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Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, University of Utah, Yale, Hycor Biomedical, University of Louisville, Tm Bioscience, Lexicon Genetics, Decode Genetics

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Genaissance Amends License Deal with University of Utah, Yale

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals has amended a license agreement with the University of Utah and Yale University relating to cardiac ion channel genes associated with sudden cardiac death syndromes, the company announced last week.

The amendment relates to more than 50 issued and pending patents Genaissance licensed in the United States and other countries that cover five cardiac ion channel genes associated with Long QT, Brugada, and related syndromes

The amendment, which will “simplify” royalty payments for tests based on this IP, will extend Genaissance’s licensing rights to the patent estate.

Genaissance obtained rights to the IP in May 2003 when it acquired most of the assets of DNA Sciences, whose patent estate originated at Utah and Yale. The company said it expects to launch its test for cardiac ion channel mutations in May.


Can Hycor’s Shareholders Make It Happen on June 2?

Stratagene’s long-delayed acquisition of Hycor Biomedical is expected to close “soon after” June 2, when Hycor’s shareholders will vote on the deal, the companies said last week.

The acquisition, announced in July 2003 as intended to close during the final three months of that year, was put on hold on Dec. 30 when Hycor asked to “complete work required to restate its financial statements,” and again in March this year for unspecified reasons.

Stratagene is betting that acquiring Hycor will help it diversify into molecular diagnostics. In addition, the deal will enable the privately held company focus more of its R&D efforts on growing Hycor’s clinical diagnostics footprint while accelerating the pace of its own research-based PCR and Q-PCR products, the companies said when announcing the acquisition last year.

“We now see that there’s some applications to the types of products and technologies we’ve been developing in the diagnostics area, and we would like to expand our scope into the diagnostics area,” Stratagene CEO Joe Sorge told Pharmacogenomics Reporter at the time [see 7/31/03 Pharmacogenomics Reporter].

The new company will retain the Stratagene name and headquarters and make Hycor a wholly owned subsidiary. Officials expect it to generate a combined $85 million in revenues in 2003, and said it will become profitable in 2004.

David Tholen, Hycor president and CEO, will resign as an officer and become a member of the Stratagene board of directors, as Reg Jones, senior vice president and CFO of Hycor, will become CFO of the new company. Meantime, Sorge, who is also a Stratagene founder, will retain his position as president and CEO, and will become a member of a reconstituted board of directors.

Sorge, through his secretary, declined to comment this week citing the concerns of Strategene’s lawyers.


University of Louisville Diagnostic Lab to Use Tm Bioscience’s Tag-It P450-2D6 Kit

Tm Bioscience will supply the Pharmacogenetics Diagnostic Laboratory of the University of Louisville Medical School with a genetic test for a metabolism gene, the company said last week.

Under the two-year agreement, the lab will use Tm Bioscience’s Tag-It P450-2D6 mutation detection kit.


Lexicon Reports Rising Q1 Revenues, Narrowed Loss

Lexicon Genetics reported increased revenues and smaller losses for the first quarter.

Revenues for the three months ended March 31 increased to $11.8 million from $8.1 million during the same quarter last year.

R&D spending in the quarter, meantime, also increased to $22.4 million from $19.8 million during last year’s first quarter.

First-quarter net loss managed to narrow to $15.5 million, or $.25 per share, from $17.1 million, or $.33 per share, during the year-ago period. As of March 31, Lexicon had $145.4 million in cash and investments.


Decode Q1 Revenue Falls, Net Loss Narrows

Decode Genetics last week reported a decrease in total revenues atop smaller R&D spending and narrowed net loss.

Total revenue for the period ended March 31 fell to $10.3 million from $11.8 million in the year-ago quarter.

Decode spent $15.4 million in research in development in its first quarter, compared to $19.7 million for the same quarter in 2003.

First-quarter net loss, however, narrowed to $12 million, or $.23 per share, from, $13 million, or $.25 per share, in the year-ago period. Decode had $97 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand as of March 31.

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In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.