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David Onions, John Murphy, Michael Schubert, Ian Sanders, Michael Hunkapiller, Ian Currie, Pauline Gee, Anosheh Amery, Agilent, ExonHit, Nonlinear, Waters, Invitrogen, Scripps, ABI, Affibody, Protedyne, MDS Sciex


David Onions has been promoted to chief medical officer of Invitrogen, a new position, the company said last week. He used to be chief scientific officer for BioReliance, a company Invitrogen acquired in 2004. As CMO, Onions will be responsible for guiding Invitrogen's scientific efforts as it moves into areas more closely associated with medical research and closer to patients. He is also a personal chair in veterinary molecular virology at the University of Glasgow. Onions holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and a BVSc from Bristol University.

John Murphy will resign as executive vice president and chief operating officer of PerkinElmer on Oct. 22, the company said in an SEC filing last week. Murphy departs "for personal reasons relating to his decision not to relocate fro California to Massachusetts," according to PerkinElmer. The company will not make any payments to or accelerate any benefits for Murphy as a result of his resignation other than payment of a pro rata portion of his second-half 2005 cash bonus under the company's performance incentive plan.

Bruker Daltonics announced the promotion of Michael Schubert to the position of executive vice president and managing director of the firm's German operations, Bruker Daltonik GmbH. The firm also promoted Ian Sanders to the post of vice president for European life science sales.

Michael Hunkapiller has been appointed to the board of directors of Fluidigm, the company said last week. The appointment coincides with an investment by Alloy Ventures, the investment capital firm Hunkapiller joined in 2004. Prior to that, he was general manager and president of Applied Biosystems. He holds a PhD in chemical biology from Caltech and a BS in chemistry from Oklahoma Baptist University.

Nonlinear Dynamics has appointed Ian Currie as European sales manager. Currie joins the firm from Amersham Biosciences (now part of GE Healthcare) where he worked for six years as project manager for the development of the company's DeCyder 2D gel analysis software.

Pauline Gee has become vice president and general manager, and Anosheh Amery vice president of sales and marketing of the biosystems division of CeMines.

Gee joins CeMines from MDS Pharma Services, where she was vice president of predictive biology, responsible for directing the company's chemogenomics and toxicogenomics efforts. She holds a PhD in free radical chemistry from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.

Amery comes to CeMines from Invitrogen, where he directed the launch of more than 15 new products and managed the evaluation and strategic planning of new business opportunities. Prior to Invitrogen, Amery was at Qiagen. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Physiological Sciences from UCLA and an MBA from SDA Bocconni in Milan, Italy.


BioCommerce Briefs

Agilent to Distribute ExonHit's Alternative Splicing Microarrays

Agilent Technologies will distribute alternative splicing microarrays from ExonHit Therapeutics, the companies said last week.

Under the agreement, Agilent will directly sell ExonHit's SpliceArrays to customers, who will also purchase a license agreement from ExonHit, with license fees proportional to the number of arrays bought.

The arrays' probe design allows users to detect both the reference and alternatively spliced forms of targeted genes on Agilent's microarray platform.

The two companies have been collaborating on the arrays since last November. So far, they had only been available through ExonHit's SpliceArray Service, which was announced in February.

Nonlinear Dynamics Inks Proteomic Pacts with Waters, Invitrogen

Nonlinear Dynamics and Waters will co-market and co-develop their respective 2D gel-analysis and protein mass spectrometry-analysis software products, the companies recently announced.

The pact was announced one day after Invitrogen said it would market and distribute a number of products from Nonlinear Dynamics' TotalLab and Progenesis lines. Terms of the deal call for the products, which include tools for 1D and 2D electrophoresis-gel analysis, to be marketed with Invitrogen's proteomics technologies, especially the firm's own 1D and 2D gel electrophoresis line.

The companies said they plan to "work together to integrate further" other product lines. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the agreement with Waters, the two firms will co-market Nonlinear's Progenesis 2D gel electrophoresis analysis software and Waters' ProteinLynx Global Server 2.2.5 protein mass informatics system.

The partners also said they intend to jointly develop their products further, adding multivariate approaches to discovery research and orthogonal label-free protein quantification strategies.

