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Third Wave, Digene, Chiron, and Bayer, Fisher Biosciences and U of Michigan, Tm Bioscience and ARUP Laboratories, UC Merced, Brown University and NIH, PerkinElmer, Clinical Data and Genaissance, and more ...


Third Wave Sues Digene, Chiron, and Bayer over HCV and HPV Diagnostics

Third Wave Technologies said this week that it has filed two patent suits in federal court in Madison, Wis., related to its diagnostic tests for human papilloma virus and hepatitis C virus.

On Friday, the company said, it filed suit against Digene, seeking a court ruling supporting its right to sell its HPV diagnostics.

Today, Third Wave also filed suit against Chiron, Bayer Corp., and Bayer HealthCare LLC requesting a similar ruling about its right to sell its HCV products. Chiron owns "several patents" relating to HCV, and Bayer is its licensee for clinical diagnostics, Third Wave said.

"Third Wave wants to clear any remaining ambiguities about the company's freedom to operate in valuable markets like those for HCV and HPV," said John Puisis, president and CEO of Third Wave, in a statement. "The value of the Invader chemistry and our pipeline is substantial and we see these actions as a logical progression to protect and expand our market presence."

The suits are the latest in a rash of litigation for the company.

On Sept. 29, Innogenetics of Gent, Belgium, said that it had filed suit against Third Wave and Abbott Laboratories for infringing US Patent No. 5,846,704, which covers a process for typing HCV isolates.

On that same day, Third Wave claimed victory in another suit after a US district barred Stratagene from selling its FullVelocity products, which the court said infringe two patents for Third Wave's Invader chemistry.

Fisher Unit to Fund Research at U of Michigan to Develop New Genomic, Proteomic Technologies

Fisher Biosciences, a unit of Fisher Scientific, will collaborate with the University of Michigan to develop new tools for genomic and proteomic research, the company said this week.

Under the five-year agreement, Fisher will financially support research projects at the Center for Chemical Genomics, a new center that is part of the university's Life Sciences Institute. Technologies to be developed are in the areas of high-throughput screening and detection, protein expression, chemical diversity, and bioinformatics.

In exchange for the funding, Fisher will have the opportunity to license new technologies resulting from the research.

Fisher said it is targeting the development of new procedures for protein testing and sample preparation, new ways of using RNA-interference products, and broader applications of high-content screening.

Tm Bioscience to Supply ARUP Laboratories with P450 Tests

Tm Bioscience will supply ARUP Laboratories with its Tag-It P450 drug metabolism tests, the company said this week.

ARUP is a national reference laboratory based in Salt Lake City.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

UC Merced Receives $500K Gift to Advance Genomics Research

The University of California, Merced has received a $500,000 gift from an anonymous donor to fund the Genome Center, a "high-end, cooperative laboratory" to further the school's genomics research, the school said this week.

The new center will include customized equipment such as robotics for microarray studies and liquid handling, as well as a microarray scanner, UC Merced said.

"This generous gift demonstrates a commitment to advancing human and environmental health through cutting-edge science," said Maria Pallavicini, dean of UC Merced's School of Natural Sciences.

Brown University Receives $11M from NIH to Research Genomics, Proteomics of Cancer

Brown University has received a five-year, $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support genetically based cancer research at its Center for Genomics and Proteomics.

According to the university's newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, five faculty members led by John Sedivy, a professor of medical science and the director of the Center for Genomics and Proteomics, will use the funds to investigate DNA damage, cell growth and division, hormone signaling, and other events that lead to the development or spread of cancer.

The $11 million NIH grant is the second grant given to Brown through the NIH's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence program. In 2000, the NIH awarded the university $11 million to fund the creation of the Center for Genomics and Proteomics.

PerkinElmer, Divesting Three Units, Shifts Focus on Health Sciences, Photonics

PerkinElmer will shift its strategic focus on the health sciences and photonic markets by selling its aerospace, semiconductor, and fluid-testing businesses, the company said last week.

"The proceeds will help us build our growth platforms, with particular emphasis on genetic screening, medical imaging, molecular medicine, and service," PE chairman and CEO Gregory Summe said in a company statement.

PE will sell its aerospace business to Eaton for approximately $333 million, and is in discussions to sell its semiconductor and fluid testing businesses by the end of the year. The company said it expects to gain approximately $400 million from the sale of the Fluid Sciences business alone.

Clinical Data Closes $56M Genaissance Acquisition

Clinical Data has closed its acquisition of Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, following approval by the companies' stockholders, Clinical said last week.

Effective immediately, Genaissance will no longer trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol GNSC. Clinical Data's Nasdaq ticker symbol is CLDA.

Clinical Data announced the $56 million all-stock acquisition in June. Genaissance will continue to market its DNA and pharmacogenomics services, the company said.

Clinical Data is still in the process of acquiring biomarker discovery firm Icoria, "which will add additional capabilities in the area of molecular diagnostics," according to a company statement last week.

JMF, NHGRI to Develop Newborn Screening Tests on Affy Platform

The Jeffrey Modell Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to researching pediatric immunodeficiency disorders, and the National Human Genome Research Institute intend to co-develop a post-natal screen for primary immunodeficiency based on Affymetrix's microarray platform, the three partners said last week.

NHGRI will take the lead in developing the test, which will look for a form of DNA that is found in children with healthy immune systems. If the test results are unusual, a second test based on Affy's platform will screen for specific biomarkers associated with immunodeficiency.

JMF will fund the project. A time table for when the tests would become available was not discussed.

Tm Bioscience to Provide Second Genetic Testing Reagent to William Beaumont Hospital

Tm Bioscience has expanded its supply agreement with William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, to include its Tag-It ASR reagents for use in its Ashkenazi Jewish panel gene assay, the company said last week.

At present, Tm supplies the hospital with reagents for its cystic fibrosis gene assay.

"We also look forward to evaluating additional products from Tm as they are developed," said Carol Holland, technical director of molecular pathology at Beaumont, in a statement.

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