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German Federal Ministry, Thermo Fisher, Bio-Rad, Ciphergen, Combimatrix, Vybion, Matritech, Bruker BioSciences, MIT, Caprion, Ecopia

German Govt Funds New Protein Analysis Lab
The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research will provide €8.8 million ($11.4 million) to build a lab for protein and biomolecular analysis, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory said last week.

The Integrated Facilities for Structural Biology will be an addition to Hamburg’s German Synchrotron Research Center, called the [email protected], and will focus on using synchrotron high-energy radiation to look at molecular structures.

The facility will also house hardware for high-throughput crystallization, sample preparation and characterization, and data processing, EMBL said.

EMBL expects the facility to be available by 2010 and said it will be available for use by researchers worldwide.


Thermo Fisher Revs Rise 125 Percent for Q4, 44 Percent for 2006
Thermo Fisher Scientific reported this week revenues grew 125 percent during the fourth quarter to $1.68 billion.
Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific completed their merger creating the new company during the quarter, and revenue results include $849 million from Fisher. During the year-ago period, the company, reporting only as Thermo Electro said it had revenues of $740.8 million.
All year-ago figures are for Thermo Electron only and do not include figures from Fisher Scientific.
Net income dropped 55 percent during the three months ended Dec. 31, 2006 to $56.4 million from $25.3 million. The company took a number of merger-related charges during the quarter, however, including $93.2 million in amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets, and $74.4 million related to the sale of revalued inventories and accelerated depreciation on manufacturing assets being abandoned due to facility consolidations.
For full-year 2006, Thermo Fisher’s revenues rose to $3.8 billion, a 44 percent increase from the year-ago figure of $2.6 billion. Net income dropped 24 percent to $169 million from $223 million.
The company spent $52.2 million on R&D during the fourth quarter. As of Dec. 31, 2006, Thermo Fisher had $667 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Coalition Formed Amid Concerns Over FDA’s IVDMIA Draft Guidance
Bio-Rad, Ciphergen, and Combimatrix Molecular Diagnostics have joined the Coalition for 21st Century Medicine, a group of diagnostic technology companies, clinical laboratories, and patient advocates whose stated goal is to encourage the research, development, and commercialization of new diagnostic technologies.
The announcement this week of the formation of the group, made up currently of 26 members, came on the same day that the US Food and Drug Administration held a public forum on its draft guidance for in vitro diagnostic multivariate index assays which has created high anxiety among diagnostic firms.
The Coalition said in a statement it is worried that if the FDA’s draft guidance is implemented “vital medical tests may become unavailable, innovation and improvements could be impeded, the cost of research and development could rise, and insurance coverage for laboratory tests could erode or disappear.”  

Vybion Licenses PPI Platform from Cornell
Vybion said this week it has licensed the ProCode drug development platform from Cornell University.
The platform can be configured for monoclonal antibody selection, affinity maturation and library generation, Vybion said in a statement. It can also used for the identification and characterization of protein-protein interactions and discovery of protein drugs.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Based in Ithaca, NY, Vybion is an early stage developer of recombinant proteins for biopharmaceuticals and diagnostics.

Matritech’s Bladder Test Pushes Revs Up 29 Percent in Q4; Loss Widens 5.3 Percent
Matritech announced a 29 percent rise in revenues for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2006.
Helped by a 37 percent increase in revenues from sales of its lead product, the NMP22 BladderCheck Test, to $3.1 million, total revenues rose to $3.6 million from $2.8 million during the year-ago period.
For the quarter, net losses increased 5.3 percent to $2.3 million from $2.2 million. The company said it spent $612,051 on R&D during the quarter.
For full-year 2006, Matritech said its revenues rose to $12.2 million, a 17 percent increase from full-year 2005. Net losses rose 52 percent, however, to $11.9 million from $7.9 million. As of Dec. 31, the company reported it had $1.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

10.4M Shares of Bruker Stock Priced at $7.10
Bruker BioSciences this week announced a selling price of $7.10 per share for 10.4 million shares of its common stock.
The company had announced in December the sale of the shares by four members of the Laukien family and the company. The Laukiens are selling 8.2 million shares while Bruker would be selling 2.2 million shares. Frank Laukien, CEO and president of Bruker, is not one of the selling shareholders.
The company expects net proceeds of $14.7 million from the sale, while the four Laukien family members will see $54.9 million in net proceeds in aggregate from their transaction, Bruker said in a statement.
Bruker expects to use its net proceeds for general corporate purposes, potential acquisition and repayment of debt.
Bear, Stearns & Co. and UBS Securities are joint bookrunning managers for the offering. On Wednesday, Feb. 7, shares of Bruker closed at $7.45.

MIT Team Says Its New Device Speeds Up Separation of Proteins
A team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a microchip system that it says speeds up the separation of biomolecules such as proteins, allowing for better detection.
Building on a one-dimensional sieve [See PM 09/21/06] the researchers devised and reported on last year, the new device, called an anisotropic nanofluidic sieving structure, is designed in two orthogonal dimensions, enabling rapid continuous-flow separation of the biological sample.
According to a statement from MIT, the anisotropic sieve is embedded in a silicon chip and a biological sample is placed on a sample reservoir above the chip. The sample is then run through the sieve continuously. The anisotropy in the sieve causes proteins of different sizes to follow distinct migration trajectories, leading to continuous-flow separation, said the lead researcher on the project.
“The proteins to be sorted are forced to take two orthogonal paths,” said Jongyoon Han, a professor of electrical engineering and associate professor of biological engineering at MIT. “Each path is engineered with different sieving characters. When proteins of different sizes are injected into the sieve under applied electric fields, they will separate into different streams based on size.
“This is the first time physiologically relevant molecules like proteins have been separated in such a manner,” Han continued. “We can separate the molecules in about a minute with the current device versus hours for gels.”
Han and his colleagues’ research appear in the Feb. 5 issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

Shareholder Vote for Caprion-Ecopia Merger
Caprion and Ecopia will hold special meetings on March 12 for shareholders to vote on the proposed merger of the two companies, they announced this week. The merger plan was announced in January.
Caprion would sell its proteomics business if the deal is completed. The newly formed company would focus on developing drugs for cancer and infectious diseases [See PM 01/11/07].

The Scan

Boosters Chasing Variants

The New York Times reports that an FDA advisory panel is to weigh updated booster vaccines for COVID-19.

Not Yet

The World Health Organization says monkeypox is not yet a global emergency, the Washington Post reports.

More Proposed for Federal Research

Science reports that US House of Representatives panels are seeking to increase federal research funding.

PLOS Papers on Breast Cancer Metastasis, Left-Sided Cardiac Defects, SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring

In PLOS this week: link between breast cancer metastasis and CLIC4, sequencing analysis of left-sided cardiac defects, and more.