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Bio-Rad, ABI, Cepheid, DxS, NCI, Tm Biosciences, TGen, Morehouse, US Genomics, Applera, Agilent, Molecular Imaging


Court Thwarts Bio-Rad's Request to Enforce
Settlement with ABI; Firm to Appeal

A US district court has denied Bio-Rad's request to "enforce" a settlement in a patent-infringement suit filed by Applied Biosystems that Bio-Rad lost in April.

Bio-Rad last week said that the US District Court for the District of Connecticut "has denied MJ Research's motion to enforce a settlement agreement," which Bio-Rad said was made on Aug. 29. Bio-Rad acquired MJ Research in August 2004.

MJ Research and Bio-Rad plan to appeal, Bio-Rad said, adding that the company "will continue to comply" with the original injunction, which was handed down Aug. 30.

At the time, the court barred Bio-Rad and MJ Research from making or selling PCR thermal cyclers that infringe patents held by ABI.

Through the injunction, the court also prohibited Bio-Rad and MJ Research from servicing, repairing, advertising, instructing, or otherwise promoting the use of infringing thermal cyclers for use with PCR.

The court based its decision on an earlier jury verdict showing that the companies infringe US Patents No. 5,333,675; No. 5,656,493; and No. 5,475,610.

Four days after the Aug. 30 injunction was announced, Bio-Rad said it has settled its suit with ABI, and that it was "dismayed" by ABI's statement one day earlier claiming that a US court has barred Bio-Rad and MJ Research from making or selling PCR thermal cyclers that infringe patents held by Applera.

Bio-Rad has maintained since that time that it settled with ABI "and this fact has been communicated to the Court by both parties," according to a statement. The settlement, in conjunction with an existing license held by Bio-Rad, allows MJ Research to continue selling its products, according to Bio-Rad.

Cepheid, DxS Expand Scorpions License to Include Diagnostics

Cepheid has licensed DxS' real-time PCR technology for use in the human in vitro diagnostics market, the company said this week.

Cepheid originally licensed the probe technology, called Scorpions, in July for all markets except clinical diagnostics, wine production, and the detection of chemicals used in agriculture.

Cepheid said the product could be applicable to its SmartCycler and GeneXpert systems.

Financial details were not disclosed.

NCI Awards $10M to Six US Labs Researching Cancer Biomarkers

The National Cancer Institute awarded a total of $10 million to six research groups developing molecular markers for cancer, the agency said this week.

The projects will confirm, refine, and evaluate molecular signatures; develop reproducible assays for molecular signatures; and identify molecular markers to be used in clinical decisions.

The grants are part of NCI's Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures program.

Six institutions received the grant: the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., University of California in Irvine; the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha; the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tenn.; and Washington University's Department of Medicine in St. Louis.

Tm Biosciences Pockets $9M Through Convertible Note Sale

Toronto-based Tm Biosciences has pocketed $9 million through the sale of a convertible note to Laurus Master Fund, the company said last week.

Laurus has also been issued a warrant to buy approximately 740,000 common shares in Tm at a price of $2.61. The warrant expires in 2010.

Jim Pelot, TM's chief financial officer, said the transaction allows the company to "retire its existing debt ensuring that [it has] suitable working capital" to grow its business.

TGen and Morehouse to Share Research, Funding

The Translational Genomics Research Institute and the Morehouse School of Medicine will explore research opportunities in certain diseases and have created a seed fund that will enable the groups' researchers to work on new projects.

TGen said that the agreement, which will cover neuroscience, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, is aimed at helping it fulfill its promise of delivering diagnostic tools and treatments for disease.

Financial details were not discussed.

US Department of Homeland Security Awards US Genomics $16.2M

US Genomics has been awarded a $16.2-million, Phase II contract by the US Department of Homeland Security's Advanced Research Project Agency, the company said this week.

US Genomics said it will use the 18-month contract to finish developing a prototype of its DNA mapping technology for detecting and identifying airborne pathogens.

The contract award follows the completion last month of an 18-month, $7.5 million Phase I contract from the US Department of Homeland Security.

Applera Grants 266K Restricted Stock Units to Executive Officers

The management resources committee of Applera's board of directors last week approved a grant of Applied Biosystems restricted stock units to several officers and employees of Applera and its subsidiaries, the companies said last week in a statement.

Each restricted stock unit gives recipients the right to one share of ABI common stock at the time the restricted unit vests, Applera said. Restricted units bestowed to executive officers typically vest in four increments, each amounting to 25 percent of the total value, occurring at the ends of fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, the company added.

The grant follows Applera's Amended and Restated 1999 Stock Incentive Plan, and includes the following restricted stock transactions involving company officers: 88,800 shares granted to Tony White, Applera CEO; 43,200 shares granted to Catherine Burzik, senior vice president and president of ABI; 12,000 shares granted to Ugo DeBlasi, Applera vice president and controller; 19,200 shares granted to Dennis Gilbert, ABI CSO and vice president for research; 25,200 shares granted to Barbara Kerr, vice president of human resources at Applera; 15,600 shares granted to Sandeep Nayyar, ABI vice president of finance; 31,200 shares granted to William Sawch, Applera senior vice president and general counsel; 31,200 shares granted to Dennis Winger, senior vice president and CFO of Applera.

Agilent Buys Molecular Imaging in Bid to Expand Nanotech Imaging Business

Agilent Technologies has acquired privately held Molecular Imaging for an undisclosed amount, the company announced this week.

Tempe, Ariz.-based Molecular Imaging makes PicoPlus, a line of atomic force microscopes, which comprise a significant portion of the $1 billion market for nanotechnology imaging and measurement tools.

Agilent's chief business areas are electronic measurements and analytical measurements. With this acquisition, Agilent expands its nanotechnology imaging portfolio.

Since Molecular Imaging has an ongoing relationship with Arizona State University extending back to 1993, Agilent will not move operations from Tempe, the company said. Molecular Imaging's employees have joined Agilent, the company said.

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