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Znomics, University of Utah — Huntsman Cancer Institute, Nikon Instruments, A.G. Heinze, Assay Designs, Medical University of South Carolina, Amnis, Gene Company, BioFocus DPI, Allergan, State Street Bank, Applied Biosystems

Znomics, University of Utah Ink Drug Discovery Deal
Znomics announced this week a collaborative research program with the University of Utah and its Huntsman Cancer Institute to develop pre-clinical compounds for the treatment of T-cell leukemia, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and complications related to organ transplantation.
Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed. However, Znomics will fund the program and receive full commercial rights to the discoveries.
The research will be led by HCI investigator and pediatric oncologist Nikolaus Trede. Trede and his team, in collaboration with Znomics' researchers, plan to develop proprietary T-cell disease assays in the zebrafish. These assays, based on endogenous T-cell markers, will then be used to screen the university's compound library to identify leads to be further developed for clinical testing.
Trede will also join Znomics' scientific advisory board (see Migrations, this issue). 

Nikon to Distribute Bioscience Imaging Products In SoCal, SW US
Nikon Instruments announced this week that it has begun direct sales and technical support in the Southern California and Rocky Mountain territories for its bioscience microscopes, confocal systems, and digital imaging products, as well as its industrial products, including industrial microscopes and measuring and vision systems. These regions were previously served by AG Heinze.
Nikon began distribution on April 1, following the retirement of Greg Heinze, the president of AG Heinze. The former AG Heinze territory now directly serviced by Nikon consists of Southern California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and Idaho.
In addition, Nikon will retain most of the AG Heinze sales representatives to support customers’ measuring, biomedical, and imaging requirements. The company will also open a new Southwest Regional office in Orange County, Calif. This office will provide a base of operations for the new direct sales team, regional sales administration staff, and customer service personnel.

Assay Designs, MUSC Collaborate on Hsp90 Ab Project
Assay Designs this week announced a collaboration on a joint antibody research project with Jennifer Isaacs' laboratory at the Medical University of South Carolina. Under the terms of this agreement, Assay Designs will provide anti-heat shock protein 90 antibody for both cell- and animal-based work.
Isaacs, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the Medical University of South Carolina, said in a statement, "I am excited about the prospect of utilizing this antibody to target the Hsp90 chaperone and to potentially curtail the metastatic properties of some cancers.” She went on to say that MUSC now has a new tool to explore the role of cell surface-localized Hsp90 protein in cancer progression. This approach paves the way for a promising therapeutic strategy, because this antibody is well-tolerated in animals.
The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Amnis, Gene Company Join Forces to Sell ImageStream in China
Amnis and Gene Company this week announced the completion of an agreement under which Gene Company will sell and service the Amnis ImageStream system in China.
Effective immediately, the scientific research communities in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou now have access to Amnis’ cell analysis technology.

Biofocus DPI to Develop Assays, Screen Allergan Targets
Galapagos’ service division, BioFocus DPI, will provide assay development and high-throughput screening services for several Allergan targets, Galapagos announced this week. BioFocus DPI’s computational chemists also plan to work together with Allergan to select compounds from the Allergan and BioFocus DPI compound libraries for screening against these targets.
Total contract value for Galapagos could reach up to €1.3 million ($2 million) over the next 12 months, contingent on the number of BioFocus DPI compounds screened.

State Street Takes 5.1 Percent Stake in Applied Biosystems
Boston-based State Street Bank and Trust disclosed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it now holds a 5.1 percent stake in Applied Biosystems.
According to this week’s filing, State Street owns 8,590,589 shares of ABI’s stock. The bank said in the filing that the shares “were acquired in the ordinary course of business and were not acquired for the purpose of and do not have the effect of changing or influencing the control of the issuer.”
Last week, investment firm SAC Capital Advisors disclosed in an SEC filing that it had increased its stake in ABI to 5.1 percent and encouraged ABI’s board of directors to explore strategic alternatives for the firm including a possible sale.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.