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Roche, Enzo Life Sciences, Yale, Applera, SeraCare Life Science, Genomics Collaborative, Beckman Coulter, Althea Technologies, NHGRI, Stratagene, Monsanto, MetaMorphix, Cargill, Agilent, USC, Expression Analysis

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Roche Sues Enzo After Cash Settlement Falls Flat ...

After their cash settlement fell flat, Roche Diagnostics and Roche Molecular Systems said they will sue Enzo Biochem and Enzo Life Sciences to challenge Enzo’s claims to microarray-related technologies, Enzo said last week.

Enzo, which said Roche’s settlement was inadequate, said it “will vigorously protect its assets and rights and will respond appropriately to this action.”

Enzo claims Roche broke a distribution and supply agreement the two companies signed in 1994, and that certain products and technologies “funneled by Affymetrix to Roche” belong to Enzo under an agreement the company has with Affymetrix.

The disputed technology relates to Enzo’s US patent No. 4,994,373, “Method and structures employing chemically-labelled polynucleotide probes,” which is also the subject of a lawsuit by Enzo against Affymetrix.


... As Enzo, Yale Sue Applera for Infringing Certain Reagent Patents

Enzo Biochem last week sued Applera for infringing patented technologies related to certain DNA sequencing systems.

The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut against Applera and its Tropix subsidiary, charges the firms with infringing US Patent Nos. 5,476,928; 5,449,767; 5,328,824; 4,711,955; 5,082,830; and 4,994,373. Four of these patents are exclusively licensed to Enzo by Yale University, which is also a named as a plaintiff in the suit. The remaining patents are owned by Enzo Biochem's subsidiary, Enzo Life Sciences.

The patent suite covers compounds used in DNA sequencing systems. In a statement, Enzo said that Applera and Tropix "improperly make, use and sell the patented products and technologies, as well as providing others with unauthorized and prohibited access to the patented products and technologies.

Enzo and Yale are seeking "injunctive relief and monetary damages.”


SeraCare Acquires Genomics Collaborative for $13.5M in Stock

SeraCare Life Sciences has acquired Genomics Collaborative for roughly $14.3 million, the companies announced last week.

SeraCare will acquire GCU in exchange for 1.1 million shares of its common stock, worth approximately $13.5 million based on the stock’s closing price June 3, as well as $800,000 in cash. The company will also assume certain liabilities.

SeraCare, based in Oceanside, Calif., plans to add GCI’s repository of clinical samples, as well as its gene expression and validation services, to its BioBank database offerings. It also plans to retain GCI’s management and scientific team. SeraCare said it has access to GCI’s existing contract accounts, which provided GCI with $4.3 million in sales last year.

GCI has a repository of 550,000 samples of well-characterized DNA, serum, and tissues from 120,000 patients. The acquisition comes several months after Mike Pellini, GCI’s founder and president, stepped down for personal reasons.


Beckman to Use Althea’s Gene Expression Tech in GenomeLab

Beckman Coulter has licensed a gene-expression technology from Althea Technologies, Beckman said.

Terms of the arrangement call for Beckman to incorporate Althea’s high-throughput Express Profiling gene expression technology into its GenomeLab suite of gene analysis technologies.

Althea, which is based in San Diego, provides services in the areas of GLP and non-GLP gene expression analyses, custom genomic analyses using real-time PCR, cGMP plasmid DNA, and protein production.


NHGRI to Devote $1 Million To Genomics IP Initiative

The National Human Genome Research Institute will commit $1 million in fiscal year 2005 to fund the investigation of intellectual property issues in genetics, genomics, and proteomics, NHGRI said last week.

According to an RFA, the NHGRI has identified IP issues as one of the “Grand Challenges” for the future of genomics. Proteomics has made the issue even more complex, the NHGRI said. An official committee on the issue convened by the National Academies of Sciences will not be sufficient to address all the issues, according to the RFA. NHGRI’s fiscal year begin Oct. 1.

