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NFCR, Vanderbilt, Provista, CombiMatrix, AMEX, Matritech, Sigma-Aldrich, Miraculins, Ibex, Epitome

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NFCR, Vanderbilt Create ProteomicsCenter for Cancer Research
 
The National Foundation for Cancer Research and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have established the NFCR Center for Proteomics and Drug Actions, funded by a $1 million, five-year grant from NFCR, the two parties announced this week.
 
The center will be led by Larry Marnett and co-directed by Dan Liebler and Richard Caprioli. The center will work to develop new technology to study how drugs interact with protein targets. The new center joins a network of seven other centers, each exploring different science disciplines to find therapies for cancer.
 

 
Provista Takes Over Management of Biomarker Technologies, Two Other Dx Firms
 
Provista Life Sciences announced last week it is consolidating and overseeing management and operations of three companies including protein diagnostic firm Biomarker Technologies. The other two companies are GW Medical Technologies and RCP Diagnostics.
 
Provista is an operating management company “providing oversight management and business development support to emerging biotechnology companies in the life sciences diagnostic market space,” a spokeswoman said in an e-mail.
 
Provista has acquire the exclusive global licensing rights to Biomarker Technologies’ blood diagnostic for breast cancer, GW’s blood diagnostic for Alzheimer’s disease and RCP Diagnostics’ blood and tissue diagnostic for ovarian, uterine, cervical, and breast cancer.
 
Under the arrangement, the three companies will share PLS’ management team, grant writing, fundraising and R&D resources. The companies will independently conduct their own scientific research.
 

 
CombiMatrix Group to Receive $10M in Registered Direct Offering
 
Acacia Research announced late last week it has received commitments to purchase about $10 million of Acacia Research-CombiMatrix common stock and warrants in a registered direct offering.
 
The terms of the transaction call for Acacia to sell 9.8 million units for $1.02 each to a select group of investors. Each unit consists of one share of Acacia Research-CombiMatrix stock and a five-year warrant for the purchase of 1.2 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $.87 per share, the company said in a statement. Oppenheimer & Co. was the exclusive placement agent for the deal.
 

 
AMEX OKs Matritech’s Compliance Plan
 
The American Stock Exchange has accepted Matritech’s plan to regain compliance with the exchange’s listing requirements, the company said this week.
 
Matritech did not disclose details of its plan, but said in a statement that the target completion date to regain compliance is March 21, 2008.
 
The exchange had notified Matritech in September that the company was not in compliance with listing requirements and was in danger of being delisted. The company submitted its plan for compliance on Oct. 23, and last week the exchange told Matritech it had accepted it.
 

 
Sigma-Aldrich Exercises $150M Accordion Feature on Credit Facility
 
Sigma-Aldrich announced this week it has exercised a $150 million accordion feature on its $150 million revolving credit facility established in February 2005. The revised $300 million revolving credit facility will now mature on Dec. 11, 2011. In a statement, Sigma-Aldrich said the facility will provide “back-up liquidity for the commercial paper program and be used for general corporate purposes.”
 
Well Fargo Bank, National Association and Wachovia Bank were co-arrangers for the eight-bank syndicate participating in the facility. Wells Fargo and National Associates were the administrative agents.
 

 
Miraculins Will Not Pursue Ibex
 
Miraculins said this week it will not formalize an offer to acquire Ibex Technologies. Miraculins had announced last month its intention to make a public offer to acquire Ibex. Ibex had already spurned a prior Miraculins offer [See PM 11/22/06].
 
In Miraculins’ proposed acquisition, Ibex shareholders would have received one share of Miraculins stock for every five shares of Ibex stock they owned-. At a value of CA $.182 [$.158] for each Ibex share, the offer was a 65 percent premium over Ibex’s average closing share price for the 50 days prior to Miraculin’s announcement of its intention.
 
Ibex rejected the offer, however, saying Miraculins undervalued the company.
 
In a statement this week, Jim Charlton, president of Miraculins said it was disappointed with the response received from Ibex’s board. “We believe that a 65 percent premium on Ibex shares was a fair and reasonable offer,” he said.
 

 
NSF Awards Epitome $500K Grant
 
Epitome Biosystems said this week it has received a $500,000 Phase llB Small Business Innovation Research grant to further develop its protein phosphorylation-profiling antibody array. The grant is from the National Science Foundation.
 
The array incorporates Epitome’s proprietary EpiTag technology enabling qualitative and quantitative measurements of protein phosphorylation, the company said in a statement. Epitome had previously received a Phase ll grant for $500,000 to develop products that profile cell signaling pathways including mitogen-activated protein kinase.

The Scan

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.

Not Yet a Permanent One

NPR says the lack of a permanent Food and Drug Administration commissioner has "flummoxed" public health officials.

Unfair Targeting

Technology Review writes that a new report says the US has been unfairly targeting Chinese and Chinese-American individuals in economic espionage cases.

Limited Rapid Testing

The New York Times wonders why rapid tests for COVID-19 are not widely available in the US.