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Atugen, Genesis, ArborGen, Takara Bio, Chinese CDC, Affymetrix, Invitrogen


Atugen Signs Deals for RNAi Drug Manufacture, Formulation

SR Pharma said last week that its Atugen subsidiary has signed agreements for the manufacture and formulation of its lead RNAi-based cancer drug, Atu027, with Genzyme Pharmaceuticals, BioSpring, and OctoPlus Development.

According to SR Pharma, Genzyme has already completed the GMP production of two of the main components of the delivery system for Atu027, namely the cationic lipid AtuFECT and the fusiogenic lipid.

German oligo manufacturer BioSpring, meanwhile, is manufacturing the proprietary siRNA molecules that are the main active ingredients of the drug.

Netherlands-based OctoPlus will scale-up the GMP formulation of the component ingredients within Atu027, SR Pharma added.

The three companies, SR Pharma said, will provide product for upcoming pharmacokinetic and toxicology studies, as well as clinical studies, which are slated to begin in 2007.

Genesis Receives $5.5M Payment Under ArborGen Settlement

Genesis Research and Development said last week that it has received $5.5 million from ArborGen pursuant to a litigation settlement agreement between the companies.

Genesis noted that it could receive an additional $1.5 million if certain ownership restructuring events occur in ArborGen prior to March 2007.

"The substantial increase in cash reserves will allow Genesis to develop its therapeutics business with additional vigor and to pursue new opportunities for development of the business," Stephen Hall, Genesis CEO, said in a statement.

ArborGen is a joint venture focused on creating genetic improvements in trees. According to Genesis, it was a member of the venture but in early 2005 was advised that members of ArborGen had taken legal steps to expel it from the project.

ArborGen and Genesis ultimately agreed to a settlement of the dispute under which Genesis will transfer to ArborGen all rights and ownership it has to certain ag-bio technology and patents. In exchange, Genesis was paid $5.5 million.

Takara Bio, Chinese CDC to Collaborate on RNAi-Based HIV Treatment

Takara Bio has signed an agreement with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to collaborate on the development of an RNAi-based treatment for HIV, the company said this week.

Additional details were not available.

Affymetrix Licenses Patents to Invitrogen for Manufacture of Nucleic Acid Arrays

Invitrogen has obtained a non-exclusive, worldwide license to a number of Affymetrix patents related to the manufacture of nucleic acid microarrays, the companies said this week.

Under the agreement, Invitrogen will now be allowed to "manufacture and sell spotted nucleic acid microarrays in the research field," the companies said. Financial details of the license were not disclosed.

The licensing deal is the third in seven months for Affy. In April, the microarray company licensed patents to Abbott Laboratories to enable it to manufacture and sell comparative genomic hybridization microarrays, readers, and software for research and diagnostics.

Last December, Affy licensed an undisclosed number of patents to Applied Biosystems related to the manufacture, sale, and use of microarrays for gene expression analysis.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.