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GlaxoSmithKline, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Cenix BioSciences, Regulus Therapeutics, National Institutes of Health, BioFocus DPI, Wellcome Trust, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, European Bioinformatics Institute, Beckman Coulter, PerkinElmer

GSK, HSCI Ink $25M Collaboration Deal; Will Develop Cardiomyocyte Models for Screening 
GlaxoSmithKline and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute this week announced that they have entered into a five-year, $25 million-plus collaborative agreement to expedite the development of treatments and cures for a range of diseases.
GSK’s investment, one of the largest by a pharmaceutical company in stem cell science, will support research at Harvard and in at least four Harvard-affiliated hospitals in six disease areas — neurological, cardiac, cancer, diabetes, musculoskeletal, and obesity. In addition, GSK will fund an annual grant in HSCI's "seed grant" program, which supports early-stage innovative research.
The collaboration will be overseen by a joint steering committee made up of HSCI and GSK scientists and managers.
Among the planned projects is an effort led by Ken Chien, head of the Cardiovascular Research Center at MGH. Chien and Kit Parker, an associate professor at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, will develop cardiomyocyte models for drug screening and discovery.

Cenix to Help Regulus Develop Targets for miRNA-Based Drugs
Cenix BioScience said this week that it has agreed to help Regulus Therapeutics develop its miRNA modulators for immunology and inflammation therapeutics.
Under the research agreement, Cenix said it will use multi-parametric assays to screen Regulus’ libraries of synthetic miRNA modulators for novel molecules that could be used to develop new therapeutics. Specifically, Cenix said that it will apply its small RNA-based gene silencing technology with high-content phenotypic analyses in cultured human cells.
Regulus is a California-based company that was founded in 2007 as a joint effort between Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals.
Cenix offers research and consulting services using human and rodent cell models to discover, validate, and analyze new drug targets for a variety of diseases including atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, malaria, and others.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

NIH Extends Contract with Galapagos' BioFocus Subsidiary
The National Institutes of Health has extended an agreement with Galapagos’ BioFocus DPI service division to continue using the services of the unit for the Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository through December 2010, the company said this week.
The company said it will receive over $9 million over the course of the two-year extension, which is funded under the NIH Roadmap project.
BioFocus DPI operates the compound management facility for industrial and government customers out of its Compound Focus subsidiary in South San Francisco. The facility has acquired, stored, and distributed compounds for high-throughput biological screening throughout NIH’s US academic network since 2004.
BioFocus DPI sells drug discovery products and services to biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and it provides adenoviral reagents for identifying compound libraries, chemogenomics, and ADMET database products to select targets and compounds.

Wellcome Trust Provides $9.4M to Make Galapagos Predictive Drug Data Public
A grant and license agreement involving the UK’s Wellcome Trust, the Belgian company Galapagos, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute will open up the rights to databases held by Galapagos division BioFocus DPI for use by public research communities.
EMBL-EBI will use a Wellcome Trust grant of £4.7 million ($9.4 million) to support the transfer of a collection of information on drug properties and a set of Galapagos’ drug-like small molecules to the Institute. EMBL-EBI will incorporate the data into its collection of open-access resources for use in biomedical research.
Galapagos will receive £1.4 million for the data, which it previously offered for license through its BioFocus DPI service division.
The Galapagos databases covered under the agreement are DrugStore, StARLITe, Strudle, Kinase SARfari, and GPCR SARfari.
The agreement does not include the StarDrop software platform, which BioFocus DPI will continue to offer.

Beckman Coulter's Q2 Revenues Jump 15.7 Percent on Strong Dx Sales
Beckman Coulter this week reported that its second-quarter revenues increased 15.7 percent, or 11.2 percent excluding currency translation effects, driven by 17.1 percent growth in its clinical diagnostics business.
The Orange County, Calif.-based firm brought in total revenues of $798.3 million for the three-month period ended June 30, compared to revenues of $689.7 million for the second quarter of 2007.
Within its clinical diagnostics segment, chemistry and clinical automation sales increased 13.7 percent to $233 million from $205 million, cellular product sales rose 17.4 percent to $244.5 million from $208.3 million, and immunoassay and molecular diagnostic sales increased 21 percent to $193.3 million from $159.7 million.
Sales for the life sciences segment climbed 9.3 percent to $127.5 million from $116.7 million year over year.
Beckman Coulter said that its recurring revenue — from supplies, test kits, service, royalty revenue, and operating-type lease payments — rose more than 13 percent to $618.7 million in Q2. Cash instrument sales jumped 25 percent to $179.6 million.
The firm posted a profit of $47.8 million, or $.74 per share, compared with net earnings of $69.4 million, or $1.09 per share, in the second quarter of 2007. Last year’s results included a $40.6 million gain from a break-up fee associated with the termination of Beckman’s agreement to acquire Biosite.
In May 2007, Beckman pulled out of a bidding war with Inverness Medical Innovations to buy diagnostics firm Biosite. Inverness purchased the firm for $92.50 per share, or approximately $1.72 billion, triggering the break-up fee to Beckman.
The company’s R&D costs rose 32.1 percent to $77.7 million from $58.8 million. During the quarter, Beckman sub-licensed rights to hepatitis C virus technology from Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, resulting in a $12 million R&D charge.
Beckman finished the quarter with $69.5 million in cash and cash equivalents.

PerkinElmer's Q2 Revenues Rise 21 Percent
PerkinElmer reported this week that its second-quarter revenues rose 21 percent, or 11 percent excluding the effects of currency translation and acquisitions.
The Waltham, Mass.-based firm generated revenues of $528.6 million for the three-month period ended June 29, compared to revenues of $437.3 million for the comparable period of 2007. Sales for its Life and Analytical Sciences segment rose 22 percent to $397.1 million from $326.3 million year over year, while sales for the Optoelectronics unit climbed 19 percent to $131.6 million from $111 million.
PerkinElmer posted a profit of $23.7 million, or $.20 per share, compared to net earnings of $33.7 million, or $.28 per share, in the second quarter of 2007. This year’s results include a $6.8 million loss related to discontinued operations, while last year’s results included a $15.3 million gain on the settlement of an insurance claim.
The firm’s R&D costs increased 9.5 percent to $29.9 million from $27.3 million, while its SG&A costs climbed 30.7 percent to $143 million from $109.4 million.
PerkinElmer finished the quarter with $193.5 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.