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In Brief This Week: Beckman Coulter; Agilent; Avantra Biosciences, TGen; Eagle Genomics; Exiqon; and More

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Two private equity groups consisting of four firms have made second-round takeover offers for Beckman Coulter, The New York Times and Reuters reported Thursday. Blackstone Group and TPG Capital comprise one bidding group, and Appollo Global Management and the Carlyle Group form the other bidder. Reports have suggested Danaher is interested in Beckman Coulter as well, but neither news organization could confirm if it had also made a bid.

Reports surfaced early in December that Beckman had put itself up for sale and could fetch more than $5 billion in a deal.

Agilent Technologies signed an agreement this week to acquire specific assets of A2 Technologies, a Danbury, Conn.-based developer of Fourier transform infrared technology for lab and field use. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Agilent believes the acquisition will be a good fit with the spectroscopy business it gained through its acquisition of Varian last year.

Avantra Biosciences announced that it will work with TGen Drug Development to test and develop applications for its Q400 Biomarker Workstation. The Woburn, Mass.-based firm launched the Q400, which is an automated multiplex immunoassay system that can be used to evaluate the associations between elevated protein levels, unique patient characteristics, and drug responses, this week.

UK genomic data management and integration firm Eagle Genomics this week announced a collaboration with the University of Manchester to develop a commercial version of Taverna, the open source workflow management system. Eagle will provide commercial support for Tavera, while Taverna will develop new features for the Taverna product line. Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Exiqon this week launched its 2011 global research grant program with internal seed funding of €30,000 ($40,000). Awards will be granted to researchers at academic and non-profit institutions that drive projects "enhancing the understanding of how microRNA expression and function relates to normal cellular development and/or disease-related cellular pathways." Researchers can submit their proposed plans before Feb. 28 on the firm's website.

Genome Canada has launched a pilot program called Entrepreneurship Education in Genomics. The program is intended "to support initiatives to educate the Canadian genomics research community with respect to how to create and capture value from their research and translate their discoveries into marketable applications, products, technologies, systems, and processes," said Genome Canada. The Request for Applications for the program can be found here.

The Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research has changed its name to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

The Scan

mRNA-Based Vaccine on the Way in China

China may soon have its own mRNA-based vaccine, according to Nature News.

Arranged Killing, Fraud Alleged by Prosecutors

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors allege that the co-founder of a biotech arranged to have a business associate who threatened to expose him as a fraud killed.

Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

The New York Times looks back at the 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their CRISPR paper.

PNAS Papers on Blue Cone Monochromacy Structural Variants, HIV-1 Mutant, T-ALL

In PNAS this week: structural variants linked to blue cone monochromacy, HIV-1 variants affecting the matrix protein p17, and more.