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Vermillion, Gentel Biosciences, Agnitio Science and Technology, Promega, Leica Microsystems, PSI, Axela, Johns Hopkins University, Geneva Bioinformatics, AnaSpec, Biocore, Sigma-Aldrich

Vermillion Slices Losses, But Still No Revs in Q2
Vermillion shrunk its net loss for the second quarter by 34.6 percent to $4.5 million from $6.8 million a year ago, the company reported this week.
For the three months ended June 30, the company posted no revenues, unchanged from a year ago. Operating expenses decreased to $3.4 million from $5.9 million during the year-ago period, primarily due to company restructuring and reduced general and administrative costs, which shrank to $1.7 million from $3.3 million a year ago, Vermillion said in a statement.
The company spent $1.3 million on research and development during the quarter, compared to $2.2 million, and said it had $5.3 million in cash and cash equivalents as of June 30.
During the quarter, Vermillion submitted a 510(k) application with the US Food and Drug Administration for pre-market approval of its OVA1 ovarian tumor triage diagnostic [See PM 06/26/08]. In late May it signed on the Colorado Prevention Center to help design a clinical study for its VASCLIR test for peripheral arterial disease to support FDA clearance.

Gentel Licenses Micoarray Slide Technology
Gentel Biosciences is exclusively licensing technology from Agnitio Science and Techology in Taiwan for the manufacture of highly reproducible nitrocellulose protein microarray slides, Gentel said this week.
The company will incorporate the technology in its manufacturing process for standard microarray slides as well as for its recently developed 96-well microarray platform, APiX 96.
The technology covers the use of ultrasonic coating to produce nitrocellulose films. In a statement, Bryce Nelson, Gentel’s vice president of research and development, said the coating produces nitrocellulose films with a consistency that cannot be attained by traditional coating processes. The technology is also very flexible and can be used to make optically clear or porous white nitrocellulose film.
“The technology is highly scalable and will enable us to manufacture the number and type of protein micorarray slides required for protein biomarker discovery, validation, and diagnostics, said Randall Durnell, Gentel’s vice president of commercial operations.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Promega, Leica Developing Fluorescent Ligands
Promega will develop fluorescent ligands for its HaloTag fusion proteins for use with Leica Microsystems technology under an agreement announced this week.
The fluorescent proteins developed by Promega will be visualized with Leica’s TCS stimulated emission depletion superresolution microscope, which allows for the investigation of structural details below the 100 nm range. Commonly used fluorescent proteins, such as GFP, are not optimal for use with STED technology because they are “prone to photobleaching and lack appropriate spectral properties,” the companies said in a joint statement.
The two firms have been working together since 2006 to develop new ways to label proteins within cells using Promega’s HaloTag technology.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PSI Seeking Comments on Sequence Database Format
“PEFF: A Common Sequence Database Format in Proteomics” is available for public comment, the Proteomic Standards Initiative of the Human Proteome Organization said this week.
PEFF is an effort by PSI to develop a unified format for protein and nucleotide sequence databases to be used by sequence search engines, spectra library tools, sequence alignment software, and other associated tools, according to the PSI website.
Public comments can be made here. A project description page is available here.
A poster on the PEFF format will be presented at the HUPO conference next week. The format will be discussed during the PSI workshop at the conference on Aug. 17.

Axela, Johns Hopkins Collaborate on Clinical Trial for Troponin Complexes
Protein-detection company Axela said this week it and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have reached an agreement to use Axela’s dotLab technology in a clinical trial to evaluate circulating cardiac Troponin complexes directly from patient samples.
The trial will look at the prognostic value of Troponin complexes “as well as post-translational modifications to cardiac Troponin in patients with acute myocardial infarction,” the company said in a statement.
Jenny Van Eyk, director of the Johns Hopkins NHLBI Proteomics Center, will head the research.
Troponin, a complex of three proteins, cTnI, cTnC, and cTnT, is integral to the contraction of cardiac muscle and is released into the blood upon cardiac muscle death necrosis and cell death. The dotLab assay can directly detect circulating cTnI bound to cTnC and CTnT in the serum of patients with acute myocardial infarction.
According to the American Heart Association, acute myocardial infarction affects 8 million Americans each year.
“The assay being used in the project is also able to probe the integrity of CtnI and determine if the protein is degraded by looking for the presence of specific epitopes,” Axela said.
As part of the deal, Axela has the option to negotiate exclusive rights to intellectual property resulting from the trial. No other terms of the agreement were released.

GeneBio’s PhenyxServer Licensed to Sloan-Kettering
Geneva Bioinformatics has licensed its PhenyxServer protein identification and characterization software to the Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City.
The software will be used by Paul Tempst, a member of one of five teams that were awarded $35.5 million in 2006 by the National Cancer Institute to evaluate and test proteomic technologies applicable for cancer research [See PM 09/28/06]. 
In a statement, Tempst said he and his team “are excited to see how Phenyx matches up with other search engines in the lab and our various projects.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

AnaSpec, Biocore Ink Distribution Deal for Oz
AnaSpec said this week it has inked a non-exclusive agreement with Biocore for the distribution of Anaspec’s catalog and custom products throughout Australia.
Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Based in Sydney, Australia, Biocore distributes life science research products in Australia and New Zealand.

Sigma-Aldrich Board Approves Dividend
Sigma-Aldrich’s board this week declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.13 per share, payable on Sept. 15 to shareholders of record on Sept. 2.

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.