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Invitrogen, BioReliance, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Ingenuity Systems, Merck

Invitrogen to Sell BioReliance for $210M; Posts $100M Loss in Q4
Invitrogen plans to sell its BioReliance unit to Avista Capital Partners for $210 million as part of its ongoing plan to better organize its acquired components, the company said this week.
Invitrogen CEO Greg Lucier said the divestiture will allow the company to “focus on our platform of scientific technologies.”
BioReliance is a contract services business offering contract lab services to pharmaceutical companies. Rockville, Md.-based Avista said it expects the sale to close some time during the second quarter.
Last April, Invitrogen divested the German unit of the business, saying it was not in line with the company’s strategies, but maintained the US segment, which is also based in Rockville.
In addition, Invitrogen this week reported weak fourth-quarter revenue growth as R&D spending decreased 7.6 percent and net income dropped 300 percent on a variety of one-time charges.
Total receipts for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006, rose 1.6 percent to $329.8 million from $325.2 million year over year.
R&D spending increased to $35.3 million from $27.4 million year over year.
The company said net loss totaled $100.2 million from a net gain of $49.6 million in the year-ago period. The company said a variety of one-time charges affected the earnings.
Invitrogen said it had around $380.3 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments as of Dec. 31, 2006.
"Although we had improved financial performance in the fourth quarter of 2006, we still have work in front of us to accelerate organic growth and optimize operating margins,” Invitrogen CFO David Hoffmeister said in a statement.
In addition to the sale of the company’s BioReliance division, Invitrogen said earlier this month it sold its BioSource Europe unit to a group of private investors in Belgium.

MorphoSys Unit to Use Thermo Fisher's Fluorescent Dyes in Reagents
Thermo Fisher Scientific this week said synthetic antibody developer AbD Serotec will use its DyLight dyes as part of a collaborative agreement to develop a series of fluorescent reagents.
Under the agreement, AbD Serotec, a subsidiary of MorphoSys, will develop and sell the resulting products through its catalog, Thermo said.
Thermo said its DyLight products are water soluble and provide high fluorescent intensity in various applications.
AbD Serotec has a catalog of more than 10,000 research antibodies, and it develops monoclonal antibodies using its parent company’s HuCal technology.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Ingenuity Extends Pathway Analysis Software Deal With Merck
Ingenuity Systems this week said it has extended a licensing agreement with Merck that allows the drug maker to continue using its Ingenuity Pathways Analysis Software.
Under the terms of the “multi-year” agreement, Merck will continue to use the IPA software for research in “multiple therapeutic areas,” Ingenuity said.
The original agreement was signed in 2004, but the company did not say when the extended licensing contract will expire.
Ingenuity said the software supports biomarker target identification and validation, predictive toxicology, and pharmacogenomics on “all high-throughput analysis platforms.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.