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Servier, Definiens, MitoSciences, University of Oregon, BioTime, Embryome Sciences, David H. Murdock Research Institute, Carl Zeiss MicroImaging, Fluidigm, North Carolina Biomanufacturing and Pharmaceutical Training Consortium, NCBIOIMPACT, Pfizer, Lingua

Servier Installs Definiens Software at French Research Facilities
France’s Servier announced this week that it has decided to install Definiens’ image analysis software in its two core discovery research facilities located in Suresnes and Croissy-sur-Seine. These research centers focus on brain disease, cardiovascular disease, neuropsychopharmacology, and oncology.
Preceded by several successful test projects, this strategic decision was made internally in fall 2007.

MitoSciences Licenses Antibody Tech for Cell-Based Screening
MitoSciences has agreed to an exclusive license for monoclonal antibodies from the University of Oregon for use in its cell-based drug toxicity screening tests and multiplexing assays, the Eugene, Ore.-based company said this week.
The University will receive royalties from patent-related sales and $4.6 million in fixed quarterly cash payments over 10 years.
The agreement also gives MitoSciences exclusive commercialization rights for a portfolio of “biological assets,” and an exclusive license for several patents covering the use of monoclonal antibodies that recognize mitochondrial antigens, the company said.

BioTime Opens News Facility, Inks Development and Distribution Deal With Lifeline Cell Technologies
BioTime announced this week that it has opened an 11,000-square-foot tissue culture facility in Alameda, Calif. The facility is Good Manufacturing Practice-capable and has previously been certified as Class 1000 and Class 10000 laboratory space. It includes cell culture and manufacturing equipment previously validated for use in GMP manufacture of cell-based products.
BioTime said that it plans to move its headquarters from its current location in Emeryville, Calif., to this new lab and office space.
BioTime's subsidiary, Embryome Sciences, will use the facility for the production and marketing of embryonic progenitor cells, progenitor cell lines, and products derived from those embryonic progenitor cell lines.
BioTime and Embryome Sciences also recently announced that they have signed a letter of intent with International Stem Cell Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology to jointly produce and distribute research products for human embryonic stem cell technology.
Under a collaborative production and manufacturing agreement, the parties intend to manufacture ESpy cell lines, which are complex derivatives of hES cells that send light signals in response to the activation of particular genes, as well as a host of supplies for use in the field of stem cell research.
The progenitor cell lines will be produced and distributed in joint efforts using Embryome Science's proprietary Embryomics technology, its future online database, and technology and approved hES cell lines licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Lifeline will contribute its manufacturing and quality control experience.

Murdock Research Institute Taps Carl Zeiss as Microscopy Vendor
The David H. Murdock Research Institute has chosen Carl Zeiss MicroImaging, to supply light microscopy and biological imaging systems for its microscopy core facility, Zeiss announced this week.
The DHMRI is scheduled to open this summer in Kannapolis, NC.
Available microscopy and imaging techniques at the facility will include 2-photon microscopy, laser scanning microscopy, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, high-content cellular screening, laser microdissection, and epi-fluorescence microscopy. The DHMRI will be among the first institutions in the world to take delivery of the new LSM 710 confocal microscopes.
A full-time Carl Zeiss embedded consultant will be available on the DHMRI campus to offer technical support.
Carl Zeiss and the DHMRI have also agreed to partner in offering microscopy and fluorescence imaging courses at the facility for area high school and university students.

Fluidigm Looks to Raise up to $86.25M in IPO
Fluidigm this week filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of common stock.
The South San Francisco, Calif.-based firm did not disclose how many shares it intends to offer, and the preliminary prospectus did not provide an estimated range for the offering’s share price. However, it noted that the proposed maximum amount it intends to raise is $86.25 million.
Fluidigm makes integrated fluidic circuit systems for performing life science experiments in parallel on a single chip. One of its fluidic systems, the BioMark, is used for gene expression analysis, genotyping, and digital PCR, while another, the Topaz system, is used for protein crystallization research.
For the year ended Dec. 29, 2007, Fluidigm had revenues of $7.3 million and a net loss of $25.5 million, or $2.63 per share. As of that date, it had $40.4 million in cash, cash equivalents, and available-for-sale securities, according to the filing. Its total accumulated deficit from inception through the end of 2007 was $133.8 million.
Among the risk factors cited by Fluidigm in its prospectus is that the sales cycle for its products is “lengthy and predictable, which makes it difficult for us to forecast revenue and could cause significant quarterly fluctuations in revenue and other operating results.” The firm also noted that it receives a substantial portion of its revenues from a limited number of customers.
The firm intends to float on the Nasdaq market under the symbol “FLDM,” and anticipates having roughly 66.6 million shares outstanding following the IPO.
Morgan Stanley is the book-running manager for the offering, with UBS and Leerink Swann acting as co-managers.

NC Consortium Gets New Name, Logo
The North Carolina Biomanufacturing and Pharmaceutical Training Consortium is now NCBIOIMPACT, the organization announced this week.
The new name was chosen to improve recognition and streamline access to the collaboration of multiple North Carolina education, industry, and nonprofit organizations that comprise the consortium.
The new name and accompanying logo were developed with the assistance of Forma, a Raleigh-based marketing firm specializing in biotech, life science, and high technology.

Pfizer to use Linguamatics Text-Mining Software in New Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center
Linguamatics, a provider of natural language processing technology, said this week that it has extended an existing collaboration with Pfizer.
Under the terms of the extended agreement, Pfizer will use Linguatmatics' I2E text-mining software within its Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center, a new “entrepreneurial” R&D center that the company created last fall with the goal of advancing translational research via internal development as well as in-licensing and incubating new technologies and research tools.
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
David de Graaf, director of systems biology at Pfizer, said in a statement that the company was previously using I2E “for focused knowledge discovery from large document collections in a variety of R&D applications.”
Under the extended agreement, he said, Pfizer is using the platform “to inform research decisions” within the Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.