The NAS Committee is expected to release its report in the summer of 2005, “but there will clearly be a need for other, more in-depth, examinations and analyses of these issues, by investigators from a broad range of disciplines,” the RFA said.

To help address this need, the NHGRI said it proposes a “new initiative to encourage the study of the role of laws and policies regarding intellectual property rights in genetics and genomics research and development, and the effect of such laws and policies on progress in these fields and on commercialization, drug development, health care delivery, and public health.”

The initiative is “designed to support rigorous, carefully focused legal, statistical, economic, political science, historical, and other social scientific investigations, both theoretical and empirical,” the RFA said.


Mission Accomplished: Hycor Becomes Subsidiary of Stratagene

Better late than never. Almost one year after announcing its plan to buy Hycor Biomedical, Stratagene last week said the deal is now done.

As a result of the merger, which was delayed twice, Hycor will become a wholly owned subsidiary of La Jolla, Calif.-based Stratagene, and will continue to operate at its current location in Garden Grove, Calif.

Separately, Stratagene said its shares will begin trading on the Nasdaq market under the ticker symbol STGN. Trading began June 3.

In addition, Stratagene said it will release financial results after market close June 10. Hycor Biomedical separately released its financial results on April 27.


Monsanto Opts for MetaMorphix SNP Tech In Pork Quality Improvement Program …

Monsanto will use SNP-mapping technology from MetaMorphix to select beneficial genetic traits for its marker-assisted pork improvement program, the companies said this week.

Monsanto said it will use MetaMorphix' platform to identify locations of the genome responsible for several economically important traits in pork, including those associated with meat quality, health, reproduction, and production.

Monsanto Choice Genetics, a division of Monsanto focused on pork genetics, will perform the study. MetaMorphix will provide the firm with an exclusive royalty-bearing license to its porcine Genius Whole Genome System, which includes a map of around 600,000 SNPs, along with consulting and support services.


… While Cargill Completes Whole Genome Association Study in Beef

MetaMorphix and Cargill have completed the first whole cattle genome association study and developed tools that could identify cattle that meet certain quality and consistency levels.

The companies entered their exclusive research and development deal in June 2002. MetaMorphix had previously identified and characterized a dense map of novel genetic markers based on single nucleotide polymorphisms in beef cattle. It then conducted a whole genome association study in a population of commercial cattle in a Cargill feedlot and discovered specific regions in the cattle genome associated with desirable beef traits.

The companies said that over the next year, the tools will be validated in Cargill feedlots in order to examine their potential use in commercial cattle production.


Agilent Partners with TGen to Develop CGH Arrays for Cancer Research

Agilent Technologies and the Translational Genomics Research Institute will co-develop microarrays for use in comparative genomic hybridization for cancer research, Agilent said this week.

The collaboration will speed its development of commercial CGH microarrays, which could be used to screen tumors for genetic changes. Array-based CGH methods that “pinpoint the precise boundaries” of these changes “are not widely available today,” the firm said.

Agilent Laboratories, the central research facility of Agilent Technologies, is collaborating with TGen to "benchmark and optimize" the CGH arrays, which TGen is using under an early-access agreement, the firm said.


USC to Use Illumina Genotyping System for Neurogenetic Research

The University of Southern California's Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine will purchase a BeadLab SNP-genotyping system from Illumina to support its research in neurodegenerative and neuropsychological disorders.

Illumina said that the system will serve as a "core facility" for DNA analysis across USC, supporting a broad range of biomedical research programs conducted by different departments. When installed, the system will allow USC researchers to produce more than eight hundred thousand genotypes per day, Illumina added.


Expression Analysis Renews Array Service Contract with Duke

Expression Analysis has renewed and extended a 2001 Affymetrix microarray service agreement with Duke University Medical Center, the company said.

Expression Analysis, based in Durham, NC, will continue to provide microarray analysis services to Duke for at least three and up to five years, using Affy’s GeneChip platform. The company said it will soon expand its services to include RNA isolation from paraffin-embedded tissue and genotyping.

Filed under

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.