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Invitrogen, KAN Research, Beckman Coulter, Lumigen, University of Edinburgh, Millipore

Invitrogen Laid Off 60 Staffers in August; Will Lay Off 34 More Oct. 27
Invitrogen laid off 60 employees on Aug. 31 and plans to lay off an additional 34 staffers on Oct. 27, according to California employment records.
The August lay-offs were in Invitrogen’s South San Francisco, Calif., facility, while the ones scheduled for Oct. 27 will be in the company’s Burlingame space, the records show.
It was not immediately clear what businesses or departments have been or will be affected. The lay-offs represent approximately 2 percent of the company's 4,800 employees worldwide.
What is known is that the South San Francisco facility comprises Zymed Laboratories, the antibody manufacturer Invitrogen bought at the start of 2005, while the Burlingame space comprises Caltag Laboratories, a maker of antibodies and reagents for flow cytometry applications that Invitrogen acquired in the summer of that year.
It was not immediately clear whether other business units are affected. Also not immediately unclear is whether the lay-offs are tied to the formal business reassessment that has been ongoing at Invitrogen since the company disclosed lackluster second-quarter revenue growth and cut its full-year 2006 revenue forecast in August.
An Invitrogen spokesperson declined to comment.
Invitrogen acquired Caltag Laboratories for $20 million in cash in the summer of 2005. The company, based in Burlingame, makes antibodies and reagents for flow cytometry applications, including tandem dyes for multi-color flow cytometry.
Invitrogen said it believes Caltag will complement its proteomics technologies. "Caltag's strength in supporting flow cytometry work is a natural fit for this goal through its synergies with Invitrogen's upstream proteomics technologies," Cheri Walker, Invitrogen's vice president of proteomics, in a statement at the time.
Caltag's US staff of about 50 was to remain in the San Francisco area as part of Invitrogen's Antibody Center of Excellence. Caltag was expected to have approximately $10 million in sales in the following year.
Invitrogen said it will release its third-quarter earnings Oct. 26.

Eisai Unit KAN Research Institute Opens Doors in New Kobe Facility
Eisai research subsidiary KAN Research Institute has begun research operations in its new facilities in the Kobe Medical Industry Development Project site, Eisai said this week.
KAN, which relocated to the Port Island in Kobe Oct. 1, “aims to promote discovery of innovative ideas and technology that lead to new pharmaceutical development, emphasizing on cellomics in order to explore how cells interact with each other and orchestrate to shape vital activities of a human body,” Eisai said in a statement.
The main research areas of the KAN Research Institute will be neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as oncology, immunology, and inflammatory disease.

Beckman Coulter to Acquire Chemiluminescent Chemistry Provider Lumigen for $185M
Beckman Coulter has signed an agreement to acquire Lumigen for $185 million, the company said this week.
Lumigen, based in Southfield, Mich., provides detection chemistries for clinical diagnostics and life science research.
Beckman Coulter currently uses Lumigen’s proprietary chemiluminescent chemistry for its Access family of immunoassay systems.
Sales of Lumigen's chemiluminescent substrate to Beckman Coulter accounted for about 40 percent, or $13.2 million, of Lumigen’s reported 2005 revenues of $33 million.
Beckman said that the acquisition will ensure it has continued access to Lumigen's current and future immunochemical and other high-sensitivity testing products.
The all-cash deal is expected to close by Nov. 1.

University of Edinburgh Joins Sigma's RNAi Program      
Sigma-Aldrich said this week that researchers at the University of Edinburgh have joined its RNAi Partnership Program.
Sigma formed its RNAi Partnership Program in April to provide researchers with RNAi tools, including products, new technologies, and reagents, as well as access to Sigma-Aldrich’s functional genomic portfolio.
The portfolio includes access to the company's lentivirus-based Mission TRC shRNA libraries that target more than 15,000 human and mouse genes.
Last month, six other universities joined the program.

Millipore Opens $50M R&D Facility in Bedford, Mass.
Millipore has opened a new $50 million research and development center, the company said this week.
The Bedford, Mass. facility is an 110,000 square foot building containing 47,000 square feet of laboratory space. Up to 500 people will work in the facility in a variety of positions, Millipore said.
According to the company, the bioprocess division will help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies optimize manufacturing productivity and ensure drug quality.

The Scan

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.

Analysis of Endogenous Parvoviral Elements Found Within Animal Genomes

Researchers at PLOS Biology have examined the coevolution of endogenous parvoviral elements and animal genomes to gain insight into using the viruses as gene therapy vectors.

Saliva Testing Can Reveal Mosaic CNVs Important in Intellectual Disability

An Australian team has compared the yield of chromosomal microarray testing of both blood and saliva samples for syndromic intellectual disability in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.