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ABI, Eksigent, PerkinElmer, Luminex, Lumera, Harvard Medical School, US DoD, Invitrogen, Quantum Dot, Celera Dx, Celera Genomics, LabCorp, Fisher Biosciences, Dyomics, GenTel BioSciences, BD, GeneOhm

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ABI to Sell HPLC Systems Based on Eksigent Microfluidics

Eksigent Technologies said this week that it has signed a distribution agreement with Applied Biosystems for a new line of high-performance liquid chromatography systems that will be built upon its Microfluidic Flow Control technology.

The new line of Tempro LC systems will integrate Eksigent's microfluidics with Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex mass spectrometers.

ABI/MDS Sciex will sell and service the systems, which will include platforms for nano LC, high-throughput micro LC, and an LC-MALDI deposition system.


PerkinElmer to Use Luminex's xMAP Platform in IVD Development

Luminex will provide access to PerkinElmer to its xMAP technology and assay-development capabilities, PerkinElmer said this week.

Under the agreement, PerkinElmer will standardize its multiplex assay development on the xMAP platform. The company will use the technology in biomarker panels for pharmaceutical development and ADME/Tox, and to develop in vitro diagnostics in maternal, neonatal, and prenatal health.

Additional details were not disclosed.


Lumera Signs 10,000-Spot Protein Array Development Deal with Harvard Medical School

Lumera has entered into a collaborative agreement with Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Institute of Proteomics to develop protein microarrays, the company said this week.

Lumera and HMS will develop a silicon chip substrate that combines Lumera's NanoCapture technology with HMS's NAPPA (nucleic acid programmable protein array) technology to create high-density protein arrays with 10,000 spots.

The 10,000-spot array "is a very important step towards our ultimate goal of producing a whole-proteome biochip," said Joshua LaBaer, director of the Harvard Institute of Proteomics, in a statement.

According to Lumera, current protein arrays are limited to around 800 spots.

The NAPPA technology, first published in the July 2004 issue of Science, starts with a printed cDNA array and generates a self-assembled protein array using a cell-free expression mix to produce proteins from the printed genes.

HMS and Lumera will share rights to jointly developed intellectual property.

Further financial details were not disclosed.


US DoD Awards Invitrogen Subsidiary $970K to Develop Protein Arrays for Biothreat Agents

Invitrogen said this week that the US Department of Defense has awarded its Federal Systems subsidiary $970,000 to develop protein microarrays for biothreat agents.

The work is designed to support the US Army Medical Research and Material Command, Invitrogen said. The research will be conducted under the direction of James Meegan, senior director of research and development at Invitrogen; and Robert Ulrich of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Invitrogen's ProtoArray protein microarrays consist of complete sets of pure, functional proteins from specific organisms spotted onto glass slides in a high density configuration. Invitrogen developed them in 2001 as a means to enhance the detection and analysis of biomolecular interactions. They are sold using protein sets derived from both the yeast and human genomes.


Embarking in New Direction, Invitrogen to Develop 'Consumable' Instruments; Quantum Dot Assets Could Play Role

Invitrogen plans to develop instruments, acknowledging for the first time that it intends to expand beyond its consumables and services offerings, a company official said this week.

Speaking at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier said the instruments would be based on the "unique abilities" of the firm's reagents. Specifically, he cited the technology the firm gained through its acquisition of Quantum Dot as a possible base for the development.

According to Lucier, the goal is to develop hardware that would be considered "consumable" and could be disposed of after a short period of use. This would disqualify capital equipment such as mass spec and liquid chromatography.

Lucier did not disclose what kind of instruments or the applications they would target. He also did not provide a timeline on when the firm expects to market such instrumentation.

Invitrogen has long eschewed the equipment market in favor of the more predictable sales that accompany reagents and other consumables. It has focused primarily on building its molecular diagnostics and protein offerings through several acquisitions over the past two years.

During a breakout session following the firm's presentation, Lucier also stressed that Invitrogen's plans for the molecular diagnostics market is focused on some "high-margin areas," and the firm has no plans to become a clinical diagnostics company. He said that if Invitrogen wanted to buy a clinical diagnostics business it has the resources to do it, but it has no plans to take the company in that direction.


