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TGen, MDA, Tm Bioscience, Trangenomic, Roche, Omni Genetics, Sequenom

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TGen Begins $1.3M ALS Gene Screening With Funds from MDA

The Translational Genomics Research Institute has begun collecting 1,000 patient samples to undergo screening for variants causing ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, the company said this week.

The project is being funded with a donation of $650,000 from Augie's Quest, administered by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and with a matching investment of $650,000 from TGen, said project director Dietrich Stephen.

Stephen said that the screening will be done on an Affymetrix 500K platform.

The samples are being collected primarily from the University of Pittsburgh, California Pacific Medical Center, Methodist Neurological Institute, and the Western ALS Group.

Stephen said the project will be completed by the end of 2006.


Tm Bioscience Will Use Sirius Biomarkers to Develop Dx for Severe Sepsis

Tm Bioscience has exclusively licensed from Sirius Genomics certain patents for biomarkers linked to drugs used to treat severe sepsis, the company said this week.

Tm Bioscience will incorporate these markers into a diagnostic for use by critical-care physicians. The company said it expects to launch the test in the second half of 2007.

Tm said the test "could generate" more than $100 million in the first three years on the market.

Terms of the deal call for Tm Bioscience to provide Sirius an upfront payment of $4 million in two equal installments in the second and third quarters of this year. Sirius will repay this cash from earnings generated on the sale of the test. Tm and Sirius will share the remaining earnings equally over the term of the agreement.

The deal covers a series of "possible mutations" that can occur in the genes associated with two proteins, protein C and arginine vasopressin.


Trangenomic's Q4 Sales Decline 21 Percent as Net Loss Nearly Doubles

Transgenomic last week reported a 21.3-percent decrease in net sales and a greater net loss for the fourth quarter.

Sales for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2005, declined to $5.3 million from $6.8 million in the year-ago period.

The company's net loss for the fourth quarter almost doubled to $11.2 million, compared with $6.9 million in Q4 2005.

Transgenomic did not break out its R&D expenses.

As of Dec. 31, Transgenomic had $6.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.


Roche, Omni Genetics Extend Alliance to Identify SNPs in Mice

Omni Genetics and Roche last week said thay had extended their collaboration on genome-wide SNP discovery in the mouse genome.

The companies in April 2005 penned the original deal, which sought to identify SNPs within the genome of closely related mouse strains using Omni Genetics' proprietary rapid-turnaround, whole-genome SNP-scanning technology.

Results of the SNP studies will be used by Omni Genetics and Roche to develop new products for human disease and drug response, Omni Genetics said.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


As Expected, Nasdaq Issues Sequenom Delisting Notice

As expected, the Nasdaq exchange has notified Sequenom that its common stock is now subject to delisting due to its noncompliance with the exchange's $1.00 minimum closing bid price requirement, the company said this week.

The notice comes less than a week after Sequenom was unable to meet its Nasdaq-imposed minimum requirement for continued listing when it failed to lift its shares above $1 for at least 10 consecutive trading days over the past six months.

Sequenom said that it plans to request a hearing before the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel to review the determination to delist its common stock and to seek continued listing of its common stock on Nasdaq. The hearing is expected to be scheduled within 30 to 45 days of the request, Sequenom said. Sequenom will remain listed on the exchange during the appeal process.

As Pharmacogenomics Reporter reported last September, the company had until March 15 to comply with the minimum bid requirement. The shares were trading at $.73 during the mid-afternoon.

Calls to Sequenom were not returned. Nasdaq officials deferred to the company.

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