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NCI, Insightful, Scripps, GenoLogics, Ciphergen, Sanofi-Aventis, Lumera, MUSC, Luminex, Fisher, Association Internationale pour la Recherche sur la Maladie d Alzheimer, Erasmus, Windber, Nanogen, NIH


NCI Awards Insightful $186K to Develop Cancer Prevention Research Software

The National Cancer Institute has awarded Insightful two contracts worth a total of $185,807 to develop bioinformatics software to analyze and evaluate proteomic cellular signatures in cancer prevention research, Insightful said this week.

The software will use Insightful's S-Plus 7 and S+ArrayAnalyzer products, the company said.

The initial contracts call for solutions to the "challenges of preprocessing mass spectrometry data," Insightful said. The company is planning to develop software that includes calibration, denoising, baseline detrending, intensity normalization, peak detection, alignment, feature selection and extraction, as well as graphics.

Insightful said the funding will be recorded in the company's financial statements as a reduction to research and development expense.

Scripps Florida to Use GenoLogics Platform for Proteomics, Systems Bio Research

Scripps Florida will use GenoLogics' lab- and data-management system in its proteomics and systems biology research, GenoLogics said this week.

According to GeneLogics, Scripps Florida, a 2-year-old extension of the La Jolla, Calif.-based Scripps Research Institute, is focused on biomedical research, technology development, and drug design.

Its proteomics program focuses on developing and applying advanced technologies in mass spectrometry-based proteomics to answer questions on how proteins are modified by cells in certain diseases, GenoLogics said.

Nick Tsinoremas, senior director and head of informatics at Scripps Florida, said the center decided to work with GeneLogics because it wanted "a system that can cross over with other discipline areas, such as genotyping, microarray and gene expression."

Financial details were not discussed.

Ciphergen and Sanofi-Aventis Extend Alliance to Include Oncology Biomarker ID, Validation

Ciphergen this week said it will discover, validate, and identify biomarkers for a pre-clinical oncology drug efficacy study for Sanofi-Aventis.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is an extension of an earlier deal between the two companies, Ciphergen will analyze samples at one of its Biomarker Discovery Center laboratories using its suite of proteomic products, including PatternTrack Process and the ProteinChip System.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lumera and MUSC Sign Protein Array Development Pact

Lumera and the Medical University of South Carolina have signed a co-development agreement, Lumera said this week.

Under the deal, MUSC researchers will work with Lumera to co-develop a new protein array based on Lumera's NanoCapture HPT technology.

In addition, MUSC has committed to buying Lumera's ProteomicProcessor biosensor instrument.

Lumera retains the commercial rights to all jointly developed intellectual property, Lumera said.

No further details were provided.

Luminex Posts 27-Percent Jump in Q4 Revenue; Greater R&D Spending Contributes to Widened Loss

Luminex last week said that fourth-quarter revenue increased 27 percent atop a surge in R&D spending and widened net loss.

Total receipts for the three months ended Dec. 31 increased to $11.6 million from $9.1 million year over year. Luminex said these receipts comprised $6.1 million in sales of its Luminex Systems; $2.3 million in consumables sales; $1.5 million in royalties; and $1.7 million in "other" revenue.

CEO Patrick Balthrop said the company is "very pleased with the momentum in our business and our prospects for 2006." He said the firm has more than 3,400 Luminex Systems in the marketplace, "providing us with the opportunity to leverage this asset and we anticipate realizing higher consumables per placed system.

"We will continue to work closely with our strategic partners to enhance end-user acceptance of our xMAP technology and we remain committed to making the appropriate R&D investments to keep pace with market demand," Balthrop added.

R&D spending in the quarter surged to $1.6 million from $908,000 year over year.

Luminex said that net loss during the fourth quarter increased to $1.3 million, or $.04 per share, from $1.2 million, or $.04 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Luminex said it had around $25.2 million in cash and equivalents and $11 million in short-term investments as of Dec. 31.

Fisher's Q4 Revenue Grows 7.8 Percent; Firm Questions Future of Lab Workstations Unit

Fisher Scientific this week said fourth-quarter sales increased 7.8 percent to $1.42 billion from $1.32 billion year over year. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, Fisher's fourth-quarter revenue growth would have been 9.3 percent, with organic growth accounting for 7.4 percent of that number.

Revenue for the firm's scientific products and services segment grew 9.3 percent year over year to $1.1 billion. Excluding the effect of foreign exchange, revenue for the segment would have been 11.2 percent, with 8.9 percent organic growth.

Fisher said sales for its healthcare products and services group were up 4.5 percent to $324 million year over year, while sales for its laboratory-workstations segment grew 1.4 percent to $50.5 million.

The firm said that market conditions for the lab workstations business remain "challenging," and it is evaluating whether or not that segment fits with the strategic direction of the firm. In fact, Fisher's 2006 outlook specifically excludes expected results from that segment.

For fiscal 2006, Fisher is predicting revenue growth, excluding the impact of currency translation, of 8 percent to 10 percent, with organic growth of 6 percent to 8 percent. The firm expects its earnings per share to be in the range of $.88 to $.90 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2006 and $4.05 to $4.20 per diluted share for full-year 2006.

Though Fisher does not break out its R&D spending, it said that it expects to spend more on R&D and sales and marketing initiatives, primarily in the biosciences and healthcare businesses, during the first quarter of 2006.

The firm's net income more than doubled to $117.2 million, or $.95 per basic share, compared with $51 million, or $.43 per basic share, for the fourth quarter last year.

Fisher had around $407.2 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31.

French Alzheimer Group Awards $124K for Protein Kinase, SELDI Studies

The Paris-based Association Internationale pour la Recherche sur la Maladie d'Alzheimer has awarded research grants to two French scientific teams studying Alzheimer's disease, the organization announced this week.

Jacques Hugon and Guylène Page of the Poitiers Medical School will receive €80,000 ($95,600) over two years. The team will be studying the role of the protein kinase PKR in the pathogenesis of the disease.

Sylvain Lehmann of the Montpellier Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique was awarded a one year grant of €24,000 ($28,700). This team will use SELDI-based proteomics technology to reveal new bloodmarkers, said AIRMA.

Erasmus and Windber to Co-develop Data Warehousing Tool

Erasmus University Medical Center and the Windber Research Institute will develop a translational medicine data warehousing product for clinical, imaging, and proteomic and genomic data, WRI announced this week.

The combined warehouse will run on Oracle and InforSense technologies, WRI said in a statement.

The nonprofit WRI, based in Pennsylvania, has a databank housing more than 19,000 breast disease samples as part of an existing relationship with Walter Reed's clinical breast care program.

Erasmus, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, uses Affymetrix microarrays in many disease research areas, including pediatric and geriatric studies.

Nanogen Closes $7.7M Acquisition of Spectral Diagnostics' Cardiac Test Business

Nanogen this week said it has closed its acquisition of Spectral Diagnostics' rapid cardiac immunoassay test business, originally announced in December.

Total cost for the deal was CDN$9 million ($7.7 million), comprising CDN$5.65 million in cash and CDN$3.35 million in Nanogen common shares, Nanogen said.

Nanogen will now assume sales, marketing, and manufacturing activities for the Cardiac Status, Decision Point, and i-Lynx reader product lines.

Bush's Fiscal '07 Budget Includes $68M for Researching Genetic Basis of Disease

The National Institutes of Health is allotted to receive $28.4 billion in 2007 for biomedical research, with programs aiming to study the genetic basis of disease, biodefense, and pandemic influenza research, according to President Bush's proposed budget, unveiled this week.

As part of the president's proposed budget, which must be approved by Congress, the $28.4 billion will be earmarked for the NIH's Roadmap for Medical Research, including $68 million "to accelerate discovery of the major genetic factors for diseases that have a substantial public health impact," according to a US Health and Human Services document.

Additionally, the new initiative will "accelerate the development of technology, which will help make clear the connection between genes and the environment on human health," the HHS document said.

Also included in the budget is a request for nearly $160 million to support activities related to the advanced development of biodefense countermeasures, and $35 million for pandemic influenza clinical trials and studies.

The Scan

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.

Tibetan Study Finds Adaptive Variant Influencing Skin Pigmentation

With a combination of phenotyping and genetic data, researchers document at PNAS a Tibetan-enriched enhancer variant influencing melanin synthesis and ultraviolet light response.

Domestication Linked to Nervous System Genes in Inbred Mouse Strains

Researchers highlighted more than 300 positively selected genes in domesticated mice, including genes linked to nervous system function or behavior in Genome Biology.

ALS Genetic Testing May Be Informative Across Age Ranges, Study Finds

Researchers in the journal Brain identified clinically actionable variants in a significant subset of older ALS patients, prompting them to point to the potential benefits of broader test use.