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Clinical Data Sells Cogenics to Focus on Rx, Biomarkers

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Clinical Data's sale of its genomic services unit to Beckman Coulter will not affect its pharmacogenomics efforts, but will enable it to better focus on its drug development and biomarker discovery programs, the company says.

Beckman Coulter's acquisition of Clinical Data's Cogenics business for around $17 million, announced this spring, "will have no impact on our focus as a pharmacogenomics company," according to Clinical Data CEO Drew Fromkin.

"Our Cogenics business was a completely separate operation (a service business to pharma/biotech/research institutions worldwide) from our PGxHealth division, which is our targeted therapeutics development and Dx genetic testing business," he adds.

Cogenics provides genomics services, such as DNA sequencing, gene expression, clinical and non-clinical genotyping, biomanufacturing support, nucleic-acid extraction, and biobanking. Clinical Data conducts R&D for its internal therapeutics and biomarker programs separate from its Cogenics operations.

According to Clinical Data, the Cogenics business will complement Beckman's Agencourt Biosciences business, which also offers genomics services and products for nucleic-acid purification.

Under the terms of the sale, Beckman will pay Clinical Data $15.4 million at the closing of the deal, which was expected in April. Clinical Data says that it also expects to retain around $2 million in cash from Cogenics immediately prior to the sale. In exchange, Beckman will acquire all of Cogenics' operations in the US, UK, France, and Germany.

The sale of Cogenics comes as Clinical Data is starting to run low on cash. In a February filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said that its cash availability was sufficient to fund operations through March 2009. The company said it would need between $25 million and $30 million to file the new drug application for its late-stage depression drug candidate vilazodone.

Turna Ray


PGx & Molecular Dx Notes

Nuvera Biosciences licensed some of its multi-gene pharmacogenomic assays to Veridex, which will commercialize the tests. The assays were developed for predicting patient response to tamoxifen therapy and taxane-containing chemotherapy in breast cancer.

Cepheid received the CE-IVD Mark under the European Directive on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices for its Xpert MRSA/SA nasal molecular diagnostic test. The test simultaneously detects methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus in less than an hour.

Beijing-based CapitalBio got clearance from the Chinese government to use its microarray-based diagnostics for autoimmine diseases, and it certified with the CE mark tests for tuberculosis testing in Europe.


Datapoint

$19 Million
Susan G. Komen for the Cure awarded nearly $19 million in research grants focused on pharmacogenomics in breast cancer.


Funded Grants

$377,500/FY 2009
Serum Biomarkers of COPD: a population-based prospective study
Grantee: Stefano Guerra, University of Arizona
Began: Feb. 1, 2009; Ends: Jan. 31, 2014
According to the abstract, "most studies of biomarkers of COPD have been limited by the use of only a few markers." Scientists will use an ongoing cohort study "to test a large panel of 133 candidate biomarkers variably involved in inflammation, innate immunity, proteolysis, detoxification and oxidative stress, adaptive immune responses to microorganisms, and auto-immune responses."

$293,229/FY 2008
Genome-wide prediction and analysis of coding variants
Grantee: Pauline Ng, J. Craig Venter Institute
Began: Sep. 1, 2008; Jun. 30, 2012
NHGRI awarded this grant to Ng to expand an algorithm she developed called SIFT. The tool currently predicts whether an amino acid substitution affects protein function, and the new work aims to add an algorithm "that will predict which small coding indels affect protein function and hence may be involved in disease," according to the abstract.

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