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Invitrogen, Gene Network Sciences and Ariadne, Compugen, Lehman Brothers and Applied Biosystems, Cell Sciences and CombiMatrix, and The Broad Institute


Invitrogen Reorganizes in Attempt to Better Connect With Customers

Invitrogen has reorganized its business and formed three new divisions out of its traditional BioDiscovery and BioProduction business units, the company said this week.

As of Jan. 1, 2006, Invitrogen's new units will be called Life Sciences, Bio-Production Systems and Services, and Enabling Technologies division, and each will have its own manufacturing, R&D, and marketing functions, Invitrogen said.

"This realignment allows us to focus our development and commercial efforts along key technology workflows in order to help researchers shape the protocols of tomorrow's medical breakthroughs," Greg Lucier, chairman and CEO of Invitrogen, said in a statement.

The Life Sciences segment will focus on molecular biology and biomedical applications, including cloning and protein expression, protein analysis, gene-expression profiling, and drug discovery tools. Jon Hindar, who served as CEO of recent Invitrogen acquisition Dynal Corporation, will serve as senior vice president of Life Sciences.

It was not immediately clear whether lay-offs are part of the reorganization.

Bio-Production Systems and Services will include the current Gibco and BioReliance products and services, as well as Invitrogen's bioproduction process development initiative, Invitrogen said. Nicolas Barthelemy, currently head of global operations for Invitrogen, will lead the division.

Enabling Technologies will focus on nanotechnology, imaging and microscopy, cell separation and analysis, labeling and detection, bead-based separations, and the antibody center of excellence. This division will include the Molecular Probes, Dynal, BioSource, and Quantum Dot brands, Invitrogen said. John Miller will be senior vice president of Enabling Technologies. Miller comes to Invitrogen from rival BD Biosciences, where he was vice president and general manager for the Americas.

The divisions will also be "integrated" with technology "sales specialist teams" that provide scientific expertise in targeted research areas.

In a separate announcement, Invitrogen released details for its upcoming conference on 2006 financial guidance. The presentation will be held Dec. 14 at 2 PM at the Grand Hyatt New York on Park Avenue at Grand Central Station. Registration and reception will begin at 1:30 PM.

In addition, last week Invitrogen purchased $100 million of its 2.25 percent convertible subordinate notes due 2006. This transaction reduces the company's full-diluted shares outstanding by approximately 1 million shares for fiscal 2006, the company said.

GNS Licenses Ariadne's PathwayStudio Software

Gene Network Sciences has licensed Ariadne Genomics' PathwayStudio Central software to interpret newly discovered gene networks, Ariadne said this week.

Researchers use the software to identify relationships between proteins, small molecules, cell processes and treatments, reconstruct pathways from microarray and proteomics data, identify biomarkers, and model drug responses.

The software comes with ResNet, a database of more than 500,000 functional relationships, and the MedScan tool for automatic extraction of information from scientific literature.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Compugen Plans Reorganization, 25 Percent Reduction in Force

Compugen said this week that it has begun a reorganization that will include a 25 percent cut in its workforce.

The company said in a statement that it is being reorganized into three units: a therapeutics unit, a diagnostic biomarkers unit, and a research and discovery unit.

Compugen said that the therapeutics arm's primary short-term focus is "the ongoing in vitro and in vivo validation of a large number of potential therapeutic proteins predicted by the company's initial discovery engines." This unit will be headed by Noam Shani, previously vice president of biology R&D.

The diagnostic biomarkers unit will be lead by Anat Cohen-Dayag, previously director of diagnostics within the biology R&D division, the company said, and will consolidate all of Compugen's activities in the field of diagnostic biomarkers.

The R&D unit was established to "provide new discoveries for evaluation by the therapeutic and diagnostic business units, as well as to be responsible for the creation of additional discovery engines and other platforms and technologies," Compugen said. This unit will be headed by Yossi Cohen, previously Director of Science and technology.

In conjunction with the reorganization, Compugen said that it will eliminate certain activities deemed to not directly support its "corporate goals." As a result, the company's headcount will be reduced by about 25 percent, with an expected expenditure decrease of between $2 million to $3 million per year in 2006 and 2007, compared with 2005.

Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

Investment Bank Cuts ABI Stock Rating, Though Says Firm Can Meet Revenue Targets

Investment bank Lehman Brothers last week cut Applied Biosystems' stock rating to "equal-weight" from "overweight."

Though it said it continues to believe the company can meet revenue and earnings targets, the recent increase in the share price no longer warrants an overweight rating, Lehman Brothers said.

The broker said the recent run-up in the share price may be related to the company's stock buyback program.

Cell Sciences to Market, Sell CombiMatrix's Arrays in Asia

Cell Sciences will distribute CombiMatrix's products and services in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Indonesia, he company said last week.

Under terms of the non-exclusive agreement, Cell Sciences, a subsidiary of the CyGenics Group, will market and sell CombiMatrix's CustomArrays and CatalogArrays, including its recently introduced Influenza Research Microarray in those markets.

Broad Founders Give Institute Second $100M Gift; Lander Calls Cash 'Vote of Confidence'

The Broad Institute has received a second $100 million gift from institute founders Eli and Edythe Broad, the center said last week.

The Broad founders helped found the institute 18 months ago with an original $100 million gift.

According to the Broad, the combined gift will be doled out in $20-million blocks over the next 10 years. Eli Broad said that the couple decided to double the institutes funding because they were impressed by the "tremendous progress already made by the scientists and by the success of the new model for collaborative science involving Harvard and MIT."

Eric Lander, founding director of the institute, called the gift a "vote of confidence."

The Broad also said that a new Broad Institute building, located at 7 Cambridge Center in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass. is scheduled for completion in Spring 2006. In July, the institute said the center would be completed in January 2006.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.