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MDS Sciex, Advanced Labs, UCLA, Nanogen, Syn X Pharma, Mitsui, Correlogic Systems, Aventis, Serenex, Invitrogen, BioReliance, Proteome Sciences, Zyomyx


MDS Sciex Inks Distribution Agreement for Australia-New Zealand Market

MDS Sciex said this week it has signed an agreement with Advanced Labs, of South Melbourne, Australia, for distribution of its NanoLC system throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The companies said that Advanced Labs is debuting the new NanoLC technology at the 29th Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function this week in Lorne, Australia.

UCLA Researchers Get $1.5M to Apply Nanotech to Cancer

Researchers at several UCLA schools have been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to organize interdisciplinary research in applying nanotechnology to cancer, according to the UCLA campus newspaper.

Leanord Rome, senior associate dean for research at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, is the principal investigator on this program, but he will be joined by researchers from the W.M. Keck Proteomics Center, the Johnson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the California NanoSystems Institute, the report said.

The group will use nanoscale-devices to search for compounds that inhibit growth of cancer cells, especially those in epithelial cells. Among the technologies to be used, according to the article, are Quantum Dots, or Q-Dots — tiny fluorescent particles that can be used to tag the proteins.

Nanogen to acquire Syn X Pharma for CA$16.3M

Nanogen said this week it plans to acquire Syn X Pharma in an all-stock transaction.

The transaction is valued at approximately CA$16.3 million ($12.3 million). Under the agreement, Nanogen will offer common shares to holders of Syn X common shares in a stock-for-stock exchange.

Nanogen, based in San Diego, plans to operate Toronto-based Syn X as a business unit under its current name and retain the company’s research facility. Syn X has licensed a biomarker, N-terminal pro-hormone brain natriuretic peptide, from Roche Diagnostics to develop a test for the point-of-care market. The company also has in development Alzheimer’s diagnostics and tests for insulin resistance and traumatic brain injury .

Syn X managers George Jackowski and Rod Wilson are to join Nanogen’s management team. Nanogen said the acquisition will help it expand its share in the in vitro diagnostics market. The company expects the Syn X unit to be cash flow positive by the end of 2005.

The acquisition, unanimously approved by Syn X directors, is subject to Syn X shareholder approval and other conditions. Nanogen expects the deal to close by the end of June.

Mitsui Makes Equity Investment in Correlogic

Mitsui said this week it made an undisclosed equity investment in Correlogic Systems, and that the two companies have signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” to explore creating a joint venture in Japan to deploy Correlogic’s diagnostic testing technology.

This is the first US proteomics investment for the Japanese trading giant. The company’s Bio-business Development Department of Performance Chemicals Unit made the investment. The company said it first became aware of Correlogic in February 2002, when the company’s algorithm was used to interpret ovarian cancer data produced by Emanuel Petricoin and Lance Liotta and published in the Lancet, “but it was the potential of Correlogic’s technology to detect a range of disease states that made it so attractive to Mitsui,” Mitsui said in a statement.

“Mitsui is committed to developing molecular diagnostic business especially for cancer, and is constantly searching for business partners to expand this core business interest,” Ryu Ogawa, chief operating officer of the performance chemicals unit of Mitsui, said in a statement. “Correlogic Systems developed an innovative technology that would pave the way for early detection of cancer, and our investment in Correlogic Systems is a perfect strategic fit for Mitsui.”

Aventis to Evaluate Serenex’ Technology

Serenex said this week it has signed an evaluation agreement for its chemoproteomics technology with Aventis. Aventis Pharmaceuticals, the Bridgewater, NJ-based subsidiary of Strasbourg, France-based Aventis, will “evaluate the utility” of Serenex’s Proteome Mining and Functional Proteome Fractionation profiling technologies, the company said.

Aventis will supply Serenex with cell lines and sets of small molecules, and Serenex will use its chemoproteomics tools to screen these compounds, Serenex said. Aventis retains the right to use the information generated by Serenex to advance molecules through the next stages of drug discovery.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Serenex has similar evaluation agreements underway with Roche, Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, and Chiron.

Invitrogen Completes Acquisition of BioReliance for $403.2 Million

Invitrogen this week announced the closing of its acquisition of BioReliance in an all-cash deal conducted through its subsidiary, Baseball Acquisition.

BioReliance, a Rockville, Md.-based contract service organization, will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Invitrogen. The firm in January announced that it would close a 44-employee Worchester, Mass., facility it acquired in September.

BioReliance shares were delisted from the Nasdaq exchange, and they ceased trading at the close of business on Feb. 6.

Invitrogen announced in December that it would acquire BioReliance for $500 million. Invitrogen paid $48 per share for BioReliance’s approximately 8.4 million shares, valuing today’s transaction at $403.2 million.

Proteome Sciences Wins £419,000 For Alzheimer's Biomarker Research

Proteome Sciences announced this week that it has been awarded a DTI-Link grant of £419,000 ($792,600) to use its ProteoSHOP platform to identify Alzheimer's biomarkers for diagnostics and therapeutics. The company will collaborate with the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College in London on the project.

Zyomyx Raises $10M in Additional Capital

Zyomyx has raised $10 million in additional venture capital, the company said this week.

The financing round was led by CSFB Private Equity, which was joined by existing investors Alloy Ventures, Lilly BioVentures, Hambrecht & Quist Capital Management, Mediphase Venture Partners, and Bio One Capital.

Zyomyx plans to use the funding to expand its line of products. The company says it will launch its mouse cytokine biochip in April, followed by other biochips later this year (see PM 11-7-03).

Invitrogen Reports Significant Revenue, Income Increases in Q4

Invitrogen reported increased earnings and revenues for the fourth quarter this week.

Revenues increased to $207.8 million, from $161.8 million during the same period the previous year. Invitrogen attributed this increase in sales partly to products it obtained from its acquisition of Molecular Probes.

R&D expenses soared to $16.1 million, from $9.7 million during the same quarter in 2002.

Net income for the quarter was $12.6 million, or $.24 per share, up from $10.2 million, or $.2 per share, the year before.

Invitrogen had $998.7 million in cash and investments as of Dec. 31, 2003.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.