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Charles River Labs, NCI, Pall, Ciphergen, Invitrogen, Mayo Clinic, Separation Scientific, PerkinElmer, Bio Asia, Kyorin Pharmaceutical, AAAS


Charles River Labs to Shut Down Proteomics Service Joint Venture with Proteome Systems

Charles River Laboratories will close its proteomics joint venture with Proteome Systems, the company said this week.

The company decided to close Charles River Proteomic Sevices after less than two years of operation because it “has not achieved its strategic goals,” according to a company statement.

The closure is part of a reorganization of Charles River’s Worcester-based division and the integration of its preclinical services organization.

Charles River initially invested $4 million into the joint venture in 2002, while Proteome Systems invested $1 million (see ProteoMonitor 10/14/02). Elizabeth Ferber, a spokeswoman for Charles River said her company had no comment on regarding when they had expected to break even.

"It was a very small unit. There were less than ten people and it hadn't met our growth goals so we decided to close it," said Ferber.

NCI Gives $13.4M for Two Proteomics Consortia to Create Standards, Resources for Cancer Biomarker Discovery

Two proteomics research consortia led by the University of Michigan and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have received grants totaling $13.4 million from the National Cancer Institute to develop standard tools and resources for protein biomarker discovery, NCI said this week.

Under the two-year awards, the researchers will use mouse models of human cancers to evaluate and develop proteomic techniques, and to create resources of biological samples and reagents for the research community. The aim is to create a technological platform for the discovery and clinical validation of protein biomarkers for cancer.

The research teams, led by former HUPO president Sam Hanash at the University of Michigan and by Martin McIntosh and Amanda Paulovich at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, will collect and distribute their data through the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, caBIG.

The University of Michigan consortium includes scientists from the Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics, MIT, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Van Andel Research Institute, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The team led by the Hutchinson Centerincludes researchers from the Institute for Systems Biology, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Plasma Proteome Institute.

Pall Paid $4M More for Ciphergen’s BioSepra Business Than Previously Announced

Ciphergen received $35.8 million—-nearly $4 million more than was originally estimated—-when it sold its BioSepra business unit to Pall Corporation last week, according to Ciphergen.

Pall paid Ciphergen “approximately $35.8 million in cash, consisting of $31.0 million consideration paid for the BioSepra business plus adjustments for cash and debt associated with the BioSepra Business, subject to certain other adjustments as set forth in the Agreement,” Ciphergen wrote in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing yesterday.

“An additional $1.0 million of cash consideration, subject to certain adjustments, is to be held in escrow as security for certain obligations for one year,” the company said.

In October, when Ciphergen announced the planned sale, it said Pall would pay around $32 million for the business.

As ProteoMonitor’s sister publication, GenomeWeb News, reported, Ciphergen last week sold its BioSepra process-chromatography business to Pall.

The initial agreement to sell the business was announced in late October. At the time, the firms also entered into a collaboration under which New York-based Pall will establish process proteomics service centers to offer protein purification using BioSepra’s chromatography products and Ciphergen’s ProteinChip technology.

Ciphergen also said that it will retain certain limited rights to access BioSepra’s chromatography sorbent technology for use in research and diagnostic markets.

“The sale of our BioSepra process chromatography business allows us to focus our financial and business resources on our core research products and emerging diagnostic business,” William Rich, CEO of Ciphergen, said in a statement in October. “The joint sales and marketing collaboration with Pall Corporation positions us to continue to sell the Protein Chip Systems into the process proteomics market.”

Invitrogen, Stepping Into Diagnostics, Pens Biomarker Collaboration With Mayo Clinic

Invitrogen and the Mayo Clinic will co-develop diagnostic biomarkers and the technologies to detect them, the two organizations said this week.

The aim of the collaboration—-which marks the first time Invitrogen has stepped directly into the field of diagnostics—is to develop new diagnostic and prognostic tests for cancer and general laboratory medicine.

In the deal, Invitrogen will provide research tools, which include human protein microarrays, engineered cell lines, cell-based assays, and cloning and expression technologies.

The Mayo Clinic will contribute patient samples and expertise in diagnostic assays. Invitrogen can license technologies resulting from the collaboration either exclusively or non-exclusively, in exchange for funding several biomarker research programs at Mayo.

“Our objective with this agreement is to generate new enabling technologies for doctors, patients and the larger health-care community,” Invitrogen CEO Greg Lucier said in a statement.

Separation Scientific to Sell, Support PerkinElmer Analytical-Sciences Products in Southern Africa

Separation Scientific will provide sales and support for PerkinElmer customers in 10 South African countries as part of an agreement signed by the companies, PerkinElmer said last week.

PerkinElmer’s agreement with the South Africa-based Separation Scientific, a laboratory-service company, aims to “consolidate” sales and service structure in the region and offer “an improved customer experience,” the company said.

Invitrogen Goes to China: $8M Acquisition of Chinese Reagent Shop First of $20M Total Investment in China

Invitrogen is set to acquire Bio Asia, a Chinese reagent supplier, for up to $8 million in cash, and plans to invest more than $20 million in China over the next five years, the company said this week.

Bio Asia, which is based in Shanghai and has branches in Beijing and Guangzhou, as well as 18 sales offices across China, provides sequencing reagents and custom R&D services. The company, which was founded in 1999, has approximately $5 million in revenues.

The acquisition, which was approved by both companies’ boards of directors, is pending approval from the Chinese government. It coincides with new guidelines from the World Trade Organization that will open the Chinese biotech industry to foreign-owned companies, according to Invitrogen.

This is not Invitrogen’s first foray into China: In 1989, the company established its first office in the country. Following the Bio Asia acquisition, Invitrogen China will have more than 170 employees. “Building on our new manufacturing and distribution base, Invitrogen intends to be a leading biotechnology provider to researchers in China,” said Jeff Greenberg, Invitrogen’s general manager for Asia Pacific, in a company statement.

Invitrogen is currently expanding not only geographically, but also into new markets: this week, the company announced a collaboration with Mayo Clinic (see above) to develop new technologies for biomarker discovery.

Japanese Drug Maker to Acquire Proteomics Shop ActivX for $21M

Kyorin Pharmaceutical of Tokyo will buy proteomics company ActivX Biosciences for $21 million, the company said this week.

Kyorin will create a US subsidiary and merge it with ActivX, which will then become a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyorin. An acquisition date was not disclosed.

Kyroin and ActivX, of La Jolla, Calif., have collaborated since 2002 in a Type II diabetes discovery program, and in January expanded their activities to include metabolic disorders. ActivX also has collaborations with Pfizer, Gilead, and an undisclosed additional pharma partner.

ActivX uses a core proteomics technology, licensed from Scripps, that consists of fluorescent chemical affinity probes that bind to the active sites of a specific class of proteins.

Blueprint to Re-develop, Maintain AAAS Signal Transduction Database

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has contracted the Blueprint Initiative-North America to re-develop, maintain, and populate the journal Science’s Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment Connections Maps database, Blueprint said last week in a statement.

Under terms of the agreement, Toronto-based Blueprint will gain a non-exclusive royalty-free worldwide license to the database’s Connections Maps Authority Data Entry System, the portal through which users enter data into STKE Connections Maps systems, Blueprint said.

The STKE is a web portal featuring reviews, protocols, and perspectives on signaling, the company said. The portal also provides to members a “virtual journal” made up of articles from 19 individual print journals, the company added.

Blueprint will add “12 to 15” new pathways and authorities during the “curation period,” in addition to updating and editing existing entries for clarity and conformity, Blueprint said.

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.