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Daniel Marshak, Dietrich Ruehlmann, Beckman Coulter, Stratagene, Takara, Molecular Devices, Isogenica, GE Healthcare, Agilent, Nonlinear Dynamics, Nasdaq, Agilent, Locus Pharmaceuticals, Invitrogen


PerkinElmer has appointed Daniel Marshak as vice president and chief scientific officer. Marshak will be responsible for PerkinElmer's R&D strategy, and for "helping drive its growth strategies in the emerging areas of personalized medicine and predictive diagnostics," the company said in a statement.

Marshak joins the firm from Cambrex, where he was vice president and CTO. He currently serves as an adjunct associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is also an advisor to PharmaFrontiers.

Marshak holds a PhD from Rockefeller University and a BA in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University.

Cell-Based Assay News, a BioCommerce Week sister publication, reported last week that Dietrich Ruehlmann has left BD Biosciences and joined New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, a government organization that assists New Zealand biotechnology companies in commercial endeavors.

Ruehlmann was formerly product manager for imaging and analysis in the bioimaging systems division of BD Biosciences, based in Rockville, Md.


BioCommerce Briefs

Beckman Coulter Delays Q1 Report as It Investigates Ex-Employee Allegations; Hires Forensic Accountants

Beckman Coulter said last week that it will not file its 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31 on time while its board of directors examines a former employee's wrongful termination claims.

The employee, whom the company has not named, alleges in an April 17 letter that he was terminated for reporting "certain accounting and financial reporting issues" involving the obsolescence of about $25 million of inventory, accounting for returned equipment under lease, and disclosure of causes for change in expenses, the company said.

Beckman Coulter said its audit and finance committee has retained outside counsel and an outside forensic accounting firm to investigate.

Stratagene to Seek Licensing Revenues Following PCR Settlement with Takara

Stratagene and Takara Bio have settled an ongoing patent dispute related to PCR enzyme blends.

As a result of the settlement, "all pending litigation over patent issues in the US District Court for the District of Maryland and in the US Patent & Trademark Office will be dismissed," Stratagene said in an 8-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

"Potential disputes in the future will be avoided through cross-licenses of the parties' respective patent rights relating to enzyme blends," the company reported.

Stratagene did not disclose the financial details of the settlement, but said in the 8-K filing that each company "believes the principal, direct financial effect of the settlement will be the avoidance of the costs and risks of continued litigation."

The firms have agreed to pay "reasonable" royalties to each other under certain licensed patents, and each company will be free to independently license its patents to third parties.

In a subsequent statement, the company said that the settlement has "significantly strengthened its patent portfolio" in the PCR arena and that it will seek to establish a licensing program for competitors' products covered by the portfolio.

"We believe that there are a number of competitors selling products that are covered under our patent portfolio," Joseph Sorge, president and CEO of Stratagene, said in the statement. "It is our intention to make limited licenses available and recognize resulting licensing revenue."

Violence Causes Molecular Devices CEO to Cancel Sao Paolo Trip to Inspect New Facility

Ongoing violence and unrest in Sao Paolo, Brazil, has forced Molecular Devices CEO Joe Keegan to cancel a trip to a new facility the company created in that city, BioCommerce Week has learned.

Employees of the facility were not affected by the violence, Keegan said. The violence has left at least 97 people dead, mostly prisoners, police officers, and prison guards, according to local media.

This would have been Keegan's first trip to the Sao Paolo facility, which was created to bolster Molecular Devices' sales and support in South America (See BioCommerce Week 04/25/06).

Keegan said the unrest will not deter the company's plan to expand in Rio de Janeiro.

Isogenica Collaborates with GE Healthcare on Peptide Imaging Agents

Isogenica and GE Healthcare have begun collaborating on the discovery of peptide ligands for use as in vivo diagnostic and medical imaging compounds, the companies said this week.

Isogenica, based in Cambridge, UK, will use its CIS display technology to select peptide ligands that bind to two disease targets to be identified by GE Healthcare. GE Healthcare will have the option to further develop any imaging agent resulting from the collaboration.

The CIS display technology can identify peptides that bind with high affinity and specificity "to any given molecular target," Isogenica said. The in vitro display technology is based on the activity of RepA, a CIS-acting DNA-binding protein. Isogenica uses PCR and in vitro transcription and translation to make large polypeptide libraries in which each polypeptide is linked to its own encoding DNA sequence. The company then uses cycles of affinity selection to identify binding polypeptides that have a high affinity and fine specificity for a molecular target.

Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Agilent, Nonlinear Dynamics to Co-Market Bioanalyzer, Analysis Software

Nonlinear Dynamics and Agilent Technologies have signed a co-marketing agreement involving Agilent's 2100 bioanalyzer platform and Nonlinear's TL 120 CM software, the companies said last week.

Terms of the deal call for Nonlinear and Agilent to automate data exportation from Agilent's bioanalyzer for analysis, archiving, and data mining with Nonlinear's TL 120 DM software.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Nasdaq Drops Accelrys, Affy, Caliper, Luminex from Biotech Index, adds Genomic Health, Solexa

A number of genomics firms have been dropped from the Nasdaq Biotechnology index as part of a semi-annual update, the exchange said last week.

As a result of the re-ranking, which will become effective next Monday, Accelrys, Affymetrix, Caliper Life Sciences, and Luminex were among nine firms dropped from the index due to a change in their classification according to the Industry Classification Benchmark, a classification system created and maintained by Dow Jones and London's Financial Times and Stock Exchange.

Genomic Health and Solexa were among 15 firms added to the index in the re-ranking.

Nasdaq said that companies in the index must be classified as either a biotechnology or pharmaceutical firm based on the ICB and must also meet other eligibility criteria, "including listing on the Nasdaq National Market and meeting minimum requirements for market value, average daily share volume, and seasoning as a public company."

A Nasdaq spokesman was unable to provide details on the ICB reclassification status or other eligibility criteria for any of the firms affected by the update.

Agilent's Bio-Analytical Group Posts 8-Percent Revenue Growth; Sees Strong Demand for Genomics, Proteomics

Agilent Technologies this week reported 8-percent quarterly revenue growth for its Bio-Analytical Measurement segment amid an overall revenue increase of 12 percent.

For the company's second fiscal quarter ended April 30, orders in the BioAnalytical segment rose 4 percent to $401 million from $385 million in the same period of 2005.

Life sciences orders were up 4 percent, "with demand from traditional pharmaceutical customers down in the US, up modestly in Europe and up double digits in Asia compared to one year ago," the company said in a statement.

Demand for proteomics and genomics products was up more than 20 percent from last year, the company said.

Revenues for the Bio-Analytical segment increased 8 percent to $372 million from $344 million in the second quarter of 2005.

Agilent's total orders increased 21 percent to $1.59 billion from $1.32 billion, while total revenues rose 12 percent to $1.43 billion from $1.28 billion in the prior-year period.

The company's total R&D spending rose 4 percent to $197 million from $189 million in the comparable period of 2005.

Agilent's net income increased 21 percent to $115 million from $95 million.

The company held $2.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of April 30.

Locus Pharmaceuticals to Use Invitrogen's SelectScreen Platform

Invitrogen will provide Locus Pharmaceuticals with kinase screening services through its SelectScreen platform, Invitrogen said this week.

Invitrogen said that the platform will support Locus' discovery programs in the areas of cancer and inflammation.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Invitrogen said that it has added 123 new human protein kinases to its SelectScreen screening panel over the last 14 months and that it will continue to expand the panel this year.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.