Invitrogen, Scripps to Co-Develop Methods for Studying Membrane Proteins

Invitrogen and the Scripps Research Institute are collaborating on new methods to study membrane proteins, the partners recently announced.

Under the direction of Geoffrey Chang, a group leader at Scripps, scientists at Scripps and Invitrogen's proteomics R&D group will try to develop better ways to express, isolate, and characterize membrane proteins.

Invitrogen will have the right to commercialize resulting technologies in the research and drug-screening markets.

ABI Developing New ProGroup Protein Identification Software; Japanese Unit Forms Science Center

Researchers at Applied Biosystems are developing a new protein identification software called ProGroup that could result in a 20 percent to 50 percent increase in protein identification from mass spectra, according to an ABI researcher.

ABI's Sean Seymour, who gave a presentation on the new software two weeks ago at the Seventh International Symposium on Mass Spectrometry in the Health and Life Sciences, said ProGroup focuses on the inference of protein identifications from peptide identifications, rather than on peptide scoring.

"Most of the heavy algorithm work in conventional protein identification softwares goes into scoring peptides," said Seymour. "But there's a limit to better scoring functions, because not all peptides fragment well. What we've done is focus on the protein inference problem. ProGroup takes a different approach to protein identification."

Seymour said the ProGroup software is currently in the research stage, and he does not know when it might be released.

ABI also announced that its Applied Biosystems Japan division has founded the Science Center Japan, a center to promote collaborations between Japanese researchers and business partners in the life sciences.

Science Center Japan will receive personnel, equipment, financial resources, and information from ABI and ABI Japan. Application specialists from ABI also plan to collaborate with outside organizations.

Affibody to Develop, Produce Protein Ligands for Agilent's Sample Prep Products

Affibody of Stockholm, Sweden, will develop protein affinity ligands for Agilent Technologies' protein sample preparation products, the companies recently announced.

Under the agreement, Affibody will design and develop affinity capture ligands for certain proteins specified by Agilent, using its Affibody technology. Agilent plans to incorporate these reagents into its protein removal technology for sample preparation. Eventually, Affibody will supply Agilent with production quantities of the reagents.

Affibody molecules are highly specific affinity proteins that mimic monoclonal antibodies. They are produced by combinatorial protein engineering applied on a proprietary scaffold.

Protedyne Completes $10M Series D Financing Round

Protedyne said last week that it has raised a total of $10 million in a Series D round of financing.

Investors included investment bank and new participant Allen & Company, as well as existing investors The Sprout Group, Meridian Venture Partners, Long River Ventures, Village Venture Partners, and Boston Community Venture Funds, Protedyne said.

Qiagen had also previously participated in the Series D financing, Protedyne said.

Protedyne plans to use the proceeds for working capital purposes, including enhancements to its BioCube laboratory automation product, the company said.

MDS Sciex Could Benefit from Parent's Restructuring

MDS Sciex could benefit from its parent company's plans to restructure and focus resources and management on life sciences markets.

MDS said last week that it would restructure its business in order to refocus resources on markets served by its MDS Pharma Services, MDS Nordion, and MDS Sciex units.

MDS further plans to reduce its overhead costs and "better align resources and infrastructure costs," according to the company. As part of its restructuring, the company will reduce its workforce by approximately 500 of its 9,000 employees, resulting in savings of $40 million-$45 million in 2006.

"A review of company assets which are not part of MDS's core focus is underway and focused on maximization of shareholder value," said MDS President and CEO Stephen DeFalco in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how the restructuring will specifically affect MDS Sciex, which makes mass spectrometers for drug discovery and life sciences. MDS Sciex has joint ventures with both Applied Biosystems and PerkinElmer.

The Scan

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.

Rett Syndrome Mouse Model Study Points to RNA Editing Possibilities

Investigators targeted MECP2 in mutant mouse models of Rett syndrome, showing in PNAS that they could restore its expression and dial down symptoms.

Investigators Find Shared, Distinct Genetic Contributors to Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma

An association study in JAMA Network Open uncovers risk variants within and beyond the human leukocyte antigen locus.

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.