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In Brief This Week: Sigma-Aldrich; Bruker, Vutara; Qiagen; Xifin; Enzo Biochem; Accelerator; Bio-Techne, ProteinSimple

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Sigma-Aldrich said in its Form 10-Q filed last week with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects to eliminate about 80 jobs resulting from an upcoming facility consolidation in Europe. Employee termination costs are anticipated to be around $4 million, while potential asset disposal costs are estimated at up to $12 million. The company said that it expects closure activities to begin in the second half of 2014. Sigma-Aldrich had about 9,000 employees as of Dec. 31, 2013.


Bruker has acquired Vutara for an undisclosed amount. Vutara develops high-speed, three dimensional, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy for life science applications and is expected to record about $2 million in revenues for 2014. Bruker said the acquisition will strengthen its biological microscopy business by adding super-resolution and single-molecule localization microscopy products to its portfolio of multiphoton and fast, multipoint scanning confocal fluorescence microscopes.


Qiagen said in its Form 10-Q that it paid $41.7 million for three acquisitions during the first half of 2014. The payments were in the form of cash, net of cash acquired. A company spokesman said that two of the deals involved the purchase of PrimeraDx and Biobase, but the company is not disclosing the third acquisition. The deals did not have a material impact on Qiagen's net sales, net income, or earnings per share, it said in its SEC document.


Private equity firm GTCR has acquired Xifin, a provider of cloud-based software and services to diagnostic service providers, for an undisclosed amount. Xifin's technology enables end-to-end connectivity from patient to payor, and its customers include those in the molecular diagnostics space, as well as the patient management and toxicology market, clinical laboratories, and others. Earlier this month, GTCR signed a definitive agreement to buy Thermo Fisher Scientific's channel business Cole-Parmer for $480 million.


A federal judge has scheduled a Markman hearing for Aug. 18, during which he will issue rulings regarding the language and interpretation of Enzo Biochem's patents that are at the center of litigation pitting Enzo against Abbott Laboratories, Affymetrix, Agilent Technologies, Becton Dickinson, Gen-Probe (now Hologic), Illumina, Life Technologies (now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific), Luminex, Roche, and Siemens. Enzo is suing the firms alleging they infringe its patents. The Markman hearing involves US Patent No. 6,992,180; No. 7,064,197; and No. 8,097,405. At the hearing, which is being held in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, a judge will define the property rights for Enzo's technologies.


Life sciences investment and management firm Accelerator announced the first closing of the Accelerator IV funding round with $51.1 million in capital commitments. Accelerator also is expanding to include an office in New York City, in addition to its Seattle operation. It said that it plans to "infuse strategic venture capital, entrepreneurial leadership, and critical product development capabilities into the New York City life science cluster." Investors in the round included current investors Alexandria Venture Investments; Arch Venture Partners; and WRF Capital. New investors included Eli Lilly; Harris & Harris; Johnson & Johnson Development; the Partnership Fund for New York City; and Pfizer Venture Investments.


Bio-Techne has completed its $300 million acquisition of ProteinSimple in cash. ProteinSimple will operate as a division of Bio-Techne and will be headed by ProteinSimple's former CEO Tim Harkness. ProteinSimple's leadership team will remain in place after the closing of the acquisition, Bio-Techne said when the deal was originally announced in June. As a result of the deal, ProteinSimple has withdrawn its plan for an initial public offering.


In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.