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CST, Bio-Rad, Sequenom, Tepnel, Ciphergen, Novartis, FDA, EMEA, Clinical Data, Illumina, CHOP, Galapagos, GSK


CST, Bio-Rad to Develop Phosphoprotein Assays for Signal Transduction Research

Cell Signalling Technology this week said it has partnered with Bio-Rad Laboratories to develop phosphoprotein assays to be commercialized with Bio-Rad's bead-based assays.

Under the partnership, CST will develop antibodies for kinase activation and protein phosphorylation assays to be used in Bio-Rad's multiplex bead-based assays for the Bio-Plex suspension array system.

CST will develop a broader array of antibodies for the Bio-Plex platform. Bio-Rad's phosphoprotein assays are optimized to simultaneously assess kinase and signaling protein activation states and provide critical tools for disease research and drug development.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Medical Research Council Renews Sequencing Contract with Clinical Data's Cogenics

Clinical Data said this week that the UK's Medical Research Council has re-selected its Cogenics division as one of its three official DNA sequencing providers.

Cogenics is one of three units formed by Clinical Data in a March reorganization and represents the combined operations and marketing infrastructure of former Clinical Data companies Genaissance, Lark, and Icoria to provide comprehensive pharmacogenomics and molecular services.

Last week, Cambridge, UK-based Geneservice and German firm GATC Biotech also announced that they were selected as preferred sequencing vendors to the Medical Research Council.

As Planned, Sequenom Implements Reverse Stock Split in Effort to 0Regain Nasdaq Compliance …

Sequenom today implemented a planned 1-for-3 reverse stock split in an effort to regain compliance with the Nasdaq exchange.

Under the split, each three outstanding shares of common stock are automatically combined and converted into one share. Since fractional shares will not be issued, cash payments will be made for those shares.

Last week, Sequenom's shareholders approved the split and voted to increase the authorized shares of its common stock to 185 million.

The reverse split is part of the company's plan to regain compliance with Nasdaq National Market listing requirements. Sequenom last week received a letter saying it was not in compliance. The Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel will decide whether to grant the company's request to continue being listed.

For the next 20 days, the company's Nasdaq ticker symbol will be SQNMD. The ticker symbol will return to the regular SQNM after this period.

… and Secures $33M Through Private Stock Placement to Shore Up Finances

Sequenom this week said it secured $33 million in a private stock placement with four institutional investors.

As part of the placement, Sequenom sold or issued around 20 million shares of common stock and warrants to purchase an additional 12 million shares.

The investors were Pequot Private Equity Fund, ComVest Investment Partners, LB I Group, and Siemens Venture Capital. Oppenheimer & Co. served as the placement agent.

Sequenom said it will use the cash for general working capital purposes, to strengthen and expand its core product sales and services business, and pursue opportunities in the field of non-invasive prenatal diagnostics.

Tepnel Raises $2.25M in Stock Offering to Help Pay for Scottish Consolidation

Tepnel Life Sciences has raised £1.2 million ($2.3 million) in a stock offering, the UK-based company said last week.

The funds will be used as "working capital" and also to complete the company's new 18,000-square-foot facility in Livingston, Scotland. The new facility will consolidate operations in Edinburgh and Glasgow and incorporate pharmaceutical services including high-throughput genotyping and protein analysis.

The company placed 17,034,160 new ordinary shares priced at 7p apiece with institutional shareholders. In addition, the company has given its investors warrants to buy as many as 4.3 million additional shares. Tepnel expects stands to gain approximately £340,000 if all the shares are purchased in the warrant.

Tepnel applied to have the shares available for trading on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market on June 6.

Ciphergen Faces Nasdaq Delisting for Low Market Cap

The Nasdaq exchange told Ciphergen Biosystems last week that it risks being delisted because its market cap has remained below $50 million for 10 consecutive business days.

Ciphergen yesterday said it has until June 23 to regain compliance. At press time its market cap stood at $43.6 million.

Novartis to Submit Nilotinib to FDA, EMEA This Year

Novartis said this week that it plans to submit nilotinib earlier than planned — in late 2006 instead of in 2007. The leukemia drug is currently in late-stage registration trials for patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia.

Nilotinib is a selective inhibitor of Brc-Abl, the cause of Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, and 32 of 33 mutant forms most commonly associated with the disease.

Clinical Data to Launch Warfarin-related Test by Mid-Year

Clinical Data's PGxHealth division will launch a clinical test to help guide prescription of the popular blood-thinning drug warfarin, the company said this week.

The company recently gained the rights to include particular polymorphisms of the gene VKORC1 in its test, Clinical Data said in the statement.

Illumina to Place BeadLab System at CHOP; Deal Could Exceed $25M

Illumina will provide the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with its BeadLab genotyping system, the company said this week.

The hospital will house the system at its new Center for Applied Genomics and will provide a core capability for CHOP's research goal of genotyping more than 100,000 children with a focus on asthma, obesity, diabetes, and cancer, Illumina said.

According to the company, the initial value of the agreement, which includes arrays and reagents for the first 30,000 samples, is expected to exceed $25 million.

CHOP said that it plans to first conduct whole-genome genotyping using Sentrix HumanHap550 BeadChips, though subsequent phases of its research will use Illumina arrays and reagents to study focused sets of SNPs thought to be implicated in disease cause and progression.

Galapagos to Help GSK Develop Osteoarthritis Drugs; Deal Could Involve Equity Stake

GlaxoSmithKline and Galapagos this week announced the creation of a worldwide, multi-year drug-discovery and -development alliance in osteoarthritis.

The pact calls for Galapagos to identify genes of interest for GSK. GSK will have exclusive options to further develop and commercialize compounds on a worldwide basis, while Galapagos will have the right to further develop and commercialize compounds for which GSK does not exercise its option, the companies said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Galapagos will receive an upfront technology access fee of €4 million ($5.1 million) from GSK. Galapagos also stands to receive up to €65 million in success-based milestones.

In addition, Galapagos will receive up to double-digit royalties on commercial sales of alliance products. GSK also retains the option to make an equity investment of up to €3 million in Galapagos, according to the firms.


Filed under

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.