroMed and Merck, Discovery Partners International, Becton Dickinson and Molecular Devices, Modular Genetics, Qiagen and AstraZeneca, and Life Science Insights


Geron to License hTERT Technology to Proctor & Gamble

Geron has granted a nonexclusive license to Proctor & Gamble for its human telomerase reverse transcriptase technology for research applications, it said on July 7. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

P & G will use hTERT to create immortalized cell lines from certain types of skin cells, and use the cells to study the regulation of cell function and develop biological assays for drug screening, Geron said.

SurroMed Renews Biomarker Collaboration with Merck

SurroMed has renewed a previously undisclosed biomarker research agreement with Merck, the company said last week.

SurroMed, based in Menlo Park, Calif., will analyze preclinical samples provided by Merck using its proteomics platform, and will analyze the data to identify candidate biological markers using its informatics tools, the company said in a statement.

The company’s other biomarker collaborations include Biogen, Bruker Daltonics, PPD, InterMune, and Eli Lilly.

Discovery Partners, Becton Dickinson, Molecular Devices to Announce Earnings

Discovery Partners International said last week that it will release its Q2 2004 financial results on Tuesday, July 20, prior to the opening of US financial markets. It will also hold a conference call and live webcast to review the results at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on July 20. Interested parties can access the webcast at the company’s website,

Becton Dickinson announced last week that a webcast discussing its third quarter 2004 earnings will be held on Thursday, July 22 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. BD will issue a press release detailing the earnings prior to the webcast. Interested parties can access the webcast on the investor portion of the company’s website, It will be available for replay through July 29.

Molecular Devices said last week that it would announce its Q2 earnings on Thursday, July 22, after the close of regular market trading. The company will hold a conference call the following day, July 23, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time, to discuss operating results and other business matters. Investors can access a live webcast of the call, as well as find more information about dial-in numbers, on the investor portion of the company’s website, The webcast will be available for replay through July 30.

Modular Genetics Closes First Round of $5.5M Series B Financing

Modular Genetics has closed the first round of a $5.5 million Series B financing, the Woburn, Mass.-based company said on June 30.

According to an official statement, Modular Genetics will use the cash to enhance its automated gene engineering system, expand its sales force, and accelerate specific product development programs.

Molecular Genetics’ core technology, CombiGenix, is used for automated assembly and modification of cloned genes, and is the basis of three of the company’s gene engineering platforms: GeneDirect, a 96-sample platform for site-directed mutagenesis; GeneBuild, for codon optimization and assembly of custom genes; and GeneFix, for repairing mutations or removing introns from cloned genes.

Qiagen Signs siRNA Agreement with AstraZeneca

Qiagen will supply siRNA molecules to AstraZeneca under an agreement announced on June 30.

Under the agreement, Qiagen will be the “preferred supplier” to AstraZeneca for siRNA products used in silencing applications. Financial details were not disclosed.

The Netherlands-based Qiagen employs a proprietary design process based on TOM-amidites to produce its siRNA molecules.

Life Science Insights Conference to Address Biopharmaceutical Information Technology

Life Science Insights, an IDC company, announced last week that its first executive conference for pharmaceutical and biotechnology executives will take place on Sept. 14 in Princeton, NJ.

The conference, entitled BioPharma IT-Futurescape, will focus on the informational, strategic, and organizational challenges involved with new genomic and high-throughput technologies, Life Science Insights said.

Speakers from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and Food and Drug Administration will tackle topics such as enabling drug discovery, leveragin future technologies, post-merger and acquisition integrations, and leveraging pharmacogenomic data.


The Scan

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.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.