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Decode Genetics, NIH, Inter Medical, CombiMatrix, SpectruMedix, Capital Genomix, NCI, Ciphergen, CombiMatrix


Decode's Revenues Drop 8 Percent, Losses Widen in Q1

Decode Genetics this week reported an 8-percent drop in revenues and a widened net loss for the first quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter totaled $9.5 million, down from $10.3 million for the same period a year ago. This decrease reflects the company's new focus on drug discovery and development, according to Decode. The company said it also had $17.5 million in deferred research revenue on March 31, which it will recognize in future quarters.

Research and development costs almost doubled to $8.3 million from $4.3 milion during last year's first quarter. This increase results mainly from the cost of clinical trials of Decode's drug-development programs.

Decode's net loss widened to $16.9 million from $12 million during the year-ago quarter.

As of March 31, Decode had $197.6 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments, including restricted cash.

NIH Announces Biomarker Validation Funding Opportunity

The National Institutes of Health issued last week detailed an initiative designed to validate candidate biomarkers for various human diseases for which the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases expects to fund up to 10 new grants per year.

According to the announcement, the effort is looking for biomarkers for well-defined "diseases of liver, kidney, urological tract, digestive and hematologic systems, and endocrine and metabolic disorders, diabetes and its complications, and obesity, for which there are no or very few biomarkers, or for which standard biomarkers are currently prohibitively invasive or expensive.

Especially of interest would be studies designed to test the validity of candidate biomarkers or new technologies to monitor candidate biomarkers in patient tissue samples or small groups of well-characterized patients."

Both for-profit and nonprofit organizations are eligible for funding under the program announcement, the NIH said. The initiative includes, but is not limited to, studies in well-characterized patients or in biological samples from well-characterized patients that show that a biomarker or a set of biomarkers is unique for a disease of interest.

The studies are also limited to humans to determine whether a biomarker correlates well with pathogenesis, disease processes, progression or regression of disease, response to therapy, or accepted clinical endpoints. Furthermore, studies will aim to design or improve the biomarker assay system and to make it, among other things, repeatable, quantitative, and translatable to many laboratories, or to fall within costs that are appropriate for clinical use.

The program is set to run until September 2008. Additional details can be found here. Awards will use the NIH Research Project Grant (R01) and Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) award mechanisms, the NIH added.

Inter Medical to Distribute CombiMatrix Arrays in Japan

Inter Medical will distribute CombiMatrix's microarrays in Japan, CombiMatrix's parent company Acacia Research said this week.

Under the non-exclusive agreement, Inter Medical will market, sell, and service CombiMatrix's CustomArray products in Japan.

Inter Medical imports and distributes medical products from European, US, and other companies in Japan, including Axon scanners from Molecular Devices.

CombiMatrix said it will continue to seek additional distribution deals, both in the US and internationally.

SpectruMedix and Capital Genomix to Couple, Co-Market Products for Gene-Expression Analysis

SpectruMedix of State College, Pa., and Capital Genomix of Gaithersburg, Md., will market and distribute Capital's gene expression-analysis platform for capillary electrophoresis-based applications, the companies said this week.

The two partners plan to couple Capital's GeneSystem320, which allows researchers to detect gene transcripts at very low levels, with SpetruMedix's Reveal Genetic Analysis system, which uses high-throughput capillary electrophoresis for genetic analyses. They intend to release a new product early in the third quarter.

NCI to Evaluate Ciphergen's Protein Microarray in Ovarian Cancer Studies

The US National Cancer Institute will evaluate Cipergen's ProteinChip platform as part of an effort to identify technology capable of detecting protein patterns that can classify cancer states, Ciphergen said last week.

The NCI Clinical Proteomics Reference Laboratory will examine the company's ProteinChip Series 4000 platform, as well as associated arrays and bioinformatics suites, to study biomarker patterns indicative of ovarian cancer, the company said.

The company did not disclose any financial details associated with the agreement.

CombiMatrix, Lacking Roche Revenue, Posts Steep Decline in Q1 Receipts As Profit Turns to Loss

Acacia's CombiMatrix group last week reported a steep decline in revenues and a net loss for the first quarter of 2005.

Revenues for the quarter were $1.1 million, down from $17.6 million during the same quarter in 2004. Last year's figures included $17.3 million in deferred revenues from CombiMatrix's alliance with Roche.

R&D costs decreased slightly, to $1.1 million, from $1.4 million during last year's first quarter.

CombiMatrix's net loss for the quarter was $3.1 million, compared to a profit of $11.9 million during the same quarter in 2005, which was primarily driven by the recognition of the Roche contract revenues in that quarter.

As of March 31, CombiMatrix had $20.4 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments.

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