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Takara, BD, Atto Bioscience, Scanalytics, ChemDiv, EuroScreen, Cenix


Japanese Biotech Takara Buys BD's Clontech Unit for $60M

Becton Dickinson has signed an agreement to sell its Clontech unit to Japanese firm Takara Bio for $60 million, BD recently announced.

The Clontech business had been on the block since October.

BD purchased the Clontech business in 1999 for $201 million. Several years of diminishing revenue returns and a realization that Clontech did not fit BD's business model made the sale a necessity for the medical device and diagnostics firm.

Takara sells restriction enzymes and PCR enzymes as part of its offering of molecular biology tools, though the firm also is developing cell- and gene-based therapies and biotech products for agricultural applications.

Takara said in a statement that Clontech's products "in gene function and protein interaction analysis with its newly engineered fluorescent proteins, as well as protein expression vectors" would complement Takara's existing tools. Among Clontech's products are the BD Atlas fluorescent labeling kits for expression profiling, NucleoSpin Extract kits for PCR purification, RNAi systems for regulating protein knockdown, and TransFactor Universal kits for studying transcription factor-DNA interaction.

BD's Atto Bioscience to Acquire Scanalytics for $453K

IT vendor CSP recently said it has sold the assets of its Scanalytics subsidiary to Becton Dickinson business Atto Bioscience for $453,000 in cash.

Scanalytics, based in Fairfax, Va., markets scientific imaging software, including deconvolution and 3D restoration and gel-analysis software. Atto Bioscience specializes in optical instrumentation, software, and reagents for real-time cell analysis.

Dietrich Ruehlmann, BD Biosciences' product manager for imaging and analysis, told CBA News last month (see CBA News, 6/20/2005) that BD began the partnership with Scanalytics a few months ago with the goal of developing image-analysis platforms for BD Biosciences' CARV II Confocal Imager and Pathway Bioimager for high-content drug screening.

ChemDiv and EuroScreen Collaborate on GPCR Drug Development

ChemDiv and Euroscreen have partnered to discover and develop drug candidates against a panel of chemokine receptors, a specific subset of G protein-coupled receptors involved in inflammation, immunomodulation, and carcinogenesis, the companies said last week.

Under the terms of the agreement, ChemDiv, based in San Diego, will contribute expertise in synthetic and medicinal chemistry, while Brussels, Belgium-based EuroScreen will develop GPCR assays for screening and molecular biology support.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cenix, IMM Collaborate on RNAi Screen for Malaria-Related Genes

Building on a recently completed pilot study, Cenix BioScience and the Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Portugal are collaborating to identify human genes necessary for the malaria infection process, the groups said last week.

According to the partners, the effort is initially focused on more than 800 genes, but may be expanded to the entire human genome should IMM be able to secure sufficient funding. Should it do so, IMM hopes that Cenix's technology will allow it to identify the best targets for new malaria treatments.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Cenix will be paid undisclosed fees to use its high-throughput RNAi technology to screen genes identified by IMM researcher Maria Mota. Cenix CEO and CSO Chris Echeverri last week told RNAi News, a CBA News sister publication, that IMM would own all results derived from the effort.

Mota has been working on malaria for almost a decade and has developed an in vitro assay system designed to track the process of sporozoite infection by the ANKA strain of the parasite Plasmodium berghei in cultured human liver cells, RNAi News reported.

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.