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Solexa, NitroMed, Sequenom, NIGMS, Jackson Lab, CombiMatrix, Opaldia, Agendia, Children s Memorial Research Center, Ipsogen, Tm Bioscience, Luminex, Abbott Molecular, Affymetrix

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Solexa to Phase Out MPSS Activities This Year

Solexa plans to discontinue its activities involving Lynx's legacy Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing technology this year and is renegotiating with MPSS customers to provide them with services based on the company's Sequencing-by-Synthesis chemistry, Solexa said in an SEC filing last week.

This is the first time that Solexa has been specific about when it plans to phase out the MPSS technology it inherited from Lynx. Last May, Solexa CEO John West told BioArray News that the company would continue to offer MPSS through the launch of the SBS-Cluster analysis system, and that it would encourage MPSS customers to switch over time. At that time, Solexa did not provide a timeline.


BiDil Manufacturer Cuts Staff to Free Cash for R&D

NitroMed cut approximately 30 employees from its payroll, effective March 31, to concentrate on continued development of an extended-release version of its flagship BiDil heart-failure drug, as well as out-licensing and collaboration for its nitric oxide-releated technologies.

The company hopes to bring its costs into line with revenue expectations, the statement said.

Restructuring charges will be announced in the company's first-quarter earnings in early May, NitroMed said.

Late last month, Michael Loberg and Lawrence Bloch, NitroMed's CEO and CFO/COO, respectively, resigned in mutual agreements with the company [see 3/29/06 PGx Reporter].


Sequenom Increases Private Placement by $3M

Sequenom said this week that its previously announced private stock placement has been increased by $3 million to $33 million.

The company said the increase comes with the addition of Siemens Venture Capital to the list of investors taking part in the placement.

Under the terms of the increased transaction, which remains subject to shareholder approval and other closing conditions, Sequenom will issue 60 million shares of common stock and 36 million warrants exercisable at $.70 per share.

The transaction is expected to close by May 31, the company said. Net proceeds from the transaction will be used for general working capital needs.


NIGMS Awards Jackson Lab $15.1M to Create Systems Biology Center

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences said this week that it has awarded a team at the Jackson Laboratory $15.1 million under its National Centers for Systems Biology program.

The five-year award follows a $16.3 million grant that NIGMS awarded to the Institute for Systems Biology under the same program earlier this month.

NIGMS said it has funded five other systems biology centers over the last four years at Case Western Reserve University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and the University of Washington.

The Jackson Lab will use the funding to create a Genome Dynamics center, which will study how patterns of genetic variation emerge and persist over time. The center will collect genetic information from more than 200 inbred strains of mice and will study expression patterns to identify co-expressed genes, examine how these patterns evolved, and investigate how the overall genome organization affects phenotype, NIGMS said

Gary Churchill, senior staff scientist at the Jackson Lab, is the principal investigator on the grant.


CombiMatrix Molecular Diagnostics Receives CLIA Certification

CombiMatrix Molecular Diagnostics has received CLIA certification to operate as a clinical laboratory, the company announced last week.

Matt Watson, CEO of CMDX, said his company had been working to establish processes and procedures that would meet CLIA's quality control and quality assurance standards since it opened in May 2005.

CMDX is a wholly owned subsidiary of CombiMatrix, which is a unit of Acacia Research.


Opaldia to Distribute Agendia's MammaPrint and CupPrint Tests in UK

Opaldia will distribute Agendia's MammaPrint and CupPrint tests in the United Kingdom, the companies said last week.

MammaPrint uses a 70-gene profile to classify breast cancer patients as 'low' or 'high' risk for developing distant metastasis in a 10-year period.

The CupPrint test, meantime, is intended to identify the primary tumor in patients with cancer of unknown primary.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Chicago Scientists Launch Expression-Analysis Service Firm

Four scientists from the Children's Memorial Research Center in Chicago have launched Precision Biomarker Resources, a CRO that will provide microarray processing and data-analysis services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic researchers.

The new company, based in Evanston, Ill., is an Affymetrix-authorized service provider and will use Affy's GeneChip platform as part of its services.

As originally reported in Pharmacogenomics Reporter's sister publication BioArray News last week, Precision Biomarker Resources was founded by scientists who established the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Program at Children's. They are David Paul, who will serve as president; Eric Bremer, chief scientific officer; Jason Monroe, director of operations; and David George, director of bioinformatics.

The fifth founder is Charles Happ, who will serve as Precision's business director, and is currently board chairman of the Technology Innovation Center incubator based in Evanston.


Ipsogen Licenses Mutation from French Institutes for Myeloproliferative Disorders

Ipsogen has obtained an exclusive worldwide license from three French institutions to a mutation in the JAK2 gene believed to enable researchers to better classify myeloproliferative disorders, the company said last week.

It licensed the mutated tyrosine kinase from the Institut Gustave Roussy, the French National Health and Medical Research Institute, and Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris.

If used as a biomarker, the mutation can provide information about the nature of an elevated platelet or red blood cell count, which occurs frequently. Ipsogen said it is developing a "decentralized" CE marked test that will integrate the company's FusionQuant and ProfileQuant technologies.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Tm Extends Alliance With Luminex to Sell Dx Products On xMAP Platform

Tm Bioscience has extended for multiple additional years an agreement with Luminex to sell DNA-based molecular diagnostics that operate on Luminex's xMAP platform, Tm said last week.

All of Tm's genetic tests use its Tag-It Universal Array platform. Tm's assays, meantime, use Luminex's xMAP platform.

The original agreement between the two companies, launched in 2001, expired yesterday. The renegotiated deal incorporates "similar terms" to the original, including the ability for Tm to distribute such xMAP systems as the new LX200 instrument, Tm said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Abbott Molecular Licenses Affy's CGH Microarray Patents

Affymetrix has licensed a number of patents to Abbott Molecular, a division of Abbott, the company said this week. The non-exclusive agreement allows Abbott to manufacture and sell comparative genomic hybridization microarrays, readers, and software for research and diagnostics.

Affymetrix did not disclose details of the license.

Filed under

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.