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NCI, Lynx Therapeutics, Solexa, Genetix Group, Biolog, Cepheid, GE Healthcare, US Genomics


NCI Creates Gene Expression
Database for Human Organ Tissue

The National Cancer Institute said this week that it has created what it calls the "largest open-source database for normal tissue from human organs."

Scientists searching for genes implicated in specific diseases can now use the NCI database as a point of reference because it pinpoints which genes are expressed in many of the body's major organs under normal conditions, without known disease, NCI said.

The database, available here, contains expression profiles for 18,927 genes, obtained from 158 tissue samples. Tissue samples were harvested an average of 11 hours post-mortem from males and females of different ethnic groups, ranging from 3 months to 39 years of age, NCI said.

A study describing the database appears in the March 2005 issue of Genome Research.

Lynx Stockholders Approve
Solexa-Lynx Merger

Lynx Therapeutics announced this week that its shareholders approved six proposed items - including the company's proposed merger with Solexa - at its annual shareholders meeting held this week.

The closing of the merger is now subject to acceptance by Solexa shareholders of Lynx's offer to acquire the entire issued share capital of Solexa.

Lynx said that it expects the merger to close later this month.

The companies announced their plans to merge in August.

Genetix Lays Off 10 Percent of Staff
Despite Revenue, Profit Growth in '04

Genetix Group said this week that it has laid off around 10 percent of its staff at the end of 2004 despite a 13-percent increase in 2004 net sales and a 103-percent jump in profits.

The total number of employees let go was not immediately known.

The UK-based company said net sales for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2004, increased to £12.2 million ($23.4 million) from £10.8 million in 2003.

Genetix said that instrumentation sales were £9.2 million in 2004, an increase of 25 percent from 2003. Consumables and services accounted for £3 million in sales in 2004, down 14 percent from the prior year.

The company posted a pre-tax profit of £900,000 in 2004, up 103 percent from the prior year. It spent £1.5 million on R&D in 2004, up slightly from £1.4 million in the prior year.

In a statement, CEO Mark Reid said the company "began the process of strengthening our strategic focus on the cell biology market, concentrating on systems that accelerate drug target validation and product development. We believe that these areas will provide a platform for growth over the coming years."

Genetix's main product lines are the ClonePix mammalian cell colony picker; the aQuire scanner for imaging cells, tissue, and protein arrays; and the QArray and QPix microarrayer products.

The company finished 2004 with a cash balance of £22.2 million.

Genetix Group is headquartered in New Milton, UK, and its stock is traded on the London Stock Exchange.

Biolog Wins $451,000 SBIR Grant for Antimicrobial
Drug-Discovery Apps on Phenotype Microarray

Biolog has been awarded a phase I SBIR grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to further develop its Phenotype Microarray technology for antimicrobial drug discovery.

The $451,000 award, provided from NIAID's biodefense program of the National Institutes of Health, will fund the application of the Phenotype Microarray technology as a tool to evaluate biologically active compounds using Staphylococcus aureus as the model organism, Biolog said.

Scientists at Biolog will screen 150 to 200 known chemicals against the S. aureus cellular array in order to develop a database that can be subsequently used for antimicrobial evaluation, Tim Mullane, Biolog's president and CEO, told Pharmacogenomics Reporter's sister publication, GenomeWeb News, this week.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies could then add profiles of chemicals from their libraries to the database, the company said.

Cepheid Receives Order for 323 More Detection Systems
for USPS; Revenues Quadruple as Losses Narrow in Q4

Cepheid yesterday said it has received a second purchase order for 323 of its GeneXpert modules under the United States Postal Service Biohazard Detection System program. The company also reported quadrupled revenues and narrowed losses for the fourth quarter of 2004.

The new order is part of the second phase of the project, under which Cepheid already received a purchase order for 300 units last month. The company has also been installing 800 GeneXpert modules that were ordered for the first phase of the project.

Cepheid booked $20.3 million in revenues for the quarter, up from $5.3 million during the same quarter in 2003. Most of this increase came from product sales related to the United States Postal Service Biohazard Detection System and, to a lesser extent, from sales to life sciences and clinical genetic-assessment customers, according to Cepheid.

R&D costs increased slightly, to $4.4 million, from $3.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2003.

Cepheid's net loss for the quarter amounted to $3 million, or $.7 per share, down from $4.5 million, or $.13 per share, during the same period a year earlier.

The company said it plans to introduce new clnical products for GBS and enterovirus on its GeneXpert platform this year, and to launch at least 10 new ASR products.

As of Dec. 31, 2004, Cepheid had $23.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $34.3 million in marketable securities.

GE Healthcare to Distribute Spectral Genomics'
Tools to Researchers Outside North America

Spectral Genomics, a supplier of BAC clone microarrays for comparative genomic hybridization, has tapped GE Healthcare to be its exclusive international distributor to the research market outside North America.

Spectral will continue to sell its products to certain clinical diagnostic customers outside North America, the company said.

Spectral Genomics develops and manufactures BAC clone microarrays with applications in molecular karyotyping for genetic defects, cancer, and human polymorphisms with applications in drug discovery and pharmacogenomics, the company said in a statement.

US Genomics Places Single-Molecule
Analyzers at Four Research Institutes

US Genomics has placed its Trilogy Single Molecule Analyzer instrument at four research institutions in Massachusetts and New York, the company said this week

The placements are part of an early-access program, under which neither center has purchased the instruments.

The instrument will be used in laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Human Genetic Research, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Rockefeller University.

US Genomics' Trilogy platform allows users to detect and analyze individual molecules of DNA, RNA, and proteins without the need for amplification

Filed under

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.