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Sequenom, Epoch Biosciences, Amersham, Aclara, Agilent, Gene Logic, NuGen Technologies, Epigenomics, Sanger Institute, Affymetrix, Abbott Laboratories, Vanderbilt


Sequenom Cuts 2003 Revenue Outlook by $4M

Sequenom has cut its 2003 revenue outlook by around $4 million, which would bring total revenues for the year below 2002 figures.

The company said this week that total revenue for calendar year 2003 will likely be around $30 million, $28.5 million of which will be from its systems business unit. In August, Sequenom CFO Steve Zaniboni told SNPtech Reporter that total revenue for that period will be approximately $34 million, $32 million of which will be from the systems unit [see SNPtech Reporter, 8/7/2003]. Sequenom said the unit generated $24.8 million in 2002. Total revenue for 2002 was $30.9 million.

Zaniboni said in a statement this week that sales of the company’s newly released MassArray bench-top instrument will be a “driver for growth,” and that it would “begin impacting our revenues in the first quarter of 2004.”

Epoch, ‘Very Disappointed,’ Kills MGB Eclipse Probe Deal with Amersham

Epoch Biosciences has ended a marketing collaboration with Amersham Biosciences over poor sales of its MGB Eclipse genetic analysis probe systems.

“We were very disappointed that Amersham failed to meet contractually established sales minimums and regret that our recent discussions did not produce a solution satisfactory to Epoch,” Epoch CEO William Gerber said in a statement. “We decided to focus our energy on programs and partnerships that are tracking to plan and generating growing revenues.”

In August, Epoch disclosed that revenues from Amersham would be insignificant for the rest of the year, and that its projected revenues for the full-year 2003 would be between $8.5 million and $9.5 million. Epoch said that this guidance remains unchanged.

Gerber said that Epoch is “in discussions with other potential distribution partners” for the MGB Eclipse product line. Amersham declined to comment.

Aclara Licenses eTag System to Tokyo Medical Science Institute

Aclara Biosciences will provide its eTag Assay system to Rinshoken, the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science. TMIMS researcher Futoshi Shibasaki will use the system to develop multiplexed assays for hypoxia-inducible factors in cells and tissues, which occur in heart attack, stroke, and other cerebrovascular disorders, according to Aclara.

The license, which is Aclara’s first deal with a Japanese research organization, also includes access to the reagent products, the software, and support for the system.

Shibasaki’s laboratory studies the way gene expression is modulated by hypoxic responsive factors, in an effort to discover diagnostic and therapeutic targets in this area.

Agilent Labs, Stanford University Pen Cardiovascular-Research Alliance

Agilent Technologies and Stanford University will use Agilent’s gene-expression technologies and computational expertise to analyze cardiovascular tissue samples from human patients.

Stanford’s Donald W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center and Agilent Labs hope to use the technologies to identify, characterize, and validate diagnostic and drug targets that may help prevent, diagnose, and treat heart disease.

Gene Logic Integrates Therimmune; VP Leaves

Gene Logic has reorganized its information services and contract study services business following its acquisition in April of TherImmune Research.

As part of the reorganization, the company will no longer use the TherImmune Research name, and said all service offerings to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies will be marketed under the Gene Logic name.

Also as part of the integration, Steve Trevisan, executive vice president and a director of the company, will step down, but will continue “in an advisory capacity” until the end of the year [see related story on page 2]. Trevisan was formerly president and CEO of TherImmune Research, and joined Gene Logic in April.

NuGen Technologies Gets Phase I SBIR Grant for RNA-Amplification Technology

NuGen Technologies has received a Phase I grant from the NIH to develop its nucleic acid amplification and detection technologies.

The company markets the Ovation RNA amplification system for gene expression that uses its single primer isothermal amplification technology. This technology is incorporated into the company’s Ribo-Spia method for isothermal linear RNA amplification.

These technologies are designed to be sensitive enough to amplify samples for small numbers of cells or single cells from tissue biopsies, laser capture microdissection, and other methods of tissue procurement. The company said it plans to use the grant to validate its technologies for this small-sample amplification.

Epigenomics, Sanger Institute Launch First Phase of Human Epigenome Project

Epigenomics and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have entered the first phase of the Human Epigenome Project, an attempt to map all the sites in the human genome in which cytosine bases are modified by DNA methylation.

The announcement follows the completion of an HEP pilot project that studied methylation patterns within the Major Histocompatibility Complex in chromosome 6 to determine the methylation status of over 100,000 sites. Data from the pilot study, which was funded by the European Union, was released today on the HEP’s website.

Certain undisclosed commercial and academic partners will supply tissue samples for the project. Epigenomics will prepare the tissue samples with its high-throughput methylation analysis technology before they undergo sequencing by the Sanger Institute.

Affymetrix Begins Taking Orders For Whole Human-Genome Chip

Affymetrix has begun taking orders for its new whole human-genome microarray. The new GeneChip Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 array, which will ship in October, can analyze the expression level of nearly 50,000 RNA transcripts and variants with 22 different probes per transcript.

The product combines the content of Affy’s existing HG-U133 two-array set with nearly 10,000 new probe sets that represent around 6,500 new genes that were verified against the latest version of the publicly available genome map.

Affy said the probes of the HG-U133 Plus 2.0 and its two-chip predecessor were designed the same way. The new array uses 22 independent measures to detect the hybridization of each transcript on the array — 1.3 million data points in all.

Also in the running in this whole-genome-on-a-chip horse race are Agilent, which said last week it has begun shipping its own chip to beta customers; Nimblegen Systems, which already offers the whole human genome on an array it sells as a service; Applied Biosystems, which expects to launch its own array and reader by the end of the year; and Amersham, which will introduce its whole human-genome chips early next year.

Abbott Will Manufacture Human Thrombin for Zymogenetics

Novo Nordisk spin-off Zymogenetics said that Abbott Laboratories will manufacture its recombinant human trombin. ZymoGenetics, which is developing rhThrombin as an alternative to bovine plasma-derived thrombin for use as a topical hemostat, expects to market the product at the end of 2006, a company spokeswoman told SNPtech Reporter.

Plasma-derived thrombin has been used as a hemostatic agent for more than 30 years, and is applied topically to surgical incisions, sutures, and burn, according to Zymogenetics. Bovine thrombin is currently the only form of thrombin that is sold in the United States as a stand-alone product for the treatment of surgical bleeding, the company said.

“Recombinant coagulation proteins have so far been accepted by the medical community as safe alternatives to plasma-derived proteins, as demonstrated by the rapid acceptance of recombinant forms of coagulation Factor VIII and Factor IX,” Zymogenetics said.

Vanderbilt Proteomics Program Nabs $1.2 Million Defense Department Grant

Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center Advanced Proteomics Program has won $1.2 million from the US Department of Defense for personnel and lab upgrades used in cancer research, according to a local news report.

The money is in addition to $19 million in grants the DoD’s Medical Free Electron Laser program gave to Vanderbilt and four other university medical institutions for “medical and materials research,” the Nashville Business Journal reported online last week.


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