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Vermillion, Tyrian Diagnostics, ABI, Invitrogen, Life Technologies, Bio-Rad, AnaSpec, Sunshine Bio Investments World

Vermillion Posts Revenues in Q3
Vermillion last week said receipts rose to $71,000 for its third quarter, compared to no revenues during the year ago period.
For the three months ended Sept. 30, the company posted $5,000 in product receipts and $66,000 in service-related revenues. Since the company, formerly called Ciphergen Biosystems, reinvented itself as a diagnostics-development shop following the sale of its SELDI platform to Bio-Rad Laboratories in 2006, it has struggled to generate any sales.
Late last year, however, a test for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, co-developed with Ohio State University, was launched providing a revenue source. The company also has a 510(k) application pending before the US Food and Drug Administration for its ovarian tumor triage test.
And last month, Vermillion said its agreement with Quest Diagnostics covering the development of the OVA1 ovarian cancer test and Vasclir test for peripheral artery disease had been renewed through next September.
During the third quarter, losses contracted 7.3 percent  to $4.7 million from $5.1 million a year ago, the company said last week. Research and development spending fell 48 percent to $1.1 million from $2.2 million a year ago.
As of Sept. 30, Vermillion had $1.9 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Proteome Systems No More, Name Changes to Tyrian Diagnostics
Following shareholder approval last week, Proteome Systems has changed its name to Tyrian Diagnostics in order to break from the past and clarify its business focus.
In a conference call, company CEO Jenny Harry said that when Proteome Systems was founded in 1999, it was a pure proteomics technology-development firm, but “today Proteome Systems is not the same proteomic technology company from years past. Therefore, the name is not an accurate representation of the company’s expertise in biomarker R&D and diagnostic product-development,” she said.
During the summer, the company announced it was shifting away from therapeutics development to being a pure diagnostics company [See PM 09/04/08].
The company also has collaborations with Becton Dickinson and Bayer CropScience, which “have no linkage to the company’s technology origins,” Harry said, resulting in confusion among potential institutional investors and corporate partners about “the relationship around proteomics and our current technology profile and diagnostic platform.”
The new ticker symbol for the company’s stock, which trades on the Australian Stock Exchange, is “TDX.”
The company is currently developing point-of-care diagnostics for respiratory and infectious diseases based on new biomarkers it discovers as well as existing biomarkers, Harry said. It also is preparing two tests for commercial launch: its WheatRite test, which measures the level of alpha amylase in wheat to determine the extent of rain damage, and its TB DiagnostIQ for the point-of-care detection of active tuberculosis infection.
Longer term, Tyrian is in the midst of a three-pronged growth strategy focused on licensing content for use with the company’s diagnostic; building an “internal respiratory and infections disease product franchise”; and seeking partnership opportunities for the company’s diagnostic platform with an emphasis on agricultural, veterinary, and health indications, Harry said.

ABI, Invitrogen Announce Preliminary Merger Consideration Results
Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen this week announced preliminary results of elections by ABI shareholders in respect to their preferences to the form of merger consideration to be received in the pending acquisition of ABI by Invitrogen.
The deadline for making merger consideration was the end of business day on Nov. 19. As of 172,504,949 shares of ABI stock outstanding as of that date 144,161,857 shares, or about 84 percent of outstanding shares, elected to receive cash; 4,465,325 shares, 2 percent of outstanding shares, chose to receive Invitrogen stock; 12,300,710 shares, 7 percent of outstanding shares, elected mixed consideration of a combination of cash and Invitrogen stock; and 11,577,057, about 7 percent of outstanding shares, did not make a valid election and will be deemed to have chosen a mixed consideration of cash and Invitrogen stock.
The elections with respect to 15,103,384 of the foregoing shares electing to receive cash; 2,400 of the foregoing shares electing to receive stock; and 1,401,640 of the foregoing shares choosing a mixed consideration of cash and Invitrogen stock were made pursuant to the notice of guaranteed delivery procedure, which requires the delivery of ABI shares to American Stock Transfer & Trust, the exchange agent for the merger, by 5 p.m. on Nov. 24.
If the required share certificates or book-entry transfer of shares is not received by then, the ABI shares subject to such election will be treat as shares that have made a mixed election.
Elections to receive all-cash or all-stock consideration made by ABI shareholders will be subject to pro-ration. Pro-ration will also be required if the available cash consideration or the available Invitrogen stock consideration is oversubscribed.
The $6.7 billion merger is expected to close this week.

Life Technologies, Bio-Rad Added to S&P Indexes
Standard & Poor’s this week said that Life Technologies, the name of the combined Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems, will replace Applied Biosystems in the S&P 500 Index.
S&P also said that Bio-Rad Laboratories will replace Invitrogen in the S&P Mid-Cap 400. Both of the changes will take place after the close of the market on Friday.

AnaSpec Has New GMP Facility for Peptide Manufacturing, Inks Distribution Deal in China
AnaSpec announced last week it has created a 5,000-square-foot facility dedicated to GMP manufacture of peptides.
The space is located next to AnaSpec’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters.
AnaSpec offers GMP peptides in milligram to kilogram quantities. The service is optimized for bulk API manufacturing and offers greater-than-98 percent purity peptides for QC product release testing, stability studies, and full documentation for drug master files, the company said in a statement.
Separately, the company said it and Shanghai Universal Biotech have entered into a non-exclusive agreement to distribute AnaSpec’s catalog and custom products in China.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Biotech Market Gets Some Sunshine
Sunshine Bio Investments World said this week it has established an office in Miami to better capitalize on the North American biotech environment.
The Canadian-based company said it has initiated venture funding for a number of biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device firms. 
In a statement, Michael Di Turi, president and CEO of the Canadian-based company, said that the small and mid-cap biotech and biodefense sectors are not closely followed by investment banks in North America and “many analysts are not adequately qualified to fairly and thoroughly evaluate the potential of these companies. … We are seeking partners and alliances to develop, market, and distribute products and solutions to improve the health, safety, and security of individuals worldwide.”

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.