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Kinaxo Biotechnologies, Actar, Corning, Cell Projects, Queen’s University, Bayer Schering Pharma, Roche, Horizon Discovery, Millennium Pharmaceuticals

Kinaxo Inks US, Japan Marketing Deals
Martinsried, Germany-based Kinaxo Biotechnologies this week said that it has inked sales and marketing pacts in the US and Japan for its Cellular Target Profiling service.
In the US, New York-based BioCatalyst International will support the introduction of the service, while UK-based BioFocus DPI will provide similar support in Japan.
Kinaxo’s CTP Service enables drug developers to determine the native cellular protein interactions of small molecule compounds in a physiological setting.
Further terms and details of the partnerships were not disclosed.

Actar to Use Corning's Epic System in Screening Services
Actar, a part of the Karolinska Institutet innovations system in Sweden, has purchased Corning’s Epic System, which it will use in providing label-free drug screening services.
According to Corning, Actar is the only company to offer high-throughput, label-free drug screening to academic researchers in Europe on a fee-for-service basis.
The Epic system uses optical biosensors to measure a broad range of biological responses that are undetectable with conventional methods, said Corning. The firm claims it is the world’s first high-throughput, label-free screening system.
Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Cell Projects, Queen's University to Develop Electroporation Technologies
Cell Projects has signed a licensing and joint development agreement with Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, to develop new technologies for adherent and in situ cell electroporation.
According to a statement released this week by Maidstone, UK-based Cell Projects, the new technology allows DNA, peptides, siRNA, and other molecules to be transported into cultured, adherent cells while the cells are still attached to their growing surface.
The technology “will enable a greater understanding of specific cellular activities that to date have been difficult to analyze yet are known to be important in further understanding the mechanism of cancer, and other biological problems,” said Tom Hole, managing director of Cell Projects.
Financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

Bayer to Use New Roche Cell Analysis System
Bayer Schering Pharma will use Roche’s xCELLigence System for real-time non-labeled cell analysis, Roche Applied Science said this week.
Roche said Bayer is one of the first users of the recently introduced xCELLigence System, which is designed for a variety of applications including short-term kinetic analysis and assays for cell proliferation and cytotoxicity. Manfred Baier, head of Roche Applied Science, said that the firm expects pharma research to be a primary application area for the new system.
According to Roche, the system can perform label-free analysis of a 96-well plate in less than 15 seconds.
Further details of the agreement with Bayer were not disclosed.

Horizon Announces Extension of Collaboration with Millennium
Horizon Discovery this week announced that it has extended its commercial relationship with Millennium Pharmaceuticals to include the development of custom X-MAN cell lines that comprise a set of double cancer-gene ‘knock-in’ lines designed to evaluate known mechanisms of patient resistance to putative targeted agents. 
Under the terms of the original agreement, signed in September, Millennium will broadly characterize seven of Horizon’s X-MAN Mutant and Normal human-isogenic cell lines against drug targets provided by Millennium (see CBA News, 9/19/08).
Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Millennium will pay Horizon undisclosed up-front, milestone, and renewal fees per-cell-line pair for work that will begin in November 2008.   

To develop the new lines, Horizon will use Genesis, a proprietary, virally-mediated isogenic gene-targeting technique to precisely engineer disease-causing and patient-specific genetic mutations (PI3K, K-Ras, B-Raf, p53, PTen, and β-Catenin, for example) into normal human cells, providing a model in vitro system for testing a potential cancer drug’s effect on diseased vs. normal cells vs. patient genotype.

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

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.