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In Brief This Week: Agilent; Genomic Health; Vermillion; Strategic Diagnostics; Focus Ahead Consulting, Integrated Genomics; IDBS

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agilent Technologies this week signed a definitive agreement to sell its network solutions business to JDS Uniphase for $165 million in cash. Agilent said that it believes the business, which brought in annual revenues of $162 million for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31, "will be better served by a company that is focused exclusively on communications network testing."

A life sciences investment fund has purchased around $5.8 million worth of Genomic Health's stock. The fund, Baker Brothers Life Sciences, purchased 341,854 shares of Genomic Health's common stock between Feb. 8 and Feb. 10. Julian Baker, managing member of Baker Brothers Advisors, serves as a member of Genomic Health's board of directors.

Vermillion's board of directors has approved the firm's 2010 Stock Incentive Plan, which authorizes the firm to issue up to 1,322,983 shares of common stock. The plan was approved just a few weeks after the firm emerged from US Bankruptcy Protection.

Strategic Diagnostics announced this week that it will now do business under the name SDIX, which also is its stock ticker symbol on Nasdaq.

UK-based Focus Ahead Consulting will represent and market Integrated Genomics' genome sequencing and bioinformatics services in Europe. Integrated Genomics sells the Ergo informatics platform for microbial systems biology.

IDBS said this week that its biomarker discovery and validation solution will be a key component in an $11 million National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute awarded to the Lung Genomics Research Consortium to create a molecular roadmap for chronic lung diseases. The project's infrastructure will be developed and hosted by the new Center for Cancer Computational Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The IDBS solution is based on its InforSense and E-WorkBook Suites, which will "provide the infrastructure to manage, analyze and visualize the phenotypic and genomic data generated in the project."

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.