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Industry Briefs: Jan 8, 2009

Fluorotechnics Inks Sales Agreement with Greifswald
Aussie firm Fluorotechnics announced last month an agreement with the proteomics facility at Greifswald University in Germany covering the company’s range of pre-cast non-fluorescent gels for 2D electrophoresis.
The agreement also covers the sale of Fluorotechnics’ hardware in the first year as well as consumables on an ongoing basis, Duncan Veal, CEO of the company, said in a statement.
No further details of the agreement were revealed.
The university’s core proteomics facility works with industry in enzyme production and will be using Fluorotechnics’ products for various research projects including the development of high-throughput processes for diagnostic and industrial quality control for enzyme production, the company said.
Fluorotechnics went public late last year [See PM 10/30/08] raising A$8 million ($5.7 million).

Protein Forest Plants Roots in Europe
Protein Forest this week announced it has opened a European division.
The division, headquartered in Newcastle upon Thyne, UK, will initially be supported by a four-person sales and marketing staff, a spokesman told ProteoMonitor. Eventually it will be outfitted with mass spectrometers and include wet-lab space for product demonstrations, applications development and support collaborative projects with European customers.
Robert Marchmont, formerly with GE Healthcare, was named the European Business Director this week also [See Movers & Shakers, this issue].
Protein Forest is headquartered in Lexington, Mass.

Proteome Sciences Licenses Out Proteins for Lung Cancer Dx, Increasing TMT to 12- and 18-Plex
UK cancer detection firm Oncimmune will develop a diagnostic test for lung cancer using Proteome Sciences’ patents covering Annexin I and Annexin 2 proteins under a non-exclusive licensing agreement announced by the two firms this week.
A test is expected to hit the market during the first half of the year, Proteome Sciences said in a statement. It will receive royalty payments from product sales under the agreement.
Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Proteome Sciences received US patent number 6,645,465 covering the Annexin proteins and antibodies in late 2003. The proteins have a putative role in controlling cell signaling and metabolism and have been associated with various diseases.
The company also said this week that it has increased the plexing rates for its TMT isobaric mass tags. Currently available in single, two-, and six-plex the tags will become available in 12- and 18-plex some time this year, Proteome Sciences said.
The TMT technology, which is offered by Thermo Fisher Scientific under a licensing agreement, pertains to a method for labeling analytes in multiplex fashion in a mass spectrometer.

MDS Reports Final Q4 Loss of $575M
In final results announced this week, MDS said its net loss for the fourth quarter was $575 million, more than double the $255 million the company had stated last month in preliminary results.
The $575 million includes a goodwill write down of $320 million for the MDS Pharma Services, which the company had estimated to be in the $270 million to $370 million range but did not calculate into its preliminary results from last month. The net loss also includes the previously disclosed $246 million after-tax charge to write off the MAPLE nuclear-reactor project asset.
For the three months ended Oct. 31, the company posted total revenue of $322 million, unchanged for previously stated figures.

Crucell, Centocor Reach R&D Agreement on Antibody Production
Dutch biopharmaceutical firm Crucell said this week it has reached a non-exclusive research and development agreement with Pennsylvania firm Centocor for the production of monoclonal antibodies.
The agreement involves the use of Crucell’s STARR technology for the production of recombinant human antibodies and proteins.
Financial details were not disclosed.

Anaphor Raises $25M Series A Financing
Anaphor this week announced it has raised $25 million in Series A financing, which the company will use to accelerate development of a new class of protein therapeutics for immune-mediated diseases and oncology.
Anaphor, based in La Jolla, Calif., will use its TrimerX protein engineering technology to generate Atrimers, therapeutics with biological, manufacturing, and commercial advantages over traditional drugs, the company said in a statement. Atrimers are novel drug candidates engineered from a fully-human serum protein that is naturally secreted as a trimeric structure.
The financing supports work Anaphor has done already “on a validated and innovative platform that has great potential to generate a large number of products in multiple therapeutic areas,” Katherine Bowdish, CEO of the company, said in a statement. The funds will allow the firm to continue its work for another two to three years, she said.
Financing on the round was led by 5AM Ventures, Versant Ventures, and Apposite Capital.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.