Luminex Licenses Cystic Fibrosis Biomarkers From Johns Hopkins
Luminex has licensed from the Johns Hopkins University genetic markers that it plans to use with its Tag-It cystic fibrosis test kits.
Luminex said this week that the tests are available through its Molecular Diagnostics division, which was formerly Tm Bioscience. Luminex bought and renamed Tm Bio in March.
The non-exclusive agreement enables the company to use the markers in kits sold in the US. The license cover four mutations — 549N, 551D, 553X, and 559T — tested in the kit and two mutations, 553X and 551D, that appear in the screening panel of 23 cystic fibrosis mutations recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
Lexicon-Genentech Collaboration Yields Potential Therapeutic Targets
Lexicon Genetics last week announced that a collaboration with Genentech has yielded therapeutic targets, one of which the company is advancing to preclinical research.
The Lexicon-Genentech collaboration began in December 2002 and was expanded in November 2005 to “advance the research, development, and commercialization of new biologic drugs,” Lexicon said in a statement. The agreement with Genentech allows Lexicon the option to choose six targets to advance into drug discovery.
Lexicon said it has developed antibodies for one of these targets, designated LG842, which it is now advancing through preclinical research.
The targets were discovered using Lexicon’s Gene Knockout Technology, which allows scientists to discover the physiological and behavioral functions of proteins. Lexicon has used this technology to analyze 5,000 genes, and has completed analysis of approximately 80 percent of them, and has identified and validated more than 100 potential antibody and small molecule targets with promising profiles for drug discovery.
The company presented data at a recent conference of the Society for Biomolecular Sciences in Montreal, Canada, which revealed that “the deletion or neutralization of LG842, a circulating protein expressed predominantly in adipose tissue, placenta, pancreas and liver, resulted in lower triglycerides and cholesterol in in vivo models.”
Affy's Clinical Services Lab Clears CLIA
Affymetrix said this week its Clinical Services Lab has been certified to begin offering microarray-based molecular diagnostic testing under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments.
The ACSL, a 10,000 square-foot lab in Sacramento, Calif., will be used for clinical trial and patient testing, the company said.
The facility's offerings include gene expression monitoring, genotyping, chromosomal copy number analysis, and other molecular diagnostic tests.
Affy said that the lab has already signed two agreements with customers.
CLIA certification ensures that the lab's processes meet standards for accuracy, precision, sensitivity, calibration, and control under federal and Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute regulations.
All of the lab's assays have also been validated for clinical applications, the company said.
Affy said the lab received the clearance on April 9.
NYU, Rosetta Genomics to Co-develop miRNA-based Lung Cancer Test
Rosetta Genomics and New York University Medical Center said this week that they plan to co-develop diagnostic tests for lung and mesothelioma cancers.
The early-detection tests will use Rosetta's technology for extracting microRNA from blood.
The tests will identify patients at risk of lung cancer due to smoking as well as those who have been exposed to asbestos fibers.
"MicroRNAs have been shown to hold great potential as effective biomarkers for various cancers," said Harvey Pass, chief of NYU Medical Center's Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology divisions, in a statement.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
Norway Will Spend $70M to Spur Functional Genomics Research; Start-Ups Particularly Welcome
The Norwegian government plans to pump $70 million into a functional genomics initiative aimed at pushing industry-driven research and technology projects.
The Norwegian Functional Genomics Program said the new funding will support its phase II initiatives, which will run between 2007 and 2011.
The group said in its first phase it supported 22 companies on 24 projects. Among these companies were the pharmacogenomics specialist Diagenic and Affitech, which focuses on therapeutic antibodies.
Now, the group, known as FUGE, wants to emphasize “refining and exploiting the technology platforms” it funded in its first phase.
Program coordinator Steinar Bergseth said the group already has in place the infrastructure to “serve and stimulate both researcher and industry” for projects. The group said it expects to spend less than half of the $70 million to maintain this infrastructure.
The infrastructure includes biobanks, bioinformatics, transgenic mice, proteomics technologies, molecular imaging tools, microarrays, structural biology, and sequencing/SNP technology.
Because start-up capital is not readily available in Norway, FUGE said it expects to use “a substantial part of the remaining budget” to back “industry-originated projects.”
FUGE added that funding it gives to start-up companies acts as a “seal of approval” for other potential investors.
Meantime, more mature companies can use the funding to perform local research projects in Norway at less expense.
The group said that all companies dealing with functional genomics can apply for FUGE’s phase II funding, but added that it will give priority to “smaller and newly established companies rather than larger established companies.”
PGx and Biomarker Research Will Feature in Expanded J&J Facility
Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development is expanding its facilities in Spring House, Pa., that will house drug-development research into biomarkers, structural biology, and pharmacogenomics, the company said last week.
The new facility, expected to be completed in 2009, will add around 150,000 square feet to the Spring House complex. The company said it plans to keep the 680 employees on the campus, and said it expects to hire 120 more.