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Third Wave Settles HPV Suit With Digene

Third Wave has settled a patent-infringement suitit filed against Digene last fall related to Third Wave's human papillomavirus products, Digene said last week.

The agreement was made "amicably" and "without the grant of any license or freedom-to-operate under the patents-in-suit and without any effect on the patents-in-suit," Digene said in a statement.

The companies have also agreed not to sue each other over HPV patents for one year. The firms stressed that the settlement does not include any license or payment by either company.

As Pharmacogenomics Reporter reported in October, Third Wave sued Digene in hopes of obtaining a court ruling supporting its right to sell its HPV diagnostics.

"Third Wave wants to clear any remaining ambiguities about the company's freedom to operate in valuable markets like those for ... HPV," John Puisis, former president and CEO of Third Wave, said in a statement at the time. "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."


Metabolon Raises $8M in Series B Funding

Metabolon closed an $8 million Series B funding round, the company said this week.

Investors in this round included Sevin Rosen Funds, Aurora Funds, and Trelys Funds. Harris & Harris Group participated as a new investor, contributing $2.5 million.

Metabolon, based in Research Triangle Park, NC, uses metabolomics to discover biomarkers. The company has ongoing biomarker-discovery collaborations with the National Cancer Institute, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

The company raised $9 million in Series A funding in October 2004.


Decode Buys Cancer Research Firm UVS for $5.5M in Stock

Decode Genetics has bought Urdur, Verdandi, Skuld, a privately held Icelandic cancer research company, to expand its discovery and drug development capabilities based on population genetics, Decode said this week.

"UVS has organized cancer research in Iceland since 1998 and has recruited a large number of patients and controls into their studies," said Decode's CEO, Kari Stefansson, in a statement.

Reykjavik-based Decode acquired UVS for $5.5 million in common stock based on the average closing price for the 30 days preceding the acquisition, according to the statement.

Shares of Decode were trading lower in afternoon trade, after hitting a 52-week high yesterday of $10.77.


Clinical Data Buys Back Xmark Warrants, Retires Debt

Clinical Data has bought back a total of 130,000 warrants from Xmark Opportunity Fund for total cash consideration of $130,000, the company said this week. Each repurchased warrant carried the right to buy Clinical Data common stock at a price of $28.50 per share.

The repurchase opportunity was the result of the diagnostic company's retiring a $4.5 million dollar note previously issued to Xmark, said Clinical Data chief financial officer Mark Shooman in a statement.

The warrants and the debt were assumed by Clinical datae in its October 2005, $56 million all-stock purchase of Genaissance.


NIH Plans to Fund Studies Into Genetic Components of Heart, Lung, Blood Disorders

The National Institutes of Health will issue a request for applications early this year for genome-wide association studies to identify genetic components related to heart, lung, and blood disorders and their risk factors using existing population, family, and clinical studies, the agency said last week.

The NIH said it will fund genotyping and data-analysis projects focused on developing strategies for genome-wide association studies in existing population, cohort, clinical, and family studies.

"Studies may seek to identify associations of genes with the presence of one particular HLB disorder and may examine interactions among genetic and environmental factors; susceptibility for multiple conditions; or associations of genes with disease risk factors, disease incidence, or therapeutic responsiveness," the NIH said. "A diversity of participant populations regarding age, sex, and race/ethnicity will be supported under this initiative."

The NIH noted that investigators should have access to existing sources of DNA from such population studies, and that it will "fund measurement of genomic data on available samples from existing human studies and analysis of those data." Funding for recruitment, additional phenotyping, or sample acquisition will be provided.


Tm Bioscience to Supply Jacobi Medical Center with Tag-It Reagents

Tm Biosciences will supply Jacobi Medical Center with Tag-It reagents, Tm said this week.

Jacobi will use the reagents in its Ashkenazi Jewish Panel and cystic fibrosis gene assays.

Last year Tm secured supply deals for the same assays to LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics.

Financial details were not given.


Ciphergen Improperly Filed Quest Alliance With Nasdaq, Failed to Obtain Investor Approval

Ciphergen Biosystems has received a deficiency notification from the Nasdaq National Market indicating that the company failed to comply with the continued listing requirements of the exchange, the company said late last week.

According Ciphergen, the Nasdaq said the company did not file a listing notification and obtain shareholder approval for its July 22, 2005, stock sale to Quest Diagnostics. A part of an R&D alliance between the two companies called for Ciphergen to sell Quest around 6.2 million shares of stock along with a warrant to purchase 2.2 million additional shares. The combined sale would give Quest a 17-percent stake in Ciphergen.

Ciphergen said the Nasdaq indicated that it believes the Quest deal "constituted a change of control which required shareholder approval because the number of shares purchased by Quest, together with the number of shares potentially issuable upon exercise of the warrant, could exceed 20 percent of the total number of outstanding shares of common stock" of Ciphergen.

Ciphergen said that the arrangement provides that Quest will not own more than 19.9 percent of Ciphergen.

Ciphergen said it has until Jan. 17 to present its opinion on the matter to Nasdaq.


Techcomp to Distribute Ciphergen Products in China, Southeast Asia; Firms Pen Product-Development Alliance

Ciphergen has signed a distribution and marketing agreement with Shanghai, China-based Techcomp, Ciphergen said this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, Techcomp will distribute Ciphergen's ProteinChip family of products in China (excluding Taiwan), Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

In addition, Ciphergen and Techcomp have entered into a product development and manufacturing agreement for sample preparation technology and "an associated device." The resulting product would be manufactured by Techcomp and sold by Ciphergen worldwide, Ciphergen said.

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.