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Hybrigenics, Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, IBM, Indigo BioSystems, Protedyne, Genomatix, Qiagen, Procognia, Agilent, Invitrogen, EBI, NCI

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Hybrigenics Gets Quality Certification in US, Europe, and Japan

Hybrigenics, a Paris-based, a protein pathways-analysis company, has received global quality certification for its proteomics services, a public relations firm representing the company said this week.

According to Andrew Lloyd, the firm's spokesperson, Hybrigenics' services have obtained ISO 9001-2000 certification from the International Standards Organization in Europe, as well as certification from QMI, the standards registrar in the US, and from the Japan Quality Assurance Association, a non-profit standards registrar in that country.

Bart Kwist, the company's CEO, said the certifications would provide customers with "added confidence in the quality of the protein data" that the proteomics service provides. He said that few biotech companies have achieved such certification and that it would make Hybrigenics more competitive.


Trio of Scottish Universities Get $20M Proteomics Grant

Three Scottish Universities have been awarded an £11 million ($20 million) grant to help fund their proteomics research, according to a report by the Edinburgh Evening News.

The grant will be split between researchers at the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee and the funding is being provided through the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, two UK government agencies, the newspaper said.


IBM to Co-Develop Repository for Storing Raw Proteomics Data with Indigo BioSystems

IBM and Indigo BioSystems are co-developing a public proteomics database by using IBM's hardware and Indigo's archiving technology, the companies said this week.

The model database will store raw human proteomics data from a variety of instruments using opens standards developed by the Proteomics Standards Initiative of the Human Proteome Organization and web services to access the data. The information will be available to researchers worldwide for data mining.

The archive will use IBM's Linux on Power hardware, DB2 database, and WebSphere application server, as well as Indigo's True Blue archive technology. Indigo, based in Indianapolis, first developed the technology to manage data of a large pharmaceutical drug disposition group, and later applied it to proteomics.


Protedyne Opens UK Office to Support European Sales

Protedyne has opened an office in Essex, UK, to house the company's European sales and support groups, the company said last week.

The facility will be overseen by Ashley Gould, Protedyne's regional manager for Europe.

Protedyne, headquartered in Windsor, Conn., provides automation products to the life sciences market.


Genomatix Gets $500K in Series B Private Equity Round

Genomatix, a Roanoke, Va.-based gene expression and proteomics tools company, this week announced that it has closed a Series B round of financing led by a $500,000 investment from NewVa Capital Partners, a venture capital fund managed by Third Security.

Robert Beech, CEO of Genomatix, said in a statement that the new funding will "accelerate the roll out and marketing of its proprietary genetic tools," and called NewVa's investment a "strong indicator" that the company was on the "right track, both scientifically and commercially."


Qiagen to Include Procognia's 'On-Chip' Tech in Its QProteome Products

Qiagen has obtained an exclusive license from Procognia to market and sell its "on-chip" protein glycoanalysis technology with Qiagen's QProteome product line, the company said this week.

Procognia's "on-chip" products comprise lectin chips and analytical software.

Qiagen said it believes that this technology "addresses a previously unmet need for the preparation and understanding of proteins" in the field of glycomics.

Financial terms were not disclosed.


Agilent's LSCA Unit Grows 3 Percent in Fiscal Q2 as Total Receipts Slide 8 Percent

Agilent Technologies this week reported an 8-percent drop in revenues and decreased earnings for its second fiscal quarter, though contributions from the life sciences and chemical analysis segment grew 3 percent.

Revenue for the quarter ended April 30 fell to $1.7 billion from $1.8 billion during the same period last year. Receipts from the company's life sciences and chemical analysis segment increased to $344 million from $333 during the same quarter.

Research and development costs increased slightly, to $248 million from $237 million during the second quarter of 2004.

Net earnings for the quarter fell to $95 million, or $.19 per share, from $104 million, or $.21 per share, during the year-ago period.

As of April 30, Agilent had $2.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents.


Invitrogen to Acquire Immunological Reagent Maker Caltag for $20M in Cash

Invitrogen will acquire Caltag Laboratories, a manufacturer of immunological reagents, for $20 million in cash, the company said this week.

Caltag, based in Burlingame, Calif., makes antibodies and reagents for flow cytometry applications, including tandem dyes for multi-color flow cytometry. In addition to research tools, the company has developed technologies for diagnostics. Fifteen of its products are FDA-approved class II in vitro diagnostic devices. The company's German subsidiary offers more than 200 antibodies approved for diagnostic sales in the European Union.

Invitrogen, which acquired antibody maker Zymed Laboratories earlier this year, believes Caltag will complement its proteomics technologies. "Caltag's strength in supporting flow cytometry work is a natural fit for this goal through its synergies with Invitrogen's upstream proteomics technologies," said Cheri Walker, Invitrogen's vice president of proteomics, in a company statement.

Caltag's US staff of about 50 will remain in the San Francisco area as part of Invitrogen's Antibody Center of Excellence. The acquisition is scheduled to close by the end of June, and Caltag is expected to have approximately $10 million in sales in the following year.


UK Agencies Award EBI New Funds to Expand Facilities

The European Bioinformatics Institute said last week that the Wellcome Trust, the UK's Medical Research Council, and the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences have committed to funding the expansion of the EBI site in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, UK.

The new development will provide 1,500 square meters of space. Together with the EBI's existing 3000 square meter building, this will provide the space to house over 400 staff, EBI said.

The specific terms of the funding are still "under discussion," but EBI said the expansion may cost up to £14 million ($26 million). The European Molecular Biology Laboratory has committed £700,000 to the expansion in addition to its current funding, which provides around 45 percent of EBI's funds.

EBI Director Janet Thornton said in a statement that the EBI is "absolutely thrilled" that the UK agencies have agreed to support the expansion. "We now have almost 300 people and the need for more space has become critical; some of our staff members are already in temporary accommodation."

Iain Mattaj, EMBL's new director-general, said that EMBL has "always looked to the host country to help fund projects that involve new facilities. We're delighted that the UK funding agencies have responded to our needs."


NCI Awards $11M for Biomarker Studies Under Early Detection Research Network

The National Cancer Institute has awarded 13 grants worth a total of $11 million to fund research for the next five years under its Early Detection Research Network, the agency said last week.

Four of the grants go to institutions not previously funded by EDRN, whose goal is to establish validated biological markers that are ready for large-scale clinical testing. The funding covers three of the network's four components: clinical epidemiology and validation centers; biomarker reference laboratories; a data-management and coordinating center; as well as an informatics center. Funding for the fourth component, biomarker development laboratories, was awarded late last year.

Funding for epidemiology and validation centers goes to the University of Michigan, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Creighton University in Omaha, Johns Hopkins University, New York University School of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, University of Texas Health Science Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Funding for the biomarkers reference laboratories was awarded to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Alabama, and the University of Maryland.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center received funding for the data management and coordinating center, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration California Institute of Technology for the informatics center.