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Zyomyx, Biacore International, Applied Biosystems, Fujirebio, Carna Biosciences


Despite Massive Layoffs, Zyomyx Says It Will Not Close On Oct. 19

The chief technology officer of protein chip company Zyomyx denied a posting on the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board’s website stating that the company will close its doors on Oct. 19, leaving 44 employees out of work.

CTO Peter Wagner said that the company was required to submit paperwork to the ACWIB because of the magnitude of layoffs that the company had undergone, but that paperwork should not be interpreted as a closure of the company.

“The company at this point is not planning to close down,” Wagner said.

Dorothy Chen, the director at the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board, said that her organization had received a letter from Hayward, Calif.-based Zyomyx informing them about its closure.

By state law, all California companies with more than 50 employees are required to send a letter to the California Employment Development Department and to the Department of Labor-funded ACWIB a month before they close so that the state agencies can prepare for laid-off workers hitting the unemployment office, said Chen.

Zyomyx announced in February that it had raised $10 million in venture capital from investors including CSFB Private Equity, Alloy Ventures, Lilly BioVentures, Hambrecht & Quist Capital Management, Mediphase, and Bio One Capital.

“Situtations can change from month to month,” said a partner from Mediphase Venture Partners, an equity investor in Zymoyx. The partner was unaware of the closure and asked not to give his name. “They have gone through a couple of layoffs as they’ve tried to rationalize their business and reduce their cost structure, and as far as I know they’re still working on it.”

Wagner said Zyomyx plans on issuing a release two to three weeks from now to inform the public about what the company’s plans are.

Biacore to Lay Off Quarter of Workforce as Part of Cost Cutting Plan

Biacore International plans to lay off almost a quarter of its workforce, or 80 of its 345 employees, as part of a strategic business review, the Uppsala, Sweden-based company said this week.

“The aggressive cost cutting plans that we have outlined are necessary to return Biacore to profitability in 2005 and to enable us to capture the growth opportunities that clearly exist for our current range of instruments,” said Erik Wallden, Biacore’s new president and CEO, in a company statement.

In particular, Biacore plans to cut R&D costs by SEK 55 million ($7.5 million) a year, mostly through laying off 30 of its 95 employees in this area and by cutting ties with some external consultants. In addition, the company will take an SEK 44 million ($6 million) write-down of the value of its array technology in the third quarter of 2004.

Biacore also plans to close its headquarters facility in Neuchatel, Switzerland, by mid-2005 in an attempt to improve its operating efficiency.

The company will charge SEK 36 million ($4.9 million) in one-time costs related to the layoffs to its fourth quarter earnings this year. Overall, it hopes to save approximately SEK 90 million ($12.2 million) a year by its cost-cutting measures.

As demanded by Swedish labor laws, Biacore will make its decisions final after negotiating with trade unions.

ABI Stops Selling HTS Biosystems’ SPR Array Platform

Applied Biosystems will no longer develop, service, or distribute HTS Biosystems’ surface plasmon resonance array platform, HTS said on Tuesday.

From now on, the platform, sold as the 8500 Affinity Chip Analyzer by ABI, will be marketed by HTS Biosystems as the Flexchip Kinetic Analysis System.

As a result of its ongoing business review, ABI decided to stop selling the instrument.

“Although we have had a successful relationship with Applied Biosystems, we understand their future market emphasis, and agree that the Flexchip system’s success is best served through specific market focus by HTS,” said Gregory Freitag, HTS’ CEO, in a statement.

The two companies first agreed to bring the instrument to market in 2002.

Fujirebio, Carna Biosciences to Co-Develop Kinase Assay-Related Products

Tokyo-based Fujirebio announced on Wednesday that it has signed an agreement to develop kinase assays jointly with Carna Biosciences, based in Kobe, Japan.

Under terms of the agreement, the two companies will develop monoclonal antibodies, reagents for kinase measurement and protein chips.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Scan

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Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

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Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.