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Vermillion, Bio-Rad, Thermo Fisher Scientific BRIMS, Waters, Miraculins, PSI MIAPE, Gentel

Vermillion Terminates Agreement to Buy Bio-Rad’s ProteinChip Equipment, Arrays
Vermillion has terminated a manufacture and supply agreement with Bio-Rad Laboratories to purchase the latter’s ProteinChip systems and ProteinChip arrays.
The disclosure was made in the company’s second-quarter financial statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week.
Vermillion said in the filing that it informed Bio-Rad of its intention to terminate the agreement on May 1. The termination becomes effective Oct. 28.
The agreement stems from Vermillion’s sale of its SELDI business to Bio-Rad in November 2006 [See PM 08/17/06]. As part of the deal, Vermillion, then called Ciphergen Biosystems, said in last week’s filing that it agreed to buy 10 systems and 30,000 arrays in the first year, 13 systems and 30,000 arrays in the second year, and 20 systems and 30,000 arrays in the third year.
At an estimated $70,000 per system and $40 per array, the 43 systems and 90,000 arrays would have cost Vermillion a total of $6.61 million. In its filing, Vermillion said it had a total remaining first-year obligation to buy four systems and 9,936 arrays, or $677,000. It has not made any purchases toward its second-year obligations.
As of June 30, the company owed Bio-Rad in $117,000 for systems and arrays related to the agreement.

Thermo Fisher’s BRIMS, UHN Collaborate to Find Cancer Biomarkers
Thermo Fisher Scientific last week announced a collaboration between its Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry Center and the University Health Network in Toronto to use Thermo Fisher’s LTQ Orbitrap and Quantum Ultra mass spectrometers to search for biomarker proteins in the secreted fluids of cancer cell lines.
The work will be led by Eleftherios Diamandis, biochemist-in-chief at UHN. Researchers at BRIMS will also participate. According to Thermo Fisher, he is the first biochemist to search for protein cancer biomarkers in such fluids.
“Our talented team is focused on making advancements in biomarker testing by looking in the most logical place, cancer cell lines,” said Diamandis, biochemist-in-chief at University Health Network. “We expect to find important clues locked inside those proteins.
BRIMS and UHN will also maintain a “cross-validation” workflow to perform a second validation on biomarkers that are first validated in Toronto.

Waters Integrates Scaffold Software with IdentityE System
Under a collaboration announced last week, researchers acquiring proteomics data with Waters IdentityE High Definition system will soon be able to use Proteome Software’s Scaffold 2.1 visualization software for high accuracy protein identification of the data.
The new version of the software is expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Miraculins Prepares to Bring Prostate Biomarker Panel to Market
Miraculins said last week it has completed development of a prototype assay for prostate secretory protein 94 and plans to manufacture and sell PSP94-based test kits for research purposes by the end of the year.
The assay was developed on the Luminex Bio-Plex 200 Protein Array system.
PSP 94 is a cancer biomarker that has shown the ability to separate benign prostatic hyperplasia specimens from prostate cancer specimens in urine. In June Miraculins said it would internally develop the immunoassays for PSP94 and the biomarker vitronectin comprising its P2V biomarker test for prostate cancer detection. “The functioning prototype assay for PSP94 represents a major step toward the achievement of this goal,” the company said in a statement.
Miraculins is conducting development work using the Luminex system and is still evaluating it options for the research kit and the final clinical commercialization platform, it said.

PSI’s ‘MIAPE:Gel Informatics’: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
The Proteomic Standards Initiative’s “MIAPE:Gel Informatics” module is now available for public comment here.
The module is one of seven that PSI has launched or plans to launch to provide guidance to proteomics researchers on reporting their experimental workflows and data.
The group recently launched its first proteomics-directed modules for mass spectrometry, mass spec bioinformatics and gel electrophoresis [See PM 08/14/08].

Gentel Places First Protein Array Reader
Gentel Biosciences said this week that it has placed its first protein array reader system with the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research in Cape Town, South Africa.
Gentel’s APiX Colorimetric Protein Array Reader integrates colorimetric detection technology with a newly developed 96-well plate microarray format, called APiX 96. The firm’s transparent nitrocellulose-coated plastic substrate serves as the surface chemistry for the instrument.
CPGR intends to use the system to generate proof-of-concept data for a number of potential diagnostic applications in disease areas, such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, asthma/COPD, and cancer.
Madison, Wis.-based Gentel said that it is seeking early-access partners to co-develop and commercialize novel biomarker panels using the system.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.