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Applera, Celera, Vermillion, GE Healthcare, Geneva Bioinformatics, Proteome Sciences, Varian, Precision Detectors, Enzo, Biomol, Kinaxo, Onconova, GenTel, PriTest, SomaLogic, Otsuka, Foldit, Miraculins

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Applera, Celera Parting Scheduled for July 1
 
Applera’s board last week approved the company’s separation from Celera, expected to become effective July 1.
 
As a result of the split, each outstanding share of Applera-Celera tracking stock will be redeemed for one share of Celera stock. After the separation Celera will operate as an independent, publicly traded company. Its stock is expected to be traded on the Nasdaq exchange. The separation is subject to approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
Applera, currently the parent company of Applied Biosystems, will adopt the Applied Biosystems name after the split. Its stock will continue trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
 
Kathy Ordonez, currently president of Applera-Celera, will serve as CEO of Celera, which will be headquartered in Alameda, Calif.
 

 
Vermillion Q1 Revs Rise 152 Percent
 
Vermillion this week reported that revenues for the first quarter rose 152 percent while losses shrunk 20 percent.
 
For the three months ended March 31, the company posted receipts of $53,000, compared to $21,000 a year ago. Figures for the most recent quarter included $5,000 in product revenues from the sale of its assay for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura to the Ohio State University Research Foundation for development of a laboratory-based test.
 
During the year-ago period, Vermillion had no product revenues. Revenues from services rose to $48,000 for the quarter from $21,000 a year ago.
 
For the quarter, net loss was $4.8 million, down from $6.0 million a year ago. Operating expenses decreased to $4.6 million, down 19 percent from $5.7 million a year ago, due primarily to restructuring of personnel and reduced general and administrative expenses, which declined to $1.8 million from $3.2 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
 
Vermillion spent $1.9 million on R&D. As of March 31, it had $8.3 million in cash and cash equivalents.
 

 
GE Healthcare Latin America to Distribute GeneBio’s Phenyx Software
 
General Healthcare Life Sciences Latin America will distribute Geneva Bioinformatics’ Phenyx MS identification platform throughout Latin America under an agreement announced this week.
 
GEHC-LS will distribute Phenyx as the exclusive MS software component of their product offerings under the agreement. The deal encompasses GeneBio’s Phenyx for tandem mass-spec identification, Aldente for peptide mass fingerprint analysis, and Phenyx’s Daemon and other MS-related software products that GeneBio will bring to market in the future.
 
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
 
Phenyx was developed by GeneBio in collaboration with the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics to identify and characterize proteins and peptides from mass spectrometry data.
 

 
Proteome Sciences Awarded $881K to Develop In Vitro Allergy Test
 
Proteome Sciences last week said it has been awarded €571,000 [$883,000] to participate in the European Union’s Sens-it-iv program to develop in vitro alternatives to animal tests currently used to assess potential skin and lung allergic reactions.
 
According to Proteome Sciences, the €13.7 million program is the largest integrated project in the EU’s 6th Framework funding program.
 
Starting next year, EU law stipulates that before a product can be sold, it will need to be tested to see whether it can cause allergic reactions when it comes into contact with skin and respiratory systems. Currently, however, no such in vitro test or strategy is available in the EU.
 
Proteome Sciences will contribute its proteomics experience to the project. A total of 32 members are participating in the Sens-it-iv project.
 

 
Varian Acquires Precision Detectors, Driving New Protein Analysis Tools Development
 
Varian said this week it has purchased Precision Detectors for an undisclosed amount.
 
Privately held Precision manufactures chromatography detectors and software for GPC and SEC systems for the characterization of proteins, polymers, macromolecules, and nanoparticles.
 
The purchase brings “new technologies in the fields of protein analysis and characterization to drive new product development,” Varian said in a statement.
 
Polymer Laboratories, which was acquired by Varian in 2005, has used light-scattering detectors from Precision for a number of years, and the new acquisition “consolidates these longstanding links and provides a mechanism to more effectively distribute its products through Varian’s” distribution network, the company said.
 

 
Enzo Buys Biomol for $18M
 
Enzo Biochem announced last week it has purchased Biomol International and all the stock of its two wholly owned subsidiaries for $18 million.
 
Enzo paid $15 million in cash and $3 million in unregistered stock.
 
Biomol, based in Plymouth Meeting, Penn., produces more than 3,300 specialty life science products with a research focus in functional proteomics. They include enzymes and enzyme inhibitors, peptides, antibodies, and substrates. The company has about 50 employees in its US and UK facilities.
 
In a statement, Barry Weiner, president of Enzo, said that Biomol has annual revenues of nearly $15 million with an annual growth rate of 9 percent. Its two UK subsidiaries are Affiniti Ltd. and Affiniti Research Ltd.
 
Biomol’s management will remain “actively involved” with Enzo, the company said.
 

 
Kinaxo, Onconova Collaborate on Cancer-Drug Development
 
Kinaxo Biotechnologies will apply its Cellular Target Profiling Technology to support Onconova Therapeutics’ clinical development of cancer drugs under a collaboration announced this week.
 
Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.
 
Onconova, based in Newtown, Penn., develops cancer therapies. Kinaxo, based in Martinsried, Germany, is a spin-out of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry and supports drug development efforts. Its technology allows researchers to identify and characterize biological interactions between kinase inhibitors and their cellular protein targets.
 

 
PriTest Grants Gentel Exclusive License to Protein Microarray Technology
 
Gentel Biosciences announced last week it has received an exclusive global license from PriTest to a patent covering arrays using a translucent nitrocellulose surface.
 
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
 
In a statement, G. Randall Durnell, vice president of commercial operations for Gentel, said the deal enables the company “to push the limits of protein microarray technology for years to come.”
 

 
Otsuka Using SomLogic’s Aptamers
 
Otsuka Pharmaceuticals will use SomaLogic’s proprietary aptamer technology for the development of diagnostics and design of research tools, under an agreement announced last week.
 
Under the terms of the deal, SomaLogic will receive research funding and will be entitled to royalties if products developed under the collaboration are commercialized. Otsuka will also make an equity investment in SomaLogic.
 
Tokyo-based Otsuka receives an option to acquire distribution rights in Asia for certain undisclosed clinical products. In addition to SomaLogic’s aptamers, Otsuka will have access to its multiplex arrays for biomarker discovery and monitoring.
 
Other financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
 
Based in Boulder, Colo., SomaLogic’s novel aptamers target more than 500 human proteins with high affinity and specificity.
 

 
Gamers and Protein Folding: Together at Last
 
Grand Theft Auto IV is for hacks. Protein folding — now there’s something for the serious gamer.
 
Last week, researchers at the University of Washington launched Foldit, a free online game in which players compete to design proteins. Located here, Foldit is the brainchild of David Baker, a professor of biochemistry who developed the game along with Zoran Popovic, an associate professor of computer science and engineering; David Salesin, a professor of computer science and engineering; Seth Cooper, a doctoral student in computer science and engineering; and Adrien Treuille, a post-doc in computer science and engineering.
 
At the moment, the game uses only proteins whose three-dimensional structures are known though proteins whose structures are unknown will be included in the game in the future.
 

 
Miraculins Closes on Private Placement
 
Miraculins said last week it closed its previously announced private placement.
 
The company recorded gross proceeds of CAD $625,000 [US $625,000] from the sale of 4.2 million units at a price of $.15 per unit. Each unit comprises one share of the company’s stock and half a share of one share of one warrant. Each warrant entitles the holder to purchase one share at a price of $.25 for up to 12 months from the date of the issuance of the warrant.
 
The net proceeds will be used for R&D and working capital purposes, the company said in a statement.