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MDS, Blueshift Biotechnologies, BioTime, Embryome Sciences, International Stem Cell Corporation, Lifeline Cell Technology, Artel, IonGate Biosciences

MDS Acquires Blueshift Biotechnologies
MDS said this week that its MDS Analytical Technologies unit has acquired cell-imaging products firm Blueshift Biotechnologies for $13 million.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Blueshift makes the IsoCyte benchtop instrument, which performs rapid image analysis of large populations of cells in a microtiter plate whole-well format. According to Toronto-based MDS, Blueshift has placed 14 of the IsoCyte instruments with academic, biotech, and pharmaceutical customers.
“This acquisition fills a gap in our current product portfolio, allowing us to offer our pharmaceutical research customers fast and simple cellular analysis with a line of instrumentation that images the whole well at true high throughput screening rates,” Andy Boorn, president of MDS Analytical Technologies, said in a statement.
The firms did not disclose Blueshift’s annual revenues.

BioTime, International Stem Cell Corp. Ink Deal to Manufacture, Distribute Stem Cell Lines, Research Products
BioTime and its wholly owned subsidiary Embryome Sciences announced this week that they have signed a manufacturing and distribution agreement with International Stem Cell Corporation, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology, to jointly produce and distribute hundreds of new standardized human and animal stem cell lines, along with corresponding data and reagents.
Under the collaborative production and manufacturing agreement, the parties intend to manufacture Espy cell lines (derivatives of hES cells that send beacons of light in response to the activation of particular genes), in addition to supplies used by those who conduct stem cell research. The progenitor cell lines will be produced and distributed in joint efforts using Embryome Sciences’ proprietary Embryomics technology, International Stem Cell’s proprietary parthenogenetic stem cell lines derived from unfertilized human oocytes, and technology and approved hES cell lines licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
Data on these cell lines will be presented on Embryome Sciences’ online database.
Embryome Sciences also plans to develop and market other products for use by stem cell researchers, including growth and differentiation factors that can permit researchers to manufacture specific cell types from embryonic stem cells, and purification tools useful to researchers in quality control of products for regenerative medicine.
In addition to its own products, Embryome Sciences plans to market with Lifeline proprietary cell growth media optimized for the growth of human embryonic progenitor cells, as a product line called ESpan.

Artel to Distribute IonGate SURF2ER in North America
Artel and IonGate Biosciences this week announced a strategic partnership under which Artel will distribute IonGate’s products in North America.
The partnership will focus on IonGate’s SURFace Electrogenic Event Reader technology, dubbed SURFE2R, which is used to screen transporters as well as ligand-gated ion channels.
A label-free method, SURFE2R provides measurement assays that are functionally relevant for a growing array of protein targets. The technology is based on an electrode biochip that measures the electrical activity of membrane-bound proteins. This activity is observed through measurement of the capacitive charging of the sensor chip by ionic species as they are actively transported across the membrane by the protein targets of interest.

The Scan

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.

Researchers Retrace Key Mutations in Reassorted H1N1 Swine Flu Virus With Avian-Like Features

Mutations in the acidic polymerase-coding gene boost the pathogenicity and transmissibility of Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza viruses, a PNAS paper finds.

Genome Sequences Reveal Evolutionary History of South America's Canids

An analysis in PNAS of South American canid species' genomes offers a look at their evolutionary history, as well as their relationships and adaptations.

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.