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MDS, Ciphergen, UTMB, SGX, OSI, Advion, ABI, Sciex, Inpharmatica, Serono, Southern Research Institute

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MDS to Divest Proteomics Division

MDS wants to divest its Proteomics unit, and has begun looking for partners to take over the money-losing division, the company said today. “We believe that MDS Proteomics has value ... but that MDS Inc. cannot fund it over the long term,” Sharon Mathers, an MDS spokeswoman, told GenomeWeb today.

“We’ll be looking for alternate financing arrangements, whether that’s partnering [or] R&D collaborations.” Mathers said. M DS hopes to deal with the MDS Proteomics issue “as quickly as we can.” She added that though the parent company “is a fairly well-developed health and life-sciences company, proteomics probably represents a different risk profile than we would normally like to be invested in.” She said that MDS Proteomics, which employs around 70 people, has enough cash on hand to survive until the middle of 2004.

In his company’s third-quarter earnings report today, John Rogers, president and CEO of MDS, said that “MDS Inc. does not intend to make any further investments in MDS Proteomics.”

Of MDS’ its three units - MDS Proteomics, MDS Health Sciences, and MDS Life Sciences - Proteomics is the only one losing money. Revenue for MDS’ Life and Health Sciences divisions, which provide lab services and equipment to hospitals, grew to CA$279 million ($203 million) and CA$184 million, respectively, during the third quarter 2003 from CA$269 million and CA$181 million for the same period one year ago. Also, both divisions enjoyed third-quarter operating margins of 8 percent (Health Sciences) and 20 percent (Life Sciences), MDS said.

By comparison, MDS Proteomics recorded zero revenues in the quarter and posted CA$8 million in net losses. Revenues for the third quarter 2002 reached CA$1 million, while net losses were CA$12 million.


Ciphergen & UTMB Win Aid Award for Biodefense Aptamers

Ciphergen announced this week that its collaboration with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to use SELDI ProteinChip technology and UTMB’s thioaptamers to study inflammatory response to potential bioterrorist agents would receive funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As ProteoMonitor reported last month (see PM 8-1-03), the technology will be used to identify and characterize protein interactions associated with viral infection as well as other processes involved in the immune response to pathogens, with the ultimate goal of developing diagnostics and therapeutics.


SGX Pens Agreement with OSI for Lead Optimization

Structural Genomix of San Diego announced this week that it will collaborate with OSI Pharma to use SGX’s gene-to-structure platform to accelerate lead discovery and optimization for oncology drugs. SGX will receive upfront payment, as well as research funding and milestone payments, in return for using its high-throughput structure determination, crystallization, and co-crystallization technologies to test OSI drug target leads for optimization information.


Advion Makes Co-Marketing Deal with ABI and Sciex

Advion BioSciences announced this week that it had signed a deal with Applied Biosystems to jointly market Advion’s NanoMate chip-based nanoelectrospray with ABI and MDS Sciex mass spectrometers. The mass specs that will be singled out are ABI 2000 and 4000 LC/MS/MS, 4000 Q-Trap, and Q-Star XL Hybrid LS/MS/MS.

The announcement was made at the International Mass Spectrometry Conference held this week in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Inpharmatica Extends Collaboration with Serono

Inpharmatica announced last week that it would extend its two-year collaboration with Serono for the development and application of Inpharmatica’s PharmaCarta chemogenomics system for the identification of novel proteins. The extension came after the delivery of Serono’s first milestone payment to Inpharmatica in June of this year. So far, Inpharmatica has delivered over 150 proteins to Serono.


Southern Research Institute to Embrace Proteomics

Southern Research Institute, a Birmingham, Ala.-based contract research center, said last week that it plans to add proteomics research to its pharmaceutical research repertoire.

The institute said it plans to add scientific staff and equipment to support proteomics-related research, and also intends to collaborate with outside parties.