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Roche, NimbleGen, Illumina, Integragen, Beckman Coulter, Digene, Decode Genetics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, NHGRI, Biofortis, C-Path

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Roche to Acquire NimbleGen for $272.5M, Eyes Additional Genomic Vendors
 
Roche plans to acquire NimbleGen Systems for $272.5 million, the Swiss biotech giant said this week.
 
Saying that NimbleGen’s arrays complement Roche’s ongoing genomics campaigns, Roche Diagnostics CEO Severin Schwan said the deal is part of the company’s strategy to gain ground in the genomics research market by “extending our activities into the microarray segment.”
 
NimbleGen, a private company based in Madison, Wis., in March filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an initial public offering of stock but had not set a specific date or opening share price.
  
Roche said the acquisition, which would make NimbleGen a division of Roche Applied Science, which is part of Roche Diagnostics, still depends on approval from NimbleGen’s shareholders.
 
NimbleGen offers products and services for genomic hybridization, chromatin immunoprecipitation arrays, comparative genome sequencing, and expression analysis.
 
The array systems from NimbleGen are “highly synergistic and will complement the existing Roche portfolio of innovative genomic research tools such as the LightCycler qPCR systems and the high-throughput Sequencing Systems from the recently acquired company 454 Life Sciences," Roche said in a statement.
 
Roche said NimbleGen has plans to expand its product line “in the near future” to include higher-density arrays, integrated instrument systems, and related reagents and consumables for advanced genome analysis.
 
NimbleGen in October licensed nucleic acid microrarray technology from Affymetrix, and in January it struck a licensing and supply deal with Oxford Gene Technology for oligonucleotide array IP.
  
Having access to Roche’s international sales and distribution network “will accelerate and broaden our high-density DNA microarray business,” said NimbleGen CEO Stan Rose, adding that the merger also will enhance the companies' “new technologies focused on targeted DNA sequencing.”
 
Roche said it expects to retain NimbleGen’s 140 employees and keep NimbleGen’s facilities in Madison; Reykjavik, Iceland; and in Waldkraiburg, Germany. The company expects the deal to close in the third quarter.
 

 
Illumina Certifies Integragen for GoldenGate, Infinium Genotyping
 
Integragen has received certification as a service provider for Illumina's GoldenGate and Infinium genotyping technologies, Illumina said this week.
 
Illumina said the GoldenGate assay is designed for DNA methylation profiling, and offers a combination of high sample throughput, high multiplexing, and single-site CpG resolution. The Infinium BeadArray is used for custom SNP assays, and offers multi-sample BeadChip formats and high-density architecture, the company said.
 
Integragen, based in Evry, France, has already supplied the Illumina technology to study the loss of heterozygosity in liver tumors at the Human Polymorphism Study Center in Paris, Illumina said.
 
Illumina said that its certification process includes minimum data generation, data certification, and an on-site audit of the labs and processes.
 

 
Court Dismisses Beckman Coulter From Digene's HPV IP Suit After Arbitration
 
A federal court last week dismissed Beckman Coulter in a patent-infringement suit filed against the company by Digene.
 
Digene sued Beckman and Ventana Medical Systems in 2005 for allegedly infringing patents related to the company’s human papillomavirus materials and intellectual property.
 
Digene said it will continue its litigation against Ventana.
 
Beckman Coulter and Digene agreed through arbitration in 2006 that Beckman’s sale of certain HPV-related patent rights to Ventana was “impermissible,” Digene CEO Daryl Faulkner said in a statement.
 
The court affirmed the decision of the arbitration panel, the Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association, which found that Beckman Coulter violated a cross-license agreement between Digene and the Institut Pasteur by selling its HPV intellectual property to Ventana.
  
The panel also ruled that Beckman Coulter was allowed to assign HPV licenses it had received previously from Pasteur.
 
“With this motion behind us, we expect to continue our efforts to defend our intellectual property rights,” Faulkner said.
 

 
Decode Settles IP-Theft Suit Against CHOP, Former Staffers
 
Decode Genetics has settled its lawsuit against the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and several former employees for allegedly stealing trade secrets and breaking non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, the company said last week.
 
Under the terms of the settlement, the CHOP defendants have agreed not to “use or disclose” any of the “confidential” information that was the subject of the suit, Decode said in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
 
Additionally, Decode will receive an undisclosed payment “to give the releases contemplated by the settlement.”
 
As Pharmacogenomics Reporter previously reported, Decode last fall sued five former employees for allegedly stealing some of Decode’s intellectual property and sharing that information with CHOP’s Center for Applied Genomics while they were still Decode employees.
  
The Center for Applied Genomics, which the hospital began operating last summer, focuses on searching for genes linked to childhood diseases such as asthma, obesity, and diabetes.
 
CHOP said at the time that the suit was “without merit,” and hospital President and CEO Steve Altschuler said, “It would be a blow to the enormous promise of [the hospital's] research if a for-profit company is permitted to interfere with the potential advancement of healthcare for children."
 

 
NHGRI Using Biofortis' Labmatrix for ClinSeq Studies
 
The National Human Genome Research Institute is using Biofortis’ Labmatrix data-management software in its ClinSeq sequencing program, which intends to sequence the genomes of 1,000 human subjects and to continue research with these subjects over time in the clinical setting, Biofortis said last week.
 
The NHGRI told Pharmacogenomics Reporter sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News in May it will use 14 Applied Biosystems 3730 sequencers to screen 1,000 individuals with symptoms of coronary heart disease for between 200 and 400 genes linked to the condition.
 
Biofortis said the NHGRI is using Labmatrix to “manage and integrate patient, sample tracking, and genetic data.”
 
NHGRI has already been using Labmatrix as its central database in its intramural research programs, Biofortis CEO Ethel Rubin told Pharmacogenomics Reporter sister publication BioInform last week.
  
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
C-Path Opens Rockville Office to Be Close to Biotech Belt, Federal Gov't
 
The Critical Path Institute has opened an office in Rockville, Md., the Tucson, Ariz.-based non-profit said last week.
 
C-Path moved into the offices in January, but made an official announcement on Monday.  
 
C-Path was formed to support the US Food and Drug Administration, pharmaceutical companies, and academic institutions as the FDA tries to implement its Critical Path Initiative to accelerate the drug-development process.
 
C-Path Chief Scientific Officer Jeff Cossman told Pharmacogenomics Reporter sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News that it is important that C-Path have a presence near the FDA, the National Institutes of Health, the numerous biotech companies in the region, and the US Congress.
 
Cossman, who was former medical director of Gene Logic, said that “because the NIH is so under-funded these days” C-Path is working directly with Capitol Hill on legislation to help acquire extra federal funding for drug-development programs.
 
Cossman also said that being near many industry scientists makes it easier to recruit them to help pursue the aims of the Critical Path Initiative and to share scientific information.
 

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