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Invitrogen, BioTrove and Schering-Plough, Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, and Cambridge Healthtech

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Invitrogen Reorganizes in Attempt to Better Connect With Customers

Invitrogen has reorganized its business and formed three new divisions out of its traditional BioDiscovery and BioProduction business units, the company said last week.

As of Jan. 1, 2006, Invitrogen's new divisions will be called Life Sciences, Bio-Production Systems and Services, and Enabling Technologies, and each will have its own manufacturing, R&D, and marketing functions, Invitrogen said.

"This realignment allows us to focus our development and commercial efforts along key technology workflows in order to help researchers shape the protocols of tomorrow's medical breakthroughs," Greg Lucier, chairman and CEO of Invitrogen, said in a statement.

The Life Sciences segment will focus on molecular biology and biomedical applications, including cloning and protein expression, protein analysis, gene-expression profiling, and drug discovery tools. Jon Hindar, who served as CEO of recent Invitrogen acquisition Dynal Corporation, will serve as senior vice president of Life Sciences.

Bio-Production Systems and Services will include the current Gibco and BioReliance products and services, as well as Invitrogen's bioproduction process development initiative, Invitrogen said. Nicolas Barthelemy, currently head of global operations for Invitrogen, will lead the division.

Enabling Technologies will focus on nanotechnology, imaging and microscopy, cell separation and analysis, labeling and detection, bead-based separations, and the antibody center of excellence. This division will include the Molecular Probes, Dynal, BioSource, and Quantum Dot brands, Invitrogen said. John Miller will be senior vice president of Enabling Technologies. Miller comes to Invitrogen from rival BD Biosciences, where he was vice president and general manager for the Americas.

The divisions will also be "integrated" with technology "sales specialist teams" that provide scientific expertise in targeted research areas.


BioTrove and Schering-Plough Expand Drug-Discovery Collaboration

BioTrove has expanded its lead discovery collaboration with Schering-Plough Research Institute, the research arm of Schering-Plough, the company said last week.

Under the terms of the collaboration, BioTrove will use its RapidFire lead-discovery service for assay development and high-throughput screening on an undisclosed number of targets identified by Schering-Plough.

RapidFire is a mass spectrometry-based technology that enables the high-throughput screening of biochemical assays, BioTrove said. The use of mass spectrometry allows for label-free screening of challenging and intractable drug targets using native substrates, the company said.

Financial terms were not disclosed.


Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative Holds First Meeting

The first meeting of the Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, an alliance of reagent provider Dharmacon and international non-profit biomedical research centers, has concluded, the company said last week.

Dharmacon established the initiative in order to facilitate the use of its siArray human genome siRNA library by research institutions in order to accelerate drug discovery and development.

According to Dharmacon, the first meeting "focused on developing standardized procedures for data gathering intended to accelerate the group's progress. Participants shared best practices and successes from preliminary human genome-wide siRNA screening and discussed how they might collaborate to accelerate biomedical discovery using the genome-wide library," the company said.

Dharmacon also said that the attendees agreed to "identify standards that will facilitate generation of reproducible intra-laboratory results," an effort termed MIARE, for Minimal Information About RNAi Experiments. They also agreed to seek input from external sources.

The initiative members plan to meet twice a year, Dharmacon noted.


CHI Forms 'Strategic Alliance' with Life Sciences Firms

Cambridge Healthtech Institute said last week that 10 life sciences companies have joined the CHI Strategic Alliance Program.

The companies are Applied Biosystems; Biotage; Fisher's Cellomics and Dharmacon units; Gene Logic; Invitrogen; PA Consulting Group; Sidec Technologies; and Qiagen.

According to CHI, the alliance offers member companies "customized opportunities" to market their businesses, which are based on their yearly level of participation in multiple CHI conferences as sponsors and exhibitors.