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Beckman Coulter, Agencourt Bioscience, Cepheid, US DoD, Walter Reed, Affymetrix, Caliper Life Sciences, Genaissance, Perlegen, General Electric, Eli Lilly, Transgenomic, Geron


Beckman to Acquire Agencourt For Up to $140M; Plans New 'Personal Genomics' Spin-Off

Beckman Coulter intends to purchase Agencourt Bioscience for up to $140 million in cash, the companies said this week.

Beckman plans to acquire all of Agencourt's outstanding stock for $100 million in cash and make up to $40 million in contingent payments through 2007. Following the acquisition, which is expected to close near the end of May, Agencourt will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Beckman, and will remain based in Beverly, Mass.

Agencourt's management team and its workforce of about 100 will remain in place, according to the company.

In addition, Agencourt and Beckman plan a spin-off, to be called Agencourt Personal Genomics, which will develop a "sequencing by synthesis" approach for sequencing individuals' genomes.

Agencourt provides genome-sequencing services and a bead-based nucleic acid purification technology called SPRI. It is one of five large-scale sequencing centers funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Beckman Coulter Leases New Facility Near Los Angeles

Beckman Coulter is one of the new tenants in a newly constructed office park in southern California, according to local news reports.

The 138-acre Chino South Business Park, developed by Oltmans Construction Co. and Carson Co., comprises a 182,000-square-feet lease and a 137,000-square-foot lease.

The building that will house Beckman Coulter is located in Chino, west of Los Angeles, and is a "concrete tilt-up structure" designed by RGA Architects of Irvine, Calif., according to Beckman is headquartered in Fullerton, located southwest of Chino.

The website quoted Matt Vanderhorst, president of the Carson Cos., as saying that Beckman Coulter leased the new facility. The size or duration of Beckman's lease was not immediately known. Calls to Beckman Coulter were not immediately returned.

When completed, the Chino South Business Parkwill have 2.5 million square feet of real estate, and "is designed for major distribution operations as well as companies that require extensive and sophisticated tenant improvements," the website reported. It added that Fischer Scientific is currently an occupant with a 162,000 square-foot lease.

Cepheid, US DoD, Walter Reed to Develop RT-PCR Assay for Leishmaniasis

Cepheid and the US Department of Defense/Walter Reed Army Institute of Research intend to co-develop a Real-Time PCR reagent to detect Leishmaniasis in the field, the company said this week.

Cepheid said the test will be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and will be "IVD-quality." It will use the company's bead technology and run off Cepheid's SmartCycler system. The test will be available to US troops "late this year," the company said.

The RT-PCR test is expected to deliver results in one hour after DNA extraction, compared with the two to three weeks for culture-based tests, according to Cepheid.

The Leishmaniasis project is being produced as part of Cepheid's Customer Specific Reagent program, in which Cepheid processes reagents developed by customers.

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by sand fly bites that has affected nearly 1,000 military personnel during the current war in Iraq, Cepheid said.

Affymetrix Licenses Caliper's Microfluidics Technology

Caliper Life Sciences has licensed an undisclosed number of its microfluidics patents to Affymetrix for use in microarray technology, the companies said today.

Under the non-exclusive agreement, Affymetrix may use the technology in its GeneChip products for research, diagnostics, and applied genomics applications in exchange for an upfront licensing fee and royalties on future products. The license excludes use of the technology to separate nucleic acids as a quality control step.

This is Caliper's second licensing deal since it began to outlicense its intellectual property on microfluidics. In January, Predicant Biosciences licensed Caliper's technology for use in the analysis of proteins by mass spectrometry.

Genaissance Takes Out $4.5M Credit-Equity Note

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals has refinanced an existing $2.5 million loan by negotiating a $4.5 million credit-and-equity agreement with New York-based Xmark Funds, a private-equity firm, the company said last week.

Genaissance will use the loan to retire the remaining debt on the $2.5-million term loan with Comerica Bank, the company said. Genaissance will use the remaining funds for working capital. The new facility bears a 5-percent interest and is due in full on April 21, 2007, or earlier, depending on Genaissance's liquidity.

Under terms of the agreement with Xmark, Genaissance issued the firm warrants for 2 million shares of common stock at $2.25 apiece. Genaissance closed at $1.24 per share at the close of trading yesterday.

Perlegen Establishes Subsidiary in Japan

Perlegen Sciences last week announced the creation of Perlegen Sciences Japan, a wholly owned subsidiary.

The subsidiary will also open a laboratory in Tokyo that will use microarray technology, proprietary sample preparation methods, and statistical analytics as part of Perlegen's business efforts.

Perlegen said the subsidiary will be managed by Akira Usui, who has been named vice president of Asia business development for the company. The lab will become operational within the next few months, the company said.

GE and Lilly Partner on Alzheimer's Diagnostics, Therapeutics

General Electric, through its Global Research and GE Healthcare units, has inked a research collaboration with Eli Lilly for the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease, the companies said last week.

According to the companies, the research collaboration will target beta-amyloid protein.

GE Healthcare will have access to Lilly's molecular libraries to search for compounds that might be used in targeted diagnostic imaging agents for Alzheimer's.

Lilly will subsequently have access to any diagnostic agents developed by GE to use in the discovery of Alzheimer's therapeutics, the companies said.

Transgenomic Extends Supply Agreement with Geron for Nucleic Acid Building Blocks

Transgenomic will supply Geron with additional modified nucleic acid reagents to synthesize an anti-cancer drug, the Omaha, Neb.-based company said last week.

The additional shipments, which add to an existing supply agreement between the two companies, will be completed later this year.

Geron's cancer drug is a thio-phosporamidate oligonucleotide, for which Transgenomic provides the building blocks.

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