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Benitec, US Genomics and Exiqon, Acacia Research and CombiMatrix, Fisher Scientific, and Agilent Technologies and Partners Healthcare System

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Benitec Says Licensing Negotiations Ongoing with Alleged Patent Infringers

Benitec said in a filing with the Australian Stock Exchange that it has begun licensing negotiations with the three companies it recently sued for patent infringement.

Earlier this month, Benitec filed a lawsuit against Nucleonics, Ambion, and GenScript, charging the three firms with infringement of a patent covering the knocking down of gene expression using DNA that transcribes double-stranded RNA, one strand of which has a sequence complementary to that of the target gene (see RNAi News, 4/02/2004).

In the regulatory filing, Benitec said that “since the launch of the proceedings, [it] has already received requests from each of these three companies to commence licensing negotiations, which are now in progress.”

Benitec also noted in the filing that it had cash on hand totaling Aus$6.85 million (roughly $5 million) as of March 31, with no loans outstanding.


US Genomics to Use Exiqon LNA technology in Reagent Kits

US Genomics has signed a deal to incorporate Exiqon’s locked nucleic acid chemistries into its reagent kits for the US Genomics Trilogy platform, the companies said this week.

The Trilogy platform was launched last month, said US Genomics, and is used to detect and quantitate individual molecules of DNA, RNA, and proteins without amplification. Reagent kits incorporating the Exiqon technology are expected to be available in the third quarter of this year.

“Incorporating the Exiqon LNA technology into our Trilogy platform will provide life science researchers with a powerful new tool to analyze and detect single molecules, particularly microRNAs,” Stephen DeFalco, chairman and CEO of US Genomics, said in a statement. “We’re excited to be working with Exiqon as part of our strategy to provide a complete solution of instruments, reagents, and software.”

“The US Genomics Trilogy platform combined with our LNA technology provides new capabilities for functional genomics researchers worldwide,” Lars Kongsbak, CEO of Exiqon, added. “Looking ahead, we anticipate working with US Genomics to bring other innovative solutions to a wide range of life science applications.”


Acacia To Sell $15 Million of Acacia/CombiMatrix Common Stock

Acacia Research said this week that it has obtained commitments to purchase $15 million of its Acacia/ CombiMatrix common stock in a registered direct offering.

Under the terms of the transaction, Acacia will sell 3 million shares of the stock at $5.00 per share to a select group of institutional investors. The closing of the offering is expected to take place on or about April 15.

CombiMatrix, said Acacia, is to receive $13.6 million of the offering’s proceeds.


Fisher Scientific Schedules First-Quarter Financials Conference Call

Fisher Scientific said this week that it has scheduled a conference call to discuss its first-quarter financial results for April 29.

In addition to the financial results and first-quarter highlights, the company said the call will include earnings guidance.

Fisher recently completed its $80 million acquisition of Dharmacon (see RNAi News, 2/13/2004, and RNAi News, 4/09/2004).


Agilent, Partners Healthcare Ink Supply Deal for Boston-based Hospitals

Agilent Technologies and Partners Healthcare System, a clinical research center, said this week that they have struck a deal to supply microarray and gene-expression products to Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Under the deal, Agilent said it will supply Harvard Medical School-Partners HealthCare Center for Genetics and Genomics with gene-expression instrumentation, including a scanner for analyzing microarrays and a bioanalyzer for evaluating sample quality.

The deal also determines pricing for Partners HealthCare’s hospitals to purchase analytical tools and instruments from Agilent’s Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis group, including liquid and gas chromatographs, mass spectrometers, microarrays, microfluidic devices and associated software, columns, reagents and supplies.

“It is important to Partners HealthCare provide our researchers with access to new technologies for conducting research,” Raju Kucherlapati, scientific director of HPCGG, said in a statement. “By having the latest technologies ... we give our scientists the tools they need to find new treatments and cures for our patients.”

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.