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GlaxoSmithKline, Galapagos, Odyssey Thera, Pfizer, MDS, NIH

Glaxo and Galapagos Ink Anti-Infective Development Deal
GlaxoSmithKline and Galapagos this week said that they have entered into a multi-year, strategic alliance to develop novel anti-infective drug candidates.
GSK will participate in the alliance through its Infectious Diseases Center of Excellence for Drug Discovery. Under the terms of the agreement, Galapagos will grant GSK options to license product candidates that are directed against up to six anti-infective discovery targets. 
Galapagos will be responsible for the discovery and development of natural product, small-molecule drug candidates through to clinical proof of concept, at which point GSK will have the exclusive option to license each compound for further development and commercialization.
The alliance will utilize the natural product compound-collection and chemistry capabilities of BioFocus DPI, Galapagos’ services division. Galapagos will have the right to further develop and commercialize compounds for which GSK does not exercise its option.
Galapagos will receive total upfront fees of up to €3.5 million ($5.15 million) from GSK, depending on the total number of programs within the collaboration. Galapagos could be eligible to receive up to €95 million ($140 million) in upfront fees and development and regulatory milestone payments for each product candidate.
If a product is commercialized, Galapagos may receive up to €120 million for achievement of specific sales milestones. Galapagos is also eligible to receive up to double-digit royalties on worldwide sales of alliance products.

Odyssey Reaches Milestone in Pfizer Deal, Scores Payments
Odyssey Thera this week announced the achievement of two milestones under its collaboration with Pfizer, triggering undisclosed payments.
Odyssey Thera entered into the broad collaborative agreement with Pfizer in September 2006, following the successful completion of two prior collaborations. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Pfizer made an up-front payment and agreed to provide research and capital expenditure funding, as well as payments upon the achievement of certain milestones.
The first milestone payment stemmed from the creation, in less than one year, of a panel of high-content assays, Odyssey said. An additional milestone payment was earned for establishing a system to quantify the biological activity of drug metabolites in living human cells.
These capabilities add to Odyssey Thera's proprietary Protein-Fragment Complementation Assay technology, which measures pathway activity within living human cells.

MDS' Q4 Revenues Rise 22 Percent
MDS this week reported fourth-quarter revenue of $338 million, a 22 percent increase over revenue of $260 million in the comparable quarter a year ago.
MDS Analytical Technologies, which includes the operations of Molecular Devices and Sciex, had revenue growth of 92 percent in the quarter to $119 million. Sciex contributed $65 million to that total, while Molecular Devices brought in revenue of $54 million.
MDS acquired Molecular Devices in March. 
MDS Pharma Services had 1 percent revenue growth year over year to $123 million, while MDS Nordion had revenue of $76 million, flat with last year.
The firm’s R&D costs in the quarter increased 14 percent to $8 million.
MDS posted a profit of $15 million, down from $47 million year over year. But last year’s fourth-quarter results included $33 million in income from discontinued operations.
For full-year 2007, MDS reported revenue of $1.2 billion compared with $1 billion last year. Its net income was $772 million compared with $127 million last year. This year’s results include $806 million in income from discontinued operations related to the sale of the firm’s Canadian diagnostics business.
As of Oct. 31, MDS had $259 million in cash and cash equivalents.

NIH to Grant $43M in FY 2009 Under Shared Instruments Program
The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources plans to grant around $43 million in fiscal 2009 to fund the purchase of expensive biomedical instruments.
According to a program announcement released late last week, the NCRR’s Shared Instrument Grant program is seeking applications from groups of NIH-supported researchers looking to buy or upgrade equipment that costs between $100,000 and $500,000.
NIH said it expects to hand out approximately 125 one-year awards, and that the number and size of the awards may vary. The total amount granted will be dependent on the amount of funds available, NIH said.
The tools investigators may purchase under the funding would be shared with other NIH researchers, and could include DNA sequencers, biosensors, biomedical imagers, mass spectrometers, confocal and electron microscopes, cell sorters, X-ray diffraction systems, and NMR spectrometers, among others.
Applications are due in March 2008.

The Scan

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.

Acne-Linked Loci Found Through GWAS Meta-Analysis

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics find new and known acne vulgaris risk loci with a genome-wide association study and meta-analysis, highlighting hair follicle- and metabolic disease-related genes.

Retina Cell Loss Reversed by Prime Editing in Mouse Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa

A team from China turns to prime editing to correct a retinitis pigmentosa-causing mutation in the PDE6b gene in a mouse model of the progressive photoreceptor loss condition in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

CRISPR Screens Reveal Heart Attack-Linked Gene

Researchers in PLOS Genetics have used CRISPR screens to home in on variants associated with coronary artery disease that affect vascular endothelial function.