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Gates Foundation, Merck, Miraculins, Europroteome, Carna Biosciences, CrystalGenomics, Australian Proteome Analysis Facility, Nonlinear, Power3, Biosite, Compugen, Shimadzu, Phenomenome, Reaction Biology, Agilent


Gates Foundation Supports 'Fast Track'
Development of Proteome Systems' TB Diagnostic

The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that it has signed a letter of intent with Australian biotech Proteome Systems to "fast track" the development of a rapid antigen-based diagnostic test for active tuberculosis.

FIND announced the collaboration this week at BIO 2005 in Philadelphia.

Proteome Systems' test is expected to detect TB antigens indicating active TB infection in the human body. The test will also monitor disease progression and response to treatment in TB patients regardless of the immune status of the host, FIND said.

Stephen Porges, Proteome Systems' CEO, said that the partnership with FIND "will provide the critical support to speed the development of the test in addition to clinical material, assistance with clinical trials and fast tracking of registration, in return for exclusive royalty-free rights to distribute the product in the public health sector in developing countries."

Merck Taps PPD as 'Preferred Provider'
for Proteomic Biomarker Discovery

PPD said this week that it has been selected as Merck's "preferred provider" for protein biomarker analysis.

Under the terms of the agreement, PPD will analyze Merck samples with its proprietary proteomic analysis platform to identify candidate biological markers for its therapeutic business.

Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

A PPD spokeswoman told ProteoMonitor's sister publication, GenomeWeb News, that the agreement has extended the collaboration to PPD following its acquisition of SurroMed in January, but the relatioongoing collaboration with Merck for its biomarker discovery services. "We had a relationship and we're taking it one step further," the PPD spokesperson said.

PPD said that its technology can be used to analyze samples for novel or known biomarkers, in the presence or absence of a drug, in order to evaluate the efficacy of the drug.

Miraculins Acquires Bankrupt Europroteome's IP Portfolio

Miraculins, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-based proteomics shop, has acquired the IP portfolio of Europroteome, a German molecular diagnostics company that filed for bankruptcy late last year, the company said.

According to Miraculins, the portfolio includes 14 patents and numerous discoveries related to the diagnosis of several cancers. The company said Miraculins has no further milestone or royalty commitments related to the patents. Miraculins said it plans to capitalize on the acquisition of the various biomarkers by developing assays to run on its mass spectrometry-based BEST platform. The company recently announced the completion of a prostate cancer diagnostic-discovery study.

Miraculins also announced that it has granted an aggregate of 25,000 stock options at an exercise price of $2.20 per common share to certain officers and directors in the company. The options are set to expire five years from date of grant and are subject to approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.

Carna Biosciences and CrystalGenomics to
Provide Crystallographic Services for Rigel

Carna Biosciences and CrystalGenomics have signed a joint agreement to provide protein crystallography services for Rigel Pharmaceuticals, the companies said this week.

Carna Biosciences, a Japanese biotech that specializes in active kinase protein expression, and CrystalGenomics, a Korean structure-based drug discovery firm, began offering joint crystallographic services in February.

The relationship with Rigel began with the company's purchase of protein kinases from Carna a year ago, Carna Biosciences said.

Financial terms for the agreement were not provided.

Australian Proteome Analysis Facility
Licenses Software from Nonlinear Dynamics

The Australian Proteome Analysis Facility has purchased two licenses for Nonlinear Dynamics' Progenesis Discovery v2005 software system, the company said last week in a statement.

The company declined to disclose financial details.

The facility's purchase of the gel-image analysis platform was funded by the Australian Major National Research Facilities Program, Nonlinear Dynamics said.

Proteomics Firm Power3 Delisted from
OTC Board for Failure to File Annual Report

Nasdaq has notified proteomics firm Power3 Medical Products that its common stock will be delisted from the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board effective last week.

Power3 said it received the notice because it failed to file its annual report on Form 10-K for the period ended Dec. 31, 2004, thereby violating SEC rules that "require a company to be current and complete with its reporting obligations."

The company said that it had appealed the delisting, but a NASD panel issued a final ruling on Tuesday that Power3 "had not met the applicable listing qualification standards set forth in the OTC Bulletin Board rules."

Power3 said that NASD's Listing and Hearing Review Council "may, on its own motion, determine to review the Panel's decision within 45 calendar days after issuance of the written decision." The company said it intends to submit a request that the council review the decision, but noted that the move "should not be interpreted as a stay of delisting."

In the interim, Power3's common stock may be registered on the Pink Sheets Electronic Quotation Service. "However, such registration can be made only by an SEC-registered broker/dealer and is outside of the company's control," Power3 said.

"Consequently, there may be no trading market available for, or liquidity of, Power3 securities," the company noted.

Power3 added that it "believes it has resolved the previous accounting issue regarding the presentation of a predecessor's audited financial statements for the year 2003," and that it expects to file its Form 10-KSB for calendar 2004 by the end of June.

Once it submits the form, the firm said it plans to "immediately" file a Form 211 with Nasdaq, reapplying for a relisting of its stock on the OTCBB.

Biosite to Develop Diagnostics Based on Compugen's Biomarkers

Compugen and Biosite will partner on the development of diagnostic products based on biomarkers discovered by Compugen, the companies said this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, Biosite has been granted an exclusive license to develop and commercialize immunoassay-based diagnostics products based on several gene targets that Compugen has identified.

Compugen will receive milestone payments and royalties from the sale of any diagnostic products that result from the collaboration, and will also retain the exclusive right to develop therapeutics based on the targets. Biosite would then in turn receive milestone payments and royalties from Compugen arising from any successful therapeutic application of the targets.

The agreement is the second diagnostic collaboration that Compugen has announced this month.Earlier in June, the company said that it had penned a diagnostic collaboration with Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company.

Shimadzu Strikes Mass Spec Software Deals with
Phenomenome, Advanced Chemistry Development

Shimadzu and Phenomenome have inked a deal that will allow researchers to use Phenomenome's informatics platform to visualize and interpret mass spectrometry data generated by Shimadzu technology for metabolomics research, Shimadzu said this week.

The collaboration will see data generated on Shimadzu's LC/MS systems integrated with the Phenomenome Profiler informatics platform, Shimadzu said.

In addition, Shimadzu said separately today that it has struck a similar agreement with Advanced Chemistry Development, in which researchers will be able to use ACD software to visualize and interpret mass spectrometry fragmentation data and chromatography data generated by Shimadzu platforms.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Reaction Biology Wins SBIR Grant for
Microarray-Based Kinase Screening

Reaction Biology has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop its microarray kinase screening technology for testing compounds in nanoliter reactions, the company said this week.

According to Reaction Biology, the grant funds the use of its DiscoveryDot microarray technology for high-throughput kinase screening.

RBC also said that it eventually plans to expand its assay range across the human kinome.

The company did not disclose the amount of the award, but an NIH database lists a grant for Reaction Biology, entitled, "Kinome Drug Bioassay Platform," in the amount of $100,000.

Agilent, Human Metabolome Technologies
to Co-Develop Metabolomics Toolkit

Agilent Technologies and Japan's Human Metabolome Technologies will co-develop a suite of metabolomic analysis tools, the companies said this week.

Under the agreement, the firms said they will integrate HMT's biochemical assays with Agilent's capillary electrophoresis and mass spectrometry technologies for analyzing metabolic markers.

Agilent and HMT said that the metabolomics solution is expected to be on the market within six months.

The Scan

Expanded Genetic Testing Uncovers Hereditary Cancer Risk in Significant Subset of Cancer Patients

In Genome Medicine, researchers found pathogenic or likely pathogenic hereditary cancer risk variants in close to 17 percent of the 17,523 patients profiled with expanded germline genetic testing.

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Embryos Appear Largely Normal in Single-Cell 'Omics Analyses

Embryos produced with spindle transfer-based mitochondrial replacement had delayed demethylation, but typical aneuploidy and transcriptome features in a PLOS Biology study.

Cancer Patients Report Quality of Life Benefits for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy was linked in JAMA Network Open to enhanced quality of life compared to other treatment types in cancer patients.

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.