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CombiMatrix, Acacia, MDS, NIH, High-End Instrumentation, Ariadne, Boehringer Ingelheim

SEC OKs CombiMatrix, Acacia Split
The US Securities and Exchange Commission this week declared that Acacia Research and CombiMatrix can split apart on Aug. 15 after completing a share trade.
At that date, every 10 shares of Acacia Research-CombiMatrix common stock will be redeemed for one share of CombiMatrix Corporation common stock.
CombiMatrix in December 2006 filed with the SEC to split off from parent company Acacia, saying at the time that Acacia’s business “is significantly different than our business,” and that Acacia’s business involves added financial risks related to patent litigation that would not otherwise be a part of CombiMatrix’s business.  
"The separation of our two companies will enable each to execute its business independently, and we are excited about the future prospects of our company as we re-invent ourselves with a focus on molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine," CombiMatrix President and CEO Amit Kumar said in a statement.
On Aug. 15 CombiMatrix’ stock will begin trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol CBMXD, and after 20 days will begin trading under the symbol CBMX.
Acacia Research will then trade under the symbol ACTG. Until that time, Acacia Research-CombiMatrix common stock will trade as CBMX.

Mass Spec Sales Up 12 Percent at MDS
MDS last week reported sales of its mass spectrometers rose 12 percent during the second quarter ended April 30 while the division housing the instruments, MDS Analytical Technologies, saw revenues rise 54 percent to $88 million.
During the year-ago period, the division had $57 million in revenues.
The growth was largely due to the acquisition of Molecular Devices in March for $615 million [See PM 02/01/07]. MDS merged Molecular Devices with its Sciex operations to form the Analytical Technologies division.
Companywide, MDS reported a profit of $736 million for the quarter on $273 million in revenues, up from a profit of $14 million on $242 million in revenues during the year-ago period.

NIH Creates Two Groups to Review Peer Review Process
The National Institute of Health said last week it has formed an external and internal group to examine its peer review process.
The two groups will seek input from the scientific community and from within NIH. The groups will study the context, criteria, and culture of the peer review process. The NIH has periodically examined its peer review process during the past 60 years, Elias Zerhouni, director of NIH, said in a statement.
“NIH must continue to adapt to rapidly changing fields of science and ever-growing public health challenges,” he said.

High-End Instrumentation Grants Awarded for Proteomics, Protein Research
The National Center for Research Resources handed out High-End Instrumentation grants to five universities this week for the purchase of instruments for use in proteomics and protein-related research.
In total NCRR gave out 14 HEI awards totaling $20.65 million. The awards are one-time grants supporting the purchase of instruments that cost more than $750,000.
Johns Hopkins University received $928,365 to buy a hybrid linear ion trap-Fourier transform mass spectrometer to investigate ischemia and hypoxia, networks and pathways of lysine modifications, and the structural analysis of carbohydrates.
The University of Arizona received $924,995 to buy a hybrid quadrupole, or linear ion trap, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spec to study proteins, protein complexes, and post-translation modifications in proteins, among other things.
The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center was awarded $1,067,480 to purchase a linear ion trap-Fourier transform cyclotron resonance mass spec.
The University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Dentistry was given $2 million to purchase an 800 megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer for the investigation of proteins that participate in repair at the sites of DNA damage and proteins that function as tumor suppressors and their mutants.
And the University of Washington was given $1,040,735 to buy an electron paramagnetic resonance/X-band electron nuclear double resonance spectrometer to study structural proteins and proteins at DNA and RNA interfaces.

Ariadne Opens Office in Europe
Ariadne this week announced it opened its European office on June 1. The office is currently in Madrid, Spain, but may be moved in the future, a spokeswoman for Ariadne said. The office will handle all sales and marketing and provide training and technical support to its European customers.
Olivier Brun, formerly CEO of Integromics, will head the office. He has 10 years of experience in the biosoftware industry, the company said in a statement.

Boehringer Ingelheim Division Uses Wyatt Instruments for Protein Aggregation Monitoring
Wyatt Technology this week said that the Ridgefield Research and Development division of Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceutical has chosen its Multi-Angle Light Scattering instruments to monitor protein aggregation states in different buffers.

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.