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Epigenomics, AstraZeneca, Nasdaq, Genomic Health, Solexa, Nanogen, Jurilab, Tm, Illumina, Locus Pharmaceuticals, Invitrogen

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Building on Previous Work, Epigenomics and AstraZeneca
Agree to Study Biomarkers for EGFR-inhibitor Response

Epigenomics and AstraZeneca have agreed to continue their collaboration to identify and analyze the ability of DNA methylation-based biomarkers to predict response to EGFR inhibitor drugs, such as AstraZeneca's Iressa, the companies said this week in a statement.

According to the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will pay Epigenomics R&D fees, and it will give Epigenomics the opportunity to participate in the development of diagnostic products resulting from the collaboration.

Epigenomics will test the biomarkers, which the partners discovered in a collaboration begun in 2004, in a panel of preclinical cancer models.

Promising biomarkers may be further validated to contribute to AstraZeneca's ongoing biomarker research program.


Nasdaq Drops Accelrys, Affy, Caliper, Luminex from Biotech Index, Adds Genomic Health, Solexa

A number of genomics firms have been dropped from the Nasdaq Biotechnology index as part of a semi-annual update, the exchange said last week.

As a result of the re-ranking, which will become effective next Monday, Accelrys, Affymetrix, Caliper Life Sciences, and Luminex were among nine firms dropped from the index due to a change in their classification according to the Industry Classification Benchmark, a classification system created and maintained by Dow Jones and London's Financial Times and Stock Exchange.

Genomic Health and Solexa were among 15 firms added to the index in the re-ranking.

Nasdaq said that companies in the index must be classified as either a biotechnology or pharmaceutical firm based on the ICB and must also meet other eligibility criteria, "including listing on the Nasdaq National Market and meeting minimum requirements for market value, average daily share volume, and seasoning as a public company."

Further information on the index is available here.


Nanogen and Jurilab Partner on Type 2 Diabetes Biomarker Discovery

Nanogen and Jurilab will collaborate to identify and validate new prognostic markers for type 2 diabetes, the companies said this week.

Jurilab will use data from a genetic screening project involving an isolated population in East Finland to identify potential markers associated with predisposition to diabetes as well as resistance to developing the disease.

The companies will collaborate to validate the diabetes associations of these markers in populations outside Finland, including case controls in Catalonia, England, Germany, and from Ashkenazi Jews.

Nanogen plans to develop diagnostic tests for panels of confirmed markers, and the companies will jointly seek pharmaceutical partners to develop therapeutics based on genes determined to play a role in the disease.


Tm Posts Higher Q1 Losses Despite a 170-Percent Jump in Revenues

Tm Bioscience this week reported higher losses in the first quarter despite a 170-percent jump in revenues.

Revenues in the quarter climbed to $2.9 million from $1.1 million a year earlier, reflecting a 140-percent surge in product sales. The company attributed the sales growth to the mid-2005 launch of its CFplus cystic fibrosis test by Genzyme and adoption of its expanded menu selections, primarily the Tag-It Ashkenazi Jewish Panel and the Tag-It CF70 reagents.

R&D spending remained flat year over year at $1 million.

Tm's first-quarter net loss rose to $4.1 million, or $.09 per share, from a year-ago loss of $3.4 million, or $.09 per share.

As of March 31, the company had cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaling $7.5 million.


Illumina to Offer 3.5M Shares

Illumina has filed a statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to publicly offer 3.5 million shares of its common stock.

In addition, the underwriters of the offering will be granted the right to purchase an additional 525,000 shares of common stock.

Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch are acting as joint bookrunning and co-lead managers of the offering, while Cowen and Company and Robert W. Baird are acting as co-managers of the offering.


Locus Pharmaceuticals To Use Invitrogen's SelectScreen Platform

Invitrogen will provide Locus Pharmaceuticals with kinase screening services through its SelectScreen platform, Invitrogen said this week.

Invitrogen said that the platform will support Locus' discovery programs in the areas of cancer and inflammation.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Invitrogen said that it has added 123 new human protein kinases to its SelectScreen screening panel over the last 14 months and that it will continue to expand the panel this year.

Filed under

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.