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AxCell, JHU, Celera

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AxCell Tries Out IBM's DB2 Intelligent Miner Software

AxCell said last week it will use IBM's DB2 Intelligent Miner technology to help its scientists determine how proteins interact in cellular-communication networks.

AxCell interim CEO Michael Becker, whose firm has been using IBM's DiscoveryLink software since last winter, said his company jumped at the chance to work with the computer giant when he learned it wanted to try the Intelligent Miner as a life-sciences application.

“It was a natural fit,” said Becker. “It allowed us to access [IBM's] software and it provided IBM essentially with a reference point that it could use, so as they try to develop Intelligent Miner for life-science customers that we can serve as a reference point for them.”

Neither side would say how much, or whether, AxCell paid for the software. The company essentially is beta-testing the software for IBM, said Sharon Nunes, director of IBM's life-science solutions division.

The Intelligent Miner software has been used in financial, insurance, and retail applications since it was introduced around six years ago, but Nunes stressed that IBM is not interested in setting its foot on bioinfomatics turf full-time. “Our focus is really on the architecture and the middleware,” Nunes said.

Separately, Nasdaq imposed a deadline of November 15 for AxCell's parent Cytogen to boost its share price above $1. Cytogen's shares last traded over $1 on July 11, and the stock has not closed above $1 since July 1.

The move may put additional pressure on Cytogen to divest itself of AxCell, which consumes a healthy portion of the company's roughly $11 million annual R&D budget. At the end of May, Cytogen said it was “reviewing strategic alternatives” for AxCell.

JHU, Correlogic Systems Collaborate on Diagnostics

Johns Hopkins University and Bethesda, Md.-based Correlogic Systems have agreed to jointly develop computational diagnostic models of inflammatory vascular diseases, the two parties said last week. The models will rely on technology Correlogic has licensed from NIH for identifying protein patterns specific to the disease in patients’ blood.

John Stone, director of the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center, and Ben Hitt, Correlogic’s chief scientist, will direct the research in collaboration with the FDA-NCI Clinical Proteomics Program.

To develop models of inflammatory vascular disease, the researchers will examine several hundred sera samples provided by Johns Hopkins University. All samples will be transferred to and stored at the FDA/NCI Clinical Proteomics laboratory. The research will be conducted under the terms of Correlogic’s CRADA with the FDA/NCI Clinical Proteomics Program, signed in April.

Celera Licenses xMAP for In Vitro Diagnostics

Luminex said last week that it has given Celera Diagnostics a worldwide exclusive license to develop and distribute in vitro molecular diagnostics products based on Luminex’s xMap technology, a bead-based solution-phase array system for identifying analytes from biological samples.

Luminex will record as revenue not only the instruments and beads it licenses to Celera Diagnostics but also royalties from any products the Applera unit happens to sell.