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Molecular Devices, One Cell Systems, First Annual Cell Signaling Symposium, CellFactors and Cytomyx Holdings, Neurogen, Palo Alto Research Center and Scripps Research Institute, and Beckman Coulter

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Molecular Devices Posts Best Quarter in its History

Molecular Devices of Sunnyvale, Calif., announced on April 22 that its 2004 first-quarter earnings and revenues set a record for the company.

Revenues for the quarter, which ended March 31, were $27.3 million, an increase of 11 percent compared to the first quarter of last year, the company said. In addition, operating income for the first quarter of 2004 was $2.2 million, an increase of 198 percent compared to the first quarter of 2003.

The company held a conference call to discuss the earnings announcement on April 23. The live webcast of this call is archived on the company's website, http://www.moleculardevices.com, and will be available through April 30.


One Cell Captures NCI Grant for Telomerase Detection

One Cell Systems announced on April 21 that it had been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant by the National Cancer Institute to develop a FISH assay to detect levels of telomerase mRNA in cancer cells. The total amount of the award is $956,149.

An assay for detecting telomerase mRNA in single cells could have major implications for clinical oncology, as telomerase activation is implicated in the onset of most cancers. Such an assay is not currently available, and One Cell plans to develop one that can be performed in solution, thereby permitting analysis via flow cytometry.


First Annual Cell Signaling Symposium to be Held June 6-9, 2004

The First Annual Cell Signaling Symposium is slated to take place June 6-9 at the West Park Centre, Dundee, UK. The symposium, entitled "Regulation and Therapeutic Potential of the PI 3-Kinase/PKB Signaling Pathway," will be co-sponsored by Upstate of Charlottesville, Va., and the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit at the University of Dundee.

Stephen O'Rahilly of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge will deliver the keynote lecture on Sunday, June 6, on the identification of novel genes that predispose populations to diabetes and obesity. Additional information about the conference can be found at http://www.upstate.com/symposium.


CellFactors Licenses Human-Brain Derived Cell Lines to Cytomyx

Cytomyx Holdings of Cambridge, UK, announced April 20 that it would develop and commercialize a range of immortalized human brain-derived cell lines, called NeuCell, developed by researchers at Cambridge-based CellFactors.

Under the terms of the exclusive agreement, Cytomyx will receive access to 11 distinct NeuCell lines, and will further validate the products and be responsible for worldwide commercialization. The companies will share revenues from sales of the product.


Neurogen Closes $100M Private Placement

Neurogen announced on April 20 that the company stockholders approved the sale of $100 million of newly-issued common stock at a price of $7 per share. The private placement was led by Warburg Pincus and Baker Brothers Investments.

Neurogen said it expects to use the proceeds to more fully exploit the capabilities of its drug discovery platform by expanding the company's capacity to pursue new drug targets. The company uses cellular functional assays and its Accelerated Intelligent Drug Discovery system to identify and screen new chemical compounds.


Palo Alto Research Center and Scripps Partner to Form New Institute

The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and La Jolla-based Scripps Research Institute, both in California, announced on April 19 that they will partner to form the Scripps-PARC Institute for Advanced Biomedical Studies.

The announcement came on the same day that the combined institute unveiled its first new technology, the Fiber Array Scanning Technology cytometer for detecting and monitoring rare cancer cells in the bloodstream as a diagnostic tool. The institute says that the tech-nology can detect cancer cells almost 500 times faster than digital microscopy, the current gold standard.


Beckman Coulter to Hold First-Quarter Results Conference Call

Beckman Coulter will host a conference call on Monday, May 3, at 9:30 AM Eastern time to discuss the results of the company's first quarter, which ended on March 31. The call will be hosted by John Wareham, Beckman Coulter's chairman and chief executive officer, and will also be available via live webcast, at http://www.beckmancoulter.com.

The Scan

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.

Study Reviews Family, Provider Responses to Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing Follow-up

Investigators identified in the European Journal of Human Genetics variable follow-up practices after rapid whole-genome sequencing.

BMI-Related Variants Show Age-Related Stability in UK Biobank Participants

Researchers followed body mass index variant stability with genomic structural equation modeling and genome-wide association studies of 40- to 72-year olds in PLOS Genetics.

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.