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Industry Briefs: Jan 29, 2009


State University of New York Sues Bruker, Varian on Mass Spec Patent

The Research Foundation of the State University of New York has filed a suit against Bruker and Varian for allegedly infringing a patent it owns covering spectroscopic equipment used for protein research.

The suit was filed last week in the US District Court for the Northern District of New York and alleges that Bruker and Varian are infringing the university's patent, US No. 6,831,459, entitled "Method of Using G-matrix Fourier Transformation Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (GFT NMR) Spectroscopy for Rapid Chemical Shift Assignment and Secondary Structure Determination of Proteins."

Although the suit does not name specific products, it alleges that both Bruker and Varian are "making, using, selling, offering for sale, and/or importing into the United States, without authority, spectrometers and related products that practice methods of the '459 patent."

The SUNY Research Foundation has asked the court to declare that Bruker and Varian have infringed and continue to infringe the '459 patent, to judge the infringement as willful and award treble damages, and to issue an injunction against those firms selling allegedly infringing products.

SUNY received the patent on Dec. 14, 2004, but it did not state in the lawsuit when it believes Bruker and Varian began infringing that patent.

Bruker Tells Analyst Firm MS Biz Expected to Slow in 2009

In an analyst note last week, Leerink Swann’s Isaac Ro said that Bruker’s mass spec business is likely to decline in 2009.

According to the note, Ro met with Bruker’s CEO Frank Laukien and CFO Bill Knight last week during which they said that in spite of “good momentum” for the company’s new maXis instrument, they expect its mass spec division to suffer softness during the year. Ro did not provide specific figures, however.

During the meeting, Laukien and Knight also outlined cost-cutting initiatives Bruker has taken to offset a slowing environment for life-science instruments ahead, including voluntary pay cuts by management, repurchased shares, and a hiring freeze, Ro wrote.

Elsewhere, Ro said that R&D spending is now targeted to reach 10 percent of Bruker’s sales, down from the current level of 12 percent. SG&A is expected to decline to 20-22 percent from current levels of 22-25 percent.

Sigma Aldrich, CPC Scientific Reach Distribution Deal

Custom peptide firm CPC Scientific will offer Sigma-Aldrich’s PEPscreen custom peptide libraries to life science researchers and pharmaceutical firms under a distribution agreement announced this week.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sigma-Aldrich’s proprietary platform enables the high-throughput production of milligram quantities of peptides, which according to the company is ideal for producing custom peptide libraries for peptide-based drug discovery applications. The platform significantly reduces the time requirements for peptide library development and reduces costs in the drug development process, Sigma-Aldrich said in a statement.

CPC Scientific, based in San Jose, Calif., produces about 1,000 custom peptides each month.

Monash Antibody Facility, Dako to Develop Cancer Antibodies

Monash University said last week the Monash Antibody Technologies Facility and Danish cancer diagnostic firm Dako will collaborate to develop antibodies for cancer treatment.

Under the licensing and development agreement MATF will develop novel monoclonal antibodies for commercialization. In a statement, the facility’s director, Alan Sawyer, said the collaboration will heighten MATF’s profile particularly in Europe and the US.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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GeneBio, Utrecht U Collaborate on Lys-N Workflow

Geneva Bioinformatics and Utrecht University’s Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Group announced a collaboration last week for the use of GeneBio’s Phenyx software.

Under the deal, Albert Heck’s laboratory at the university will use the software to get optimized scoring for its Lys-N protein digestion workflow in combination with electron transfer dissociation and collision induced dissociation data, an application developed by the Heck group.

The Lys-N workflow is a complementary tool for high-throughput proteomics analysis, especially applicable for post-translational modifications and de novo sequencing, the company and university said in a joint statement.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

NEB Licenses Protein Tag Tech from Covalys

New England Biolabs has acquired from Covalys Biosciences the rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize products based on self-labeling protein tags.

The tags were developed by Kai Johnsson of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and commercialized by Covalys. The protein labeling products have been available through NEB since Dec. 10, according to Covalys’ website.

The technologies being licensed by NEB include four orthogonal protein-labeling systems: SNAP-tag; CLIP-tag; ACP-tag, and MCP-tag. A collection of cell permeable and non-permeable substrates for biochemical and cellular labeling are also included in the deal.

The tags and substrates allow investigators to “quickly and easily covalently attach a wide array of chemical probes to proteins, thereby enabling their visualization and characterization in live cells, cell lysates, and biochemical analysis,” the company said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PerkinElmer Declares Dividend

PerkinElmer said this week that its board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $.07 per share. The dividend is payable on May 8 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on April 17.

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.