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Snippets: Apr 29, 2009

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MDS Pharma, Compendia to Develop Cancer PGx Platform

MDS Pharma Services and Compendia Bioscience have collaborated to develop a pharmacogenomic platform for use in cancer patients and therapeutics research, MDS said this week.

The new OncoPredictor platform combines MDS Pharma Services' OncoPanel, which offers high-content screening of up to 240 cancer cell lines for sensitivity to specific cancer drugs and drug combinations, with Compendia's Oncomine database. Oncomine provides genomic characterization and comparison of cancer cell lines to 2,000 disease signatures from 27,000 reference patients.

The combined OncoPredictor system will analyze drug sensitivity and resistance of novel drugs and drug combinations for cancer research, the companies said.

"Our pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients seek to determine the efficacy of their compounds across cancer genotypes and patient phenotypes," Compendia's CEO Dan Rhodes said in a statement. "OncoPredictor will help provide the answer with technology for information-based lead selection, predictive in vivo study design and biomarker development."


CombiMatrix Gets $8.3M Commitment from Investors

CombiMatrix has received commitments from undisclosed investors to purchase up to $8.25 million of the firm's common stock and warrants through a direct offering, the company said this week.

The molecular diagnostics and genetic analysis company said that it has agreed to sell roughly 1.1 million units for $7.50 each, with each unit consisting of one share of common stock and one warrant to purchase another share at a price of $9. The warrants can be exercised six months after the offering and have a term of five years.

The company expects proceeds from the offering to add up to around $7.6 million.

"This financing strengthens our balance sheet and should enable us to continue expanding our leading portfolio of array based diagnostic tests as well as our growing sales and marketing activities," CombiMatrix President and CEO Amit Kumar said in a statement. "We also hope to further strengthen our balance sheet upon receipt of the $36 million judgment from National Union in the future."

CombiMatrix is awaiting a payment of around $36 million from a judgment in its favor from the US District Court for the Central District of California that ordered the National Union Fire Insurance Company to pay the company that amount for refusing to defend and indemnify CombiMatrix under its director and officer's insurance policy.


Decode Genetics Gets Stay from Nasdaq Delisting

Decode Genetics said this week that it has received a letter from the Nasdaq that effectively stays delisting of the firm's stock from the Nasdaq Capital Market.

The Nasdaq Listing and Hearing Review Council called for a review of an April 22 determination of the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel that it would delist Decode's shares on April 30.

The firm's shares will continue to trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market during the review period. Decode did not provide an estimate of how long the review would take.

Decode's shares have been under threat of delisting for several months. The cash-strapped firm said in December that it was conducting a review of its business strategy with a goal of sharpening its business focus and selling non-core assets, among other aims.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.