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Bio-Rad, BioSource, Veridex, Qiagen, Isis, CytRx


Bio-Rad Buys Bigger Stake in BioSource
After Earlier Acquisition Bid Rejected

After BioSource International rebuffed Bio-Rad's recent unsolicited $82 million acquisition offer, Bio-Rad said this week it has increased its ownership in the reagents company to 6.8 percent from 5 percent.

Illustrating what it calls its "continuing interest" in acquiring the company, Bio-Rad disclosed in an SEC filing today that it has purchased approximately $4.97 million worth of additional shares of BioSource common stock. In the filing, Bio-Rad stated that it believed "ownership of the shares could facilitate a business combination between [BioSource] and Bio-Rad."

"Our purchase of additional shares in BioSource further demonstrates our continuing interest in acquiring this company," Norman Schwartz, Bio-Rad's president, said in a statement today. "Including these recent stock purchases, the average price for the shares we have acquired to date is still well below our $8.50 per share offer."

Earlier this month, BioSource's directors unanimously rejected Bio-Rad's $82 million offer to purchase the company, stating that they believed Bio-Rad's April 6 offer of $8.50 per share was "significantly below BioSource's inherent value."

Veridex to Market Qiagen's Sample
Prep Kit With Molecular Dx Offering

Qiagen said this week that Veridex, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, will market a "custom version" of Qiagen's RNeasy nucleic acid purification kit as part of its molecular diagnostics offering.

Qiagen said that Veridex will sell the RNeasy technology under its GeneSearch trademark for use in purifiying RNA from lymph node specimens excised for oncology testing and monitoring during surgery.

Isis Division Receives $1.5 Million
in Homeland Security Contracts

Isis Pharmaceuticals announced this week that its Ibis division has been granted two new contracts worth a total of $1.5 million from the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.

According to Isis, the contracts will fund Ibis' development of a