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Miraculins, Sigma-Aldrich, UCSF, Thomson Reuters, Harvard, Diagnostics-For-All, George Mason University, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, GeneGo, Dana-Farber, Luminex, LifeSpan

Miraculins Changes Biz Model, Shifting Away from Proteomics Discovery
Canadian biomarker research and diagnostics firm Miraculins said this week it is dropping its proteomics research and discovery business to concentrate on assay development and commercialization.
The company will in-license, acquire, and develop cancer and non-cancer “diagnostic opportunities that have completed early-stage research and address unmet clinical needs,” the company said in a statement.
Miraculins will continue work on its P2V biomarker test for prostate cancer. A validation test is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, the company said.
In documents filed with Canadian capital markets regulators, the company reported CAD$1,263 [US$1,247] in revenue for its fiscal first quarter, ending Feb. 29, an 87 percent drop from the year-ago figure of CAD$9,911. Net loss for the quarter narrowed to CAD$219,576 from CAD$443,741 a year ago.
The company had been developing diagnostics for breast, gastric, and pancreatic cancers but has suspended those efforts due to a lack of resources.

Sigma-Aldrich, UCSF Developing Antibodies
Sigma-Aldrich this week announced a five-year collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco, for the production of monoclonal antibodies.
Under the terms of the agreement, UCSF will provide Sigma-Aldrich with purified antibody serum targets for development and commercialization in the company’s antibody Center of Excellence in Israel. A steering committee comprised of UCSF researchers will determine targets in antibody research for stem cell surface markers, cancer, autoimmune disease, and neglected diseases. The committee will include Lewis Lanier, Susan Fisher, and Jeffrey Bluestone.
UCSF will have free access to antibodies developed from the collaboration for its ongoing immunology and disease research. Other financial terms were not disclosed.
This is the second major antibody development deal reached by Sigma-Aldrich in recent months. In February, the company partnered with Atlas Antibodies, the commercial arm of the Human Protein Atlas, with the goal of commercializing 22,000 highly characterized antibodies by 2015 [See PM 02/14/08].

Harvard, DFA Bringing Protein Dx Chip to Developing Nations
Harvard University and Diagnostics-For-All, a newly formed non-profit company, have reached an agreement to provide “lab-on-a-chip” technology to patients and healthcare providers in developing countries.
The technology, which is a paper-based microfluidic chip developed by George Whitesides, a professor of chemistry at the university and co-founder of DFA, uses proteins and other molecules to detect diseases. Because it is made of paper, it costs as little as a penny to use. It is also easily transportable and does not require the use of complicated equipment to read out the results.
Details of the deal have not been completely finalized, but DFA will have the option to license the technology from Harvard, who has agreed not to receive royalties if it is used for not-for-profit purposes.
“What we have with this technology is the means to help address significant diagnostic disparities between the United States and the developing world,” Whitesides said in a statement jointly released by Harvard and DFA. “By developing a low-cost and broadly-applicable test system designed to be deployed in regions with no or little access to complex laboratory diagnostic equipment, we hope to make a real impact on public health.”

ImmunoCellular, GMU Reach Deal to Develop Cancer Dx
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics and George Mason University this week announced a deal to develop a blood-based test to detect small-cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.
The agreement calls for the use of IMUC’s monoclonal antibody technology for the development of a test to detect biomarkers for the cancers. In addition to helping assess which patients would be the best candidates for IMUC’s monoclonal antibody therapy, ICT-109, the test could be used for early-stage diagnosis, IMUC said in a statement.
GMU will help verify and validate candidate makers identified by IMUC. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

GeneGo, Dana-Farber Collaborate on NCI Grant
GeneGo said this week it has been awarded one-year, $200,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a platform for functional data analysis in cancer.
The company will collaborate with investigators at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on the project. The system, MetaMiner (Oncology), will combine pathway and network analysis tools, act as a repository for “omics” data, and have advanced statistical tools based on functional descriptors, the company said in a statement.

Luminex Files for Offering of 3.5M Shares
Luminex announced this week it has filed a preliminary prospectus to offer 3.5 million shares of its common stock.
The company expects net proceeds of between $72.3 million and $83.3 million from the offering, though the final figure will be determined by the market price for Luminex’s shares. The company expects to grant underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 525,000 shares of commons stock to cover over-allotments, if any.
Net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including R&D, potential acquisitions and capital expenditure. JPMorgan Securities and UBS Investment Bank are joint book-running managers on the offering.

LifeSpan Plans to Release 20,000 IHC Antibodies
LifeSpan BioSciences last week announced an initiative to release 20,000 immunohistochemistry-validated antibodies during the next four years.
The Seattle-based company currently has about 2,000 antibodies validated for use in immunhistochemistry among its catalog of more than 37,000 reagent antibodies, it said in a statement. It began developing and selling immunohistochemistry-validated antibodies in 2006

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.