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Bruker BioSciences, LabCorp, Duke University, Caprotec, Protagen, Chinese State Key Laboratory of Proteomics, Geneva Bioinformatics, Matritech, Proteome Sciences, Axela, VWR, Genedata, Protalix, Activotec

Move Beyond Proteomics Pumping Up Bruker Daltonics Revs, CEO Says
After slow revenue growth in Bruker BioSciences’ Daltonics division, the tide has turned and growth should continue at a healthy clip going forward, company CEO Frank Laukien told attendees at last week’s JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
In his presentation, Laukien reiterated remarks he had made in the fall when he said that several years ago, the company embarked on a strategy to move beyond proteomics in the Daltonics division, which houses the company’s mass spectrometers, in order to grow the business [See PM 09/13/07].
“Proteomics alone is not big enough of a market for us, and so we began two or three years ago to leverage all the technology platforms and IP that we have built up,” to small molecule applications such as food safety and forensic toxicology, Laukien said last week.
The result is that during the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2007, Daltonics revenues grew 28.1 percent to $46.5 million.
“Daltonics had slowed down a little bit for a few quarters in its growth, but in the third quarter already and the fourth quarter and going forward, you’ll see a resurgence of its growth as some of the new initiatives that we started … really begin to work out for us,” Laukien said.
In December, the company announced it would be acquiring privately held Bruker BioSpin in a $914 million cash-and-stock deal to form a new company simply called Bruker. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter, Laukien said. The new company is expected to generate annual sales of close to $1 billion.

LabCorp to Develop Lung Cancer Dx Based on Duke Technology
Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings said this week it has entered into an agreement with Duke University Medical Center to commercialize Duke’s blood-based assay for the early detection of lung cancer.
Duke’s technology is based on a panel of proteins associated with the disease.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a statement, Edward Patz, a professor of radiology at Duke, said the goal is to develop a test that will be complementary to existing diagnostics.

Caprotec Reels in €6M
Proteomics startup Caprotec Bioanalytics said this week it has received €6 million ($8.9 million) for further development of its CCMS platform for analyzing complex protein mixtures.
The funding came in two rounds from Creathor Venture, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, ERP Startfonds, and private investors, including Henrich-Maria Schulte, co-founder of Evotec and owner of Wölbern Bank in Hamburg, Germany.
Caprotec, based in Berlin, was formed late last year. Its CCMS platform is based on tri-functional molecules called capture compounds that allows for the isolation of proteins and protein classes directly from complex biological samples [See PM 12/06/07].

Protagen Raises €1M in Latest Round
Protagen said this week it has raised €1 million ($1.49 million) in its latest financing round. The money will be used to expand Protagen’s protein biochips business.
Investors in the round included existing institutional investors MIG AG, KG Beteiligungsfonds 3, and S-Venture Capital Dortmund. A new investor, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, also participated.
Protagen has raised €5.3 million since 2004.

Chinese Proteomics Lab Installing Phenyx
The Chinese State Key Laboratory of Proteomics will install Geneva Bioniformatics Phenyx protein identification platform under a licensing agreement announced this week.
The platform will be installed on the laboratory’s High Performance Computing Cluster. Fuchu He oversees the laboratory’s proteomics projects.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Sale of Matritech Completed, Company Dissolved
A newly formed subsidiary of Inverness Medical Innovations completed its purchase of Matritech last month.
Under the terms of the deal announced in September [See PM 09/06/07], Milano Acquisition paid $36 million in shares of its common stock and will pay up to $2 million in cash and/or stock, based on certain revenue targets being met during the 12 months following the close of the deal.
As a result of the deal, Matritech has changed its name to MZT Holdings and is in the process of being liquidated and dissolved. Craig Jalbert, a partner in accounting firm Verdolino & Lowey, was named MZT’s president and treasurer.

Proteome Sciences’ Option Agreement Expires, Seeking Other Partners
Proteome Sciences announced that its option agreement to license its Eurkarion compounds to Minerva Healthcare expired on Dec. 31, 2007.
Proteome Sciences is now working with PharmaVentures “to identify potential partners for the licensing or divestiture of our portfolio of Eukarion compounds,” company CEO Jenny Harry said in a statement. Minerva is a potential participant in the process, she said.
In May, Proteome Sciences announced it had acquired an equity stake in Minerva and agreed to license its Eurkarion compounds to the company [See PM 05/10/07].

Axela, VWR Ink North American Distribution Deal
Research laboratory supply company VWR International will distribute Axela’s dotLab system and reagents in North America under a distribution agreement announced by the two companies this week.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Genedata Provides Expressionist Platform to Eisai Research Institute
Genedata said this week it has reached an agreement with Eisai Research Institute for the use of the Genedata Expressionist biomarker discovery platform.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The institute, based in Andover, Mass., is a subsidiary of Eisai of Tokyo.

Protalix Signs Lease Agreement to Expand Facility
Protalix BioTherapeutics this week announced a lease agreement for the expansion of its manufacturing and research facility in Carmiel, Israel.
The company said the expansion will give it about three times its current manufacturing space. Protalix anticipates using the expanded facility for the production of its lead product, prGCD, a therapeutic protein for Gaucher disease. The lease agreement is for seven and a half years with an option for an additional 15 years.

Peptide Firm Activotec Gets Money
Peptide synthesis company Activotec said it completed a “significant” funding round through a syndicate comprised of the company’s existing shareholders. The company did not disclose the amount raised.
Company chief executive Chris Littlewood said the funds would be used to expand its R&D and well as new personnel and facilities. Activotec is based in Cambridge, UK.

The Scan

Expanded Genetic Testing Uncovers Hereditary Cancer Risk in Significant Subset of Cancer Patients

In Genome Medicine, researchers found pathogenic or likely pathogenic hereditary cancer risk variants in close to 17 percent of the 17,523 patients profiled with expanded germline genetic testing.

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Embryos Appear Largely Normal in Single-Cell 'Omics Analyses

Embryos produced with spindle transfer-based mitochondrial replacement had delayed demethylation, but typical aneuploidy and transcriptome features in a PLOS Biology study.

Cancer Patients Report Quality of Life Benefits for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy was linked in JAMA Network Open to enhanced quality of life compared to other treatment types in cancer patients.

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.