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HUNT Biosciences, Third Wave, FDA, Wyeth, Ingenuity

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New Company HUNT Biosciences to Validate Biomarkers Through Norwegian Biobank
 
HUNT Biosciences, a new company borne out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s survey and biobank efforts, was launched at the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s annual meeting in Boston this week.
 
The company is the commercial arm of the HUNT (Nord-Trøndelag Health) Study, which has garnered extensive phenotype and environmental data over the last two decades and has become a resource for genetic epidemiology-based R&D. HUNT Biosciences will also have access to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s biobank, a repository of approximately 100,000 samples. The company will operate as a satellite to the university.
 
“The new company aims to provide an interface for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies with the HUNT survey and biobank,” the newly formed company said in a release. The core strengths of HUNT Biosciences will be in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obstructive lung disease, osteoporosis, and mental health.
 
“For pharmaceutical companies in particular, HUNT Biosciences is ideally positioned to match the growing need for biomarker discovery and validation,” Kristian Hveem, CEO of HUNT, said in a statement. “Well-defined case-control cohorts can be selected from our large and well-equipped biobank.”
 
Currently HUNT provides data for more than 250 ongoing or completed research projects. “We believe that if exploited in a proper and ethical manner through a vehicle such as HUNT Biosciences, this data could result in important medical breakthroughs to the benefit of both the Norwegian and international healthcare systems,” the company said.
 

 
Third Wave's Q1 Revenues Slump 15 Percent as Surge in R&D Spending Widens Loss
 
Third Wave Technologies last week said first-quarter revenues slumped 15 percent as R&D spending surged 122 percent and net loss widened 34 percent.  
 
Total receipts for the three months ended March 31 decreased to $6.7 million from $7.9 million year over year.
 
Revenue from clinical molecular diagnostics products rose 27 percent to $6 million from $4.7 million, but receipts from research products declined 81 percent to $569,000 from $3 million.
 
Third Wave CEO Kevin Conroy said molecular diagnostic revenue grew “nicely” over the quarter due to “an ongoing increase in our customer base.”
 
R&D expenses more than doubled to $5.1 million compared with $2.3 million the previous year.
 
“We continue to make a significant investment in the clinical trials for our HPV products,” Conroy said, explaining the cause of the ballooning R&D costs.  
 
Conroy said the trials “continue to progress very well” and said the current R&D investment will “generate significant value for our shareholders.” Conroy did not say when these products may make it to market.
 
Net loss for the period swelled to $6.3 million from $4.7 million year over year.
 
Third Wave had around $47.1 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments as of March 31.
 

 
FDA Clears AutoGenomics' Infinity Analyzer
 
AutoGenomics said last week the US Food and Drug Administration has cleared its Infiniti Analyzer as a stand-alone instrument for multiplexed assays.
 
The FDA in February cleared AutoGenomics’ Infiniti Factor II and Factor V assays for diagnosing thrombophilia.
 
The company said it also has submitted a 510(k) application with the FDA for its Infiniti 2C9/VKORC1 multiplexed assay, which is used to assess sensitivity to the blood thinner warfarin.
 

 
Wyeth Renews, Expands License to Ingenuity's Pathway Analysis Software
 
Ingenuity Systems last week said that Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has extended and expanded a licensing agreement for its Pathway Analysis software.
 
Wyeth’s researchers will use the IPA software to study pharmacogenomic biomarkers and other areas, Ingenuity said.
 
Ingenuity said Wyeth has been using its software since 2003.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

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