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Serologicals Upstate Group and Array Biopharma, Novasite Pharmaceuticals and OriGene, BioFocus, Cellular Genomics and Serono, and Caliper Life Sciences

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Serologicals’ Upstate Unit Inks Four Drug-Screening Agreements

Serologicals’ Upstate Group last week said it has signed agreements to provide drug-screening services to Array Biopharma and three pharmaceutical companies.

The drug makers will use Upstate’s KinaseProfiler service to help them determine the selectivity and specificity of candidate compounds, the company said.

The names of the three drug makers or financial details of the transactions were not disclosed.

Upstate is a wholly owned subsidiary of Serologicals, which acquired the firm in a $205 million cash-and-stock purchase in September 2004.


Novasite to Use OriGene’s cDNA Collection

OriGene said last week that Novasite Pharmaceuticals has licensed subscription access to its TrueClone collection of 24,000 full-length human cDNAs, suitable for transfection and high-throughput functional analyses.

“The OriGene TrueClone collection will complement our endogenously expressed receptor cell lines and jumpstart our programs to screen families of GPCRs for allosteric modulators,” Juan Ballesteros, chief scientific officer for Novasite, said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


BioFocus Launches HT Ion Channel Screening Service

BioFocus, based in Chesterford Research Park, UK, has launched an ion channel screening service, the company said last week at the Screening Europe conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

The service will be based on atomic spectroscopy, and will allow pharmaceutical companies to pre-screen their libraries against defined cell lines, and identify promising compounds to take forward into more time-consuming electrophysiological studies, BioFocus said.

If required, BioFocus can also undertake selectivity profiling against a panel of key indicators, the company said.


Cellular Genomics Hits Milestone in Serono Kinase Drug-Discovery Deal

Cellular Genomics said last week that it has completed a performance milestone in its joint kinase drug discovery program with Serono.

Under the alliance, Cellular Genomics has been applying its chemical genetics Analog Sensitivity Kinase technology to a number of target kinases selected by Serono.

The milestone relates to the successful development of Chemical Genomics’ in vivo models for kinase drug discovery, and has entitled the company to an undisclosed performance payment, it said.


Caliper Q4 Net Revenues Up 12 Percent; Loss Narrows 65 Percent

Caliper Life Sciences last week reported a 12-percent increase in revenues for its fourth quarter, ending Dec. 31, while its net loss narrowed 65 percent, the company said.

Caliper had total revenues of $24 million for the period, up from $21 million for the same quarter last year. The company’s net loss was $7 million, compared to $20 million in the year-ago period. Caliper said it absorbed a $3.6 million non-cash charge in the quarter for closing the second of its three facilities in Mountain View, Calif. The company said it took the charge because of a “low probability of obtaining sublease income” from the facilities.

The company reported R&D costs of $4.7 million, compared to $7.6 million in its fourth quarter of 2003, and cash and cash equivalents of $9.4 million, and short-term marketable securities of $40 million.

Caliper said it expects first-quarter revenues of $17 million to $19 million, and to reach the operating cash-flow breakeven point in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The Scan

Follow-Up Data Requests to Biobank Participants Ineffective, Study Finds

An effort to recontact biobank enrollees for additional information reports low participation in a new BMJ Open study.

Study Finds Widespread Transmission of Resistant Bacteria in Vietnam Hospitals

A sequencing study in The Lancet Microbe finds widespread transmission of drug-resistant Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Acinetobacter baumannii in two Vietnam ICUs.

Novel Brain Cell Organoids Show Promise for Autism Research

University of Utah researchers report in Nature Communications on their development of brain cell organoids to study SHANK3-related autism.

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.