ABI Hands Off Celera Dx Stake to Celera Genomics for $30M, Obtains Rights to Dx Instrument Sales

Applied Biosystems has transferred its 50-percent stake in Celera Diagnostics to Celera Genomics in exchange for a "package of considerations" including $30 million in cash, the Applera companies said this week.

Additional terms of the agreement, which took effect Jan. 1, call for ABI to gain the right to sell instrument platforms to end-user diagnostic customers, a field previously reserved for Celera Diagnostics. ABI said that it expects its entry into the clinical diagnostic instrumentation market to increase revenue and margin.

In addition, Celera Genomics will provide certain R&D and regulatory support to ABI at cost, including assistance in developing new PCR reagents and clinical diagnostic instruments. Celera Genomics will also forgive future royalties due through 2017 on sales of select ABI products, the companies said.

Applera said that the deal is not expected to be material to ABI's 2006 financial results.

Celera Diagnostics was formed in 2001 as a joint venture equally owned by ABI and Celera Genomics. The transfer of ownership is aimed to provide investors with "a direct means to invest in the growing diagnostics business," Tony White, Applera's chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement.

Celera Diagnostics counts among its products the HIV-1 ViroSeq Genotyping System, analyte-specific reagents used to detect genetic mutations associated with cystic fibrosis, and ASRs used for hepatitis C viral load monitoring and genotyping. These products are sold through an ongoing alliance with Abbott Laboratories.

As part of the restructuring, Applera also said it has restructured this alliance with Abbott, in which the companies will continue to work together exclusively through a profit-sharing agreement in "most areas of molecular diagnostics," while separately working outside the alliance in other selected areas.


Lee Hood to Work With LabCorp in Molecular Dx Consulting Project

Laboratory Corporation of America and Leroy Hood, president of the Institute for Systems Biology, have signed a strategic consulting agreement, the company said this week.

Under the agreement, Hood will work with LabCorp to develop programs that integrate medicine and molecular diagnostics at LabCorp.

Additional details were not disclosed.


Fisher Biosciences and Dyomics to Develop Protein Products

Fisher Biosciences will develop and manufacture protein and nucleic acid-detection products as part of a collaboration with Dyomics, Fisher said this week.

Fisher currently offers protein-research products based primarily on chemiluminescent and colorimetric detection under its Pierce brand. Under the collaboration, the brand will include fluorescently labeled reagents

The parent company of Fisher Biosciences, Fisher Scientific International, recently acquired an equity interest in Dyomics.


Citing New Business Scope, GenTel Changes Name to GenTel BioSciences

Claiming it was "more" than a surface chemistry company, GenTel BioSurfaces has changed its name to GenTel BioSciences, the Madison, Wis.-based company said this week.

GenTel said the name change reflected its growth into an "integrated, full-service multiplex immunoassay company" whose core business centered on biochip products and services.


BD Acquires GeneOhm Sciences for $230M in Bid to Bolster Infectious-Disease Play

Becton Dickinson has acquired GeneOhm Sciences for $230 million plus up to $25 million in additional incentives, BD said this week.

GeneOhm is a privately held company headquartered in San Diego that develops molecular diagnostics designed to detect bacteria known to cause healthcare-associated infections. BD said that GeneOhm had 2005 revenues of approximately $5 million, and provides BD with expanded entry into the emerging HAI market.

Specifically, GeneOhm markets FDA-cleared IDI-MRSA and IDI-Strep B diagnostic tests. MRSA, also known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is responsible for HAIs, and Group B Strep poses a risk to pregnant women and their children during the latter stages of pregnancy.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the end of March 2006. BD also said that the GeneOhm transaction is slightly dilutive. However, it reaffirms its previous guidance that reported diluted earnings per share from continuing operations for fiscal year 2006 are expected to be in the range of $3.15 to $3.19. BD said it will provide further details around this guidance during its first quarter earnings call on January 26.

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.