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Invitrogen and Zymed, Axxam, Galapagos and GlaxoSmithKline, Iconix, Amphora Discovery and Ortho-McNeil, Life Science Insights, Predicant Biosciences and Caliper Life Sciences, and Gen-Probe and AdnaGen


Invitrogen to Acquire Antibody Maker Zymed for $60M

Invitrogen plans to acquire antibody manufacturer Zymed Laboratories for $60 million in cash, the company said this week.

Zymed, based in South San Francisco, Calif., offers immunoassay reagents for research and clinical diagnostics. The company has more than 2,000 antibodies and related products suitable for research in the areas of cancer, neurological diseases, and infectious disease.

Following the acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of February, Zymed’s South San Francisco facility will become the main site for Invitrogen’s antibody production and distribution.

Invitrogen expects Zymed to generate $15 million in sales during the first year following the acquisition.

Axxam Wins €7.8M from Italian Government for HTS Technology

Italian biotech Axxam said this week that it has been awarded two research grants totaling €7.8 million to support new research projects in the field of early-stage drug discovery.

The first grant, from the Italian Research Ministry, is worth €6.7 million, and will be given over a three-year period to support “innovative approaches in target biology, advanced screening assays for HTS, and new screening technologies,” Axxam said in a statement.

The second grant, awarded by Regione Lombardia, is for €1.1 million over two years. This financing will support a new project in the field of cell-based assays for HTS, based on the use of mouse stem cells, Axxam said. The program will be carried out in collaboration with researchers at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute.

Galapagos Licenses Asthma and Allergy Targets TO GSK; Provides Research

Galapagos has licensed asthma and allergy drug targets to GlaxoSmithKline, and will identify further targets for the drug maker, the Mechelen, Belgium-based company said last week.

Under the agreement, GSK has licensed a number of drug targets discovered by Galapagos using its siRNA-based adenovirus technology. In addition, Galapagos’ reagents and services division, Galadeno, will use its SilenceSelect gene knock-down platform to discover and validate further targets for asthma and inflammatory diseases for GSK for three years.

GSK will pay Galapagos an upfront fee and provide research funding. Galapagos will also receive milestone payments for targets that GSK chooses to develop.

Iconix Wins EPA Contract for Chemogenomics-Based Toxicity Screens

Iconix Pharmaceuticals has won a contract from the Environmental Protection Agency to screen chemicals for toxicity using its chemogenomics platform, the company said last week.

Iconix, based in Mountain View, Calif., will use its DrugMatrix platform to work with the EPA’s Computational Toxicology Research Program to study the potential toxicity of five undisclosed chemicals.

DrugMatrix contains profiles of more than 650 chemical compounds, including information about gene expression, biological pathways, toxicology, and pharmacology.

Amphora to Hunt for Inflammatory Disease Drugs with Ortho-McNeil

Amphora Discovery has entered into a multi-year agreement research partnership with Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical to discover and develop new treatments for inflammatory disease, Amphora said this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ortho-McNeil will license several lead compounds identified by Amphora that are focused on a widely recognized inflammation target for which a successful therapy has not yet been identified, Amphora said.

Amphora will grant Ortho-McNeil exclusive rights to the existing compounds, as well as new compounds discovered during the collaboration. Financial terms include research support payments, an up-front licensing fee, and the possibility of milestone payments and royalties for compounds developed under the collaboration, Amphora said.

Life Science Insights Launches New Web Site

Life Science Insights, a life sciences market research firm, this week announced the launch of a news website,

The new site allows users to purchase and access reports and report segments down to the section, data table, and figure level, LSI said. Other features include new browse and search capabilities, and detailed information on LSI events such as telebriefings, conferences, and industry trade shows, LSI said.

Predicant Licenses Caliper Microfluidics Technology for Proteomic Tests

Predicant Biosciences has licensed microfluidics patents from Caliper Life Sciences for use in the analysis of proteins by mass spectrometry, the companies said last week.

Under the non-exclusive licensing deal, Predicant, of South San Francisco, Calif., plans to use Caliper’s microfluidics technology to separate proteins from blood for diagnostic tests based on protein patterns that it is developing.

The agreement is part of Caliper’s new outlicensing strategy, “with the goal of permeating the life sciences, diagnostics and other industries with out microfluidics technologies,” Caliper CEO Kevin Hrusovsky said in a company statement.

Gen-Probe Licenses Tumor Cell Detection Technology from AdnaGen

Gen-Probe has licensed a tumor cell detection technology from AdnaGen of Germany, the San Diego-based company said last week.

The technology allows for the detection of rare, circulating tumor cells by first isolating cancerous cells from healthy cells using an immunoassay, followed by measuring gene expression in these cells.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gen-Probe obtains exclusive access to AdnaGen’s technology for molecular diagnostic tests for prostate and bladder cancer. Gen-Probe will pay AdnaGen license fees of $1 million, as well as $750,000 in the first quarter of 2006 or when AdnaGen’s patent issues, whichever happens later. Gen-Probe may also pay AdnaGen three milestones totaling an additional $2.25 million. In addition, AdnaGen will receive royalties on sales of products developed using its technology.

Gen-Probe also obtains options to exclusively license the technology for kidney, ovarian, and cervical cancer. Also, the company has a three-year right of first refusal for using the technology for breast, colon, and lung cancer tests.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.