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Vermillion, AbD Serotec, e2v, Thermo Fisher, Proxeon, GWC, Cybeles, BD, Luminex, Affitech, Roche, Predictive Physiology & Medicine

Vermillion Shares Delisted from Nasdaq
Vermillion’s stock has been delisted from the Nasdaq, the company said this week.
The delisting took effect on Sept. 25, and is the result of Vermillion’s noncompliance with the minimum stockholders’ equity requirement for continued listing on Nasdaq’s Capital Market board. According to Nasdaq rules, a company must have a minimum of $2.5 million in stock equity. As of June 30, the company had a stockholders’ deficit of $20.5 million, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Vermillion’s shares are now traded on the Pink Sheets under ticker symbol VRML.PK. It has also been advised that a market maker is filing an application with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to quote the securities. The company expects it will be quoted in the near future on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board as a result.
Vermillion had received a warning letter from Nasdaq in February that it was not in compliance with exchange rules requiring a listed company to have at least $2.5 million in stock equity; a market cap of at least $35 million; or at least $500,000 in net income from continuing operations for the most recently complete fiscal year, or two of the three most recently completed fiscal years.
When the company didn’t meet a March deadline to satisfy the listing requirements, Nasdaq again threatened Vermillion with delisting [See PM 04/03/08], and in May, company officials met with a Nasdaq panel to present a plan for compliance and request continued listing pending completion of its compliance plan.
In June, Nasdaq gave Vermillion a final deadline of Sept. 22.

AbD Serotec Developing Protein-Quantification System with e2v Biosensors
MorphoSys subsidiary AbD Serotec announced this week it is collaborating with e2v Biosensors to develop a new protein-quantification system for point-of-care and near-patient testing.
The agreement builds on an initial project that the companies began in 2006 to use AbD’s HuCAL GOLD recombinant antibody technology with e2v’s Visucare single-antibody immunoassay technology.
AbD said it has since generated a series of recombinant antibodies that e2v could use to perform feasibility studies for the Visucare technology.
The e2v technology is based on surface enhanced resonance Raman spectroscopy, or SERRS, an electromagnetic surface-sensitive technique that can detect single molecules binding to a silver surface.
The Visucare platform comprises a HuCAL-based antibody, a reporter SERRS dye linked to peptide, and a silver surface supporting the electromagnetic field. The antibody is immobilized on a silver surface and the SERRS dye peptide is bound to the HuCAL antibody and held outside the electromagnetic field. In the presence of a protein biomarker, the SERRS dye peptide is displaced, binds to the silver surface within the electromagnetic field, and gives off a signal.
According to e2v, Visucare does not need an antibody pair to detect a biomarker, which eliminates the washing and incubation steps that are necessary with other systems and also enables the detection of biomarkers “inaccessible to other systems and at very low levels of detection.”
The companies are currently developing a cardiac point of care panel, as well as “other unique biomarker applications,” e2v Biosensors’ CEO, Paul Rodgers, said in a statement.
Rogers added that the company is seeking strategic partners to help commercialize the Visucare platform in “a broad range of point-of-care and pathology applications.”

Proxeon Integrates Nano-LC Software with Thermo Fisher’s Xcalibur
Proxeon this week said it has integrated its EASY-nLC system software with Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Xcalibur software, making Proxeon a registered Thermo Fisher Scientific Virtual Instrument Partner.
The EASY-nLC is a fully integrated, split-free nanoscale LC system. Xcalibur is a mass spectrometry data system. The integration ensures that users of EASY-nLC will be able to control the system and output chromatography data directly into the Xcalibur software for additional analysis.

GWC, Cybeles Ink Distribution Agreement
Madison, Wisc.-based GWC Technologies announced this week a distribution agreement with Cybeles Life Science covering GWC’s label-free array systems in parts of Southeast Asia.
Under the agreement, Cybeles, based in Heidelberg, Germany, will distribute GWC’s label-free detection systems in Singpore, Malaysia, and Thailand. The systems are used for proteomics analysis, drug discovery research, and diagnostics development.
Other details were not disclosed.
In a statement, GWC said it chose Cybeles based on its successful experience distributing products and providing quality service in GWC’s target markets. “Moreover Cybeles carries several lines complementary to GWC’s products, adding significant value to the relationship,” said Tim Burland, president and CEO of GWC.

BD, Luminex Developing Cancer Diagnostics
BD and Luminex this week signed an agreement to develop, market, and sell biomarker-based diagnostic tests for certain cancers.
The collaboration calls for use of Luminex’s multiplexing xMAP technology and the BD Diagnostics-TriPath platform.
BD develops technologies to screen for cervical cancer and diagnostic products for the detection of cancer. It plans to “expand its cancer diagnostic offerings to include a broad menu of new diagnostic tests or solid tumor cancers,” using xMAP, the company said in a statement.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Affitech Achieves Second Milestone in Collaboration with Roche
Affitech said this week it has successfully used its Molecule-Based Antibody Screening system to identify several human lead antibody candidates, completing the second milestone of its research and licensing collaboration with Roche to produce fully human recombinant antibodies against an unnamed oncology target.
The antibodies were subjected to additional engineering to generate final candidates that met Roche’s criteria. As a result of the milestone being achieved, Roche paid Affitech an undisclosed amount.
The two companies originally entered into the collaboration in 2007. Affitech will further evaluate the antibodies with exclusive rights to develop and commercialize resulting antibodies. Affitech will receive milestone payments from Roche if the antibodies are successfully developed into product candidates.

NIH Awards PPM $2.3M for Heart Test
Predictive Physiology & Medicine this week said that it has been awarded a $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop a high-throughput testing platform to assess a patient’s cardiovascular health.
The platform, which has been under development by Bloomington, Ind.-based PPM since 2006, can analyze thousands of molecules in a single blood sample to predict an individual’s cardiovascular health, the company said in a statement. The cardio evaluation is part of a larger assessment which can examine 500 molecules to evaluate a patient for conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as heart disease, earlier than current tests, it said.

PPM plans to begin test-market launches by the end of the year and to sell services through wellness centers, sports medicine centers, executive health programs and other medical facilities next year.

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.