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Agencourt Bioscience, Compugen and Diagnostic Products, Libya and European Union Researchers, Riken SNP Research Center, MDS Sciex and Applied Biosystems, and more

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Agencourt Opens New Headquarters; Plans to Expand Workforce to 100

Agencourt Bioscience has opened its new headquarters in Beverly, Mass., and announced plans to expand its current 80-person workforce to approximately 100 people by the end of 2004.

The new 30,000 square-foot facility more than doubles the size of Agencourt’s previous facility, the company said.

Agencourt said its relocation and expansion are being driven by the $27.2 million grant it received last fall from the National Human Genome Research Institute to serve as one of five NHGRI-funded large-scale sequencing centers.


Compugen, Diagnostic Products To Co-Develop Diagnostics

Compugen and Diagnostic Products plan to co-develop diagnostics based on Compugen’s biomarkers, the companies said this week.

Under the agreement, Diagnostic Products, of Los Angeles, plans to develop immunoassay- or nucleic acid-based diagnostics using potential biomarkers provided by Compugen. The companies want to focus on cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Compugen, of Tel Aviv, Israel, is entitled to milestone payments as well as royalties on the sales of any diagnostic products. Compugen also has the right to develop any biomarkers for therapeutic purposes.


Libya, EU May Use Genomics Tech to Study Goat, Camel Milk

Libya may soon be working with European researchers to study whether genomics technology can clear the way for widespread use of camel or goat milk for human consumption, according to a news report.

European Union research commissioner Philippe Busquin recently “highlighted the potential benefits” of a scientific partnership between the EU and Libya, including possible research into camel milk, the online news service just-food.com said in a report today.

Busquin said this collaboration may go into effect if Libya, which the West for decades claimed has ties to terrorist groups, joins the so-called Barcelona process for cooperation between the EU and the Mediterranean countries.

Research projects “could cover” genomics and veterinary research on Libyan goats and camels, just-foods.com reported. Scientists believe camel’s milk has “potential economic and health benefits” because it has relatively low allergic characteristics compared with cows’ milk.

Additional details of likely collaborations were not disclosed.

Click here to read more about the Barcelona process for cooperation between the EU and the Mediterranean countries.


Japan’s Riken Institute to Use HuBit Genomix’ SNP-Analysis Technology

The Riken SNP Research Center in Japan will use HuBit Genomix’ SNP-analysis technology LD Miner, the company said last week.

Co-developed with NTT Data, the Japan-based IT company, the LD Miner platform screens SNPs and disease-related genes using linkage disequilibrium information.

The SNP Research Center is one of the four research centers at the Riken Yokohama Institute.

Additional details of the deal were not disclosed.


MDS Sciex Pays ABI $40M For All of Its Proteomics IP

MDS Sciex will pay Applied Biosystems $40 million for a 50 percent interest in all intellectual property assets related to current ABI MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry systems and next-generation products that are currently under development.

The payment also will give MDS a 100-percent stake in certain MALDI-TOF product-related manufacturing and research and development assets.

The partners will contribute the MALDI-TOF and related intellectual property to Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex Instruments, a 50/50 joint venture of ABI and the MDS Sciex division.

As part of its responsibilities to the joint venture, Foster City, Calif.-based ABI will continue to market, sell, service, support, and provide research support to the MALDI-TOF products, which currently include the Voyager instruments and 4700 Proteomics Discovery System. ABI also will continue to market, sell, service, and support various mass spec and software products currently sold by the joint venture.

MDS Sciex will assume primary research and development and full manufacturing responsibility for the MALDI-TOF product lines. The firm will continue to provide research and development and manufacturing for products currently in the joint venture’s portfolio.


Accelrys to Help Northrop Grumman Build Bioagent Detectors for US Government

Accelrys will help aerospace giant Northrop Grumman research and develop bioagent detectors for the US Department of Homeland Security, Accelrys said this week.

Terms of the agreement call for Accelrys to use its statistical modeling and analysis technology to help determine the “anticipated sensitivity and selectivity” of the detectors, which the DHS will use to monitor for the presence of certain undisclosed bacteria, viruses, and toxin-proteins.

It was not immediately known which software Accelrys will contribute to the collaboration.

Northrop Grumman was one of 14 companies and universities contracted by the Homeland Security Advance Research Projects Agency to research and develop “measures for defending against biological threats.”

The aerospace company will receive a portion of a $48 million award among these 14 teams during an initial 18-month R&D phase. Accelrys did not disclose whether or how much it will be paid for its contribution. Northrop Grumman and Accelrys will be developing Bioagent Autonomous Networked Detectors, which will be used to continuously monitor for bioagents in outdoor urban areas, the companies said.


Cellomics to Provide HCS Equipment for China’s National Center for Drug Screening

Cellomics will work with the National Center for Drug Screening in Shanghai, China, in the area of high content screening.

Cellomics will serve as a “strategic partner” in the establishment of an HCS program at the center, according to a statement by Ming-Wei Wang, director of the NCDS. Further terms of the agreement were not provided.

The National Center for Drug Screening is affiliated with the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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