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Ciphergen, Pronota, Eksigent, Vanderbilt, Ariadne, Epitome, EMD Chemicals, Caprion Proteomics, EMBL, Nonlinear Dynamics, Aushon BioSystems

Ciphergen Shareholders Say ‘Yes’ to New Name
Ciphergen shareholders approved the company’s name change, the company announced last week. Effective mid-August Ciphergen will become Vermillion. The company’s board announced in May that it was changing its name to reflect recent changes at the firm, including its move out of the proteomics space to concentrate on diagnostics.
“Vermillion signifies health, life, passion, and our commitment to improving patient health,” company CEO and President Gail Page said in a statement.
Ciphergen also said that shareholders approved the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the firm’s independent registered public account firm, and gave the thumbs-up to increase the authorized shares of capital stock to 155 million and the authorized number of shares of common stock to 150 million.

Pronota Uses €1.87M to Develop Biomarker Programs
The Flanders government has awarded €1.87 million ($2.56 million) to Pronota for development of its diagnostic and pharmacodiagnostic protein discovery and validation platform, the company said this week.
Pronota plans to use the funds to expand the development of its first generation biomarker discovery platform by expanding its ability to identify low abundant serum protein biomarkers, the company said in a statement. It will also use it to couple the discovery phase of the platform to a novel validation phase that will make it possible to assess the levels of candidate biomarkers in large patient samples without having to generate antibodies and develop immunoassays beforehand.
The remainder of the funds will be used for the execution of one of Pronota’s internal biomarker discovery programs.

Eksigent Adds Brazilian Firm to Growing List of Distributors for NanoLC-HPLC
Eksigent this week announced it had reached a distribution agreement with Nova Analitica for Eksigent’s NanoLC-HPLC products in Brazil. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 1992, Nova Analitica specializes in chromatography and spectrometry equipment for the analytical chemistry and life sciences markets. Its customers include pharmaceutical firms, private research institutions, and academia.
Last month Eksigent inked a similar deal with Hong Kong’s Bionoetikos covering Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. Since the start of the year, it has also entered into deals to sell its products in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, the Benelux region, France, and South Korea [See PM 05/3//07].

Vanderbilt’s Cancer Biology Dept. Licenses Ariadne’s Pathway Studio
Ariadne said this week that Vanderbilt University’s department of cancer biology had purchased an unlimited Pathway Studio license. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In a statement, Lynn Matrisian, chair of the department, singled out the software’s Medscan technology that allows researchers to “extract relationships from the latest publications and add them to the large body of knowledge in the packaged database. The ability to instantly update the database with selected information is of paramount importance in cancer research.”

Epitome, EMD Chemicals Renew Deal
Epitome Biosystems announced this week a second licensing and development agreement with EMD Chemicals for the use of Epitome’s EpiTag technology. The two companies will develop EpiTag assays for the quantitative measurement of targets including membrane proteins.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Products will be manufactured, marketed, and sold worldwide by EMD through its Novagen brand. EMD is an affiliate of Merck. Sample analysis will be available through Epitome.

Sale of Caprion Proteomics Completed
Thallion Pharmaceuticals said this week it has completed the sale of an 80 percent stake in Caprion Proteomics to Great Point Partners. The deal was announced in late June [See PM 07/05/07].
Thallion retains 20 percent ownership in Caprion. Great Point acquires the CellCarta proteomics platform as part of the deal. In return, it assumes $22.2 million in long-term debt obligations from Thallion without recourse to Thallion. Caprion will issue $4.1 million in secured subordinated notes to Thallion at an annual interest rate of 9.5 percent. Thallion will also make an investment of a “few million dollars” in working capital to Caprion.

Australia Joins EMBL
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory said this week it has offered associate membership into the organization to Australia. The membership is planned to start officially in January and will last initially for seven years.
As an associate member, Australia will be able to send early-career scientists to join EMBL as faculty, postdoctoral, and predoctoral fellows. EMBL membership encompasses Western Europe, Iceland, and Israel. Australia is the first associate member.

New Purchase Options for Nonlinear Dynamics Software
Nonlinear Dynamics this week announced a flexible purchase option for Progenesis SameSpots and Progenesis Stats software packages for 2D image analysis. Researchers are now able to buy the software for a three-month period by licensing images for their experiments. When the images are licensed, customers can analyze them at their convenience. The new payment structure will be of particular interest to researchers with short-term projects or who are waiting for funding, a spokesman for the company said.
In a statement, Will Dracup, CEO of Nonlinear, said, “Many scientists want the flexibility of an affordable low commitment offering which falls within reach of consumable budgets — this could be for smaller projects, pilot studies, or for scientists considering a return to 2D.”

Aushon Places 2470 Arrayer in Liotta, Petricoin’s Lab
Aushon BioSystems has placed a 2470 Arrayer in the CAP-CLIA laboratory of Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin at George Mason University. The laboratory is focusing on developing clinical cancer treatments based on a patient’s protein expression profile. The lab has several other 2470 Arrayers.

The Scan

Vaccine Update Recommended

A US Food and Drug Administration panel recommends booster vaccines be updated to target Omicron, CNBC reports.

US to Make More Vaccines for Monkeypox Available

The US is to make nearly 300,000 vaccine doses available in the coming weeks to stem the spread of human monkeypox virus, according to NPR.

Sentence Appealed

The Associated Press reports that Swedish prosecutors are appealing the sentence given to a surgeon once lauded for transplanting synthetic tracheas but then convicted of causing bodily harm.

Genome Biology Papers on COVID-19 Effector Genes, Virtual ChIP-seq, scDART

In Genome Biology this week: proposed COVID-19 effector genes, method to predict transcription factor binding patterns, and more.