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Celera, Applera, University of Oregon, MitoSciences, Proteros, BioSolveIT, Fluidigm, Scripps Translational Science Institute, GeneGo, Power3, ProtAffin Biotechnologie, Intercell

Celera Files to Split from Applera
Celera filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week to separate from Applera and become an independent, publicly traded company.
Among the reasons cited by Celera for the split is that it will give the company greater managerial focus and ability to use its stock for acquisitions.
“Conflicting business priorities and diverted management attention within Applera may affect the Celera Group's ability to compete as effectively as it could if it were separated from Applera,” Celera said in its SEC filing. “After the split-off, we will be a smaller company with a more focused set of businesses.”
While Celera has conducted proteomics research in the area of cancer, the company has been scaling back that operation [see PM 11/01/07]. In its SEC filing, it said that “We do not intend to develop therapeutic products beyond identification and validation of potential drug targets resulting from our proteomics research, and would develop therapeutic products only through collaborations with other companies.”
The filing did not say when the split is expected to occur, but Applera officials have said they expect it to be completed by June 30, the end of its fiscal year. Applera does not need shareholder approval for the split, it said in the filing, adding Celera shareholders have no “appraisal rights in connection to the split-off.” 
After the split, Applera will change its name to Applied Biosystems.

U. of Oregon, MitoSciences Complete Antibody Agreement
MitoSciences and the University of Oregon this week announced the completion of a licensing agreement for monoclonal antibodies developed by the university.
Under the terms of the deal, the university will transfer to MitoSciences several commercial distribution agreements under which life science researchers receive the antibodies. MitoSciences will be responsible for maintenance, production, and future distribution of the antibodies, which are used by researchers and drug companies to study disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, diabetes, cancer, and a variety of rare and debilitating genetic disorders.
The antibodies covered under the agreement help to provide insights into the health and functions of mitochondria.
MitoSciences also receives exclusive commercialization rights to a portfolio of “related UO biological assets, plus an exclusive license under several university patents that cover the use of monoclonal antibodies that recognize mitochondrial antigens,” the parties said in a statement.
The university will maintain an existing equity position in MitoSciences and receive royalties on patent-related sales and fixed, quarterly cash payments that could total $4.6 million.

Proteros, BioSolveIT Given €5.5M to Develop Fragment-Screening Technologies
Proteros and BioSolveIT said this week they have been awarded a three-year, €5.5 million [$8.7 million] research grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to develop and validate an “integrated and computational approach to determine binding of low-molecular weight compounds and molecular probes.”
The grant was awarded through the German government’s BioChance program. The two companies will work in partnership with the research group of Gerhard Klebe at the University of Marburg. Two top-25 pharmaceutical firms will also participate, providing industry requirements, according to a joint statement from Proteros and BioSolveIT.
By giving out the award, the German government recognizes the need to build joint partnerships between academia and industry “to bridge the gap between the research lab and the marketplace, stimulating prosperity through innovation,” the companies said.
Proteros is a protein structure-analysis firm. BioSolveIT is a bio- and chemoinformatics firm with its core businesses in software, service, and research collaborations.

Fluidigm Files for IPO
Fluidigm this week registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering to raise as much as $86.25 million.
Shares of the company’s stock would be traded on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “FLDM.” There would be about 66.6 million shares outstanding following the offering.
Based in South San Francisco, Fluidigm develops integrated fluidic circuit systems to run life science experiments in parallel on a single chip. Its Topaz system is used for protein crystallization while its BioMark system is for gene-expression analysis, genotyping, and digital PCR.
“In much the same way that integrated circuits overcame the limitations of early computers by placing an increasing number of transistors on a single silicon chip, our IFCs are designed to overcome many of the limitations of conventional laboratory systems by integrating an increasing number of fluidic components on a single microfabricated IFC,” the company said in its filing.
In 2007 the company posted a loss of $25.4 million on revenues of $7.3 million. From the company’s founding through Dec. 29, 2007, Fluidigm had accumulated losses of $133.8 million. The company said it had cash, cash equivalents, and available-for-sale securities of $40.4 million.
Morgan Stanley is acting as book-running manager on the deal, with UBS Investment Bank and Leerink Swann acting as co-managers. 

Scripps Joins GeneGo’s Cardiac Consortium
The Scripps Translational Science Institute has joined GeneGo’s MetaMiner Cardiac Consortium, the company said this week.
The goal of the consortium is to “build the first systems biology and pathway analysis platform for cardiovascular diseases in the world,” GeneGo said in a statement. Eric Topol, will be leading STSI’s work in the consortium.

Power3 Recertified by CLIA
Power3 Medical Products said this week it has received Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments recertification.
With recertification, the company can continue offering its BC-SeraPro test for breast cancer and its NuroPro test for neurodegenerative disease.

ProtAffin Validating Intercell Vaccines
ProtAffin Biotechnologie and Intercell will collaborate to validate vaccine antigens under an R&D deal announced this week.
ProtAffin, a protein therapeutic firm based in Graz, Austria, will use its “expertise in functional proteomics and … protein-glycan interactions” to validate the antigens for undisclosed bacterial organisms, the companies said in a statement.
Intercell, based in Vienna, develops vaccines against infectious diseases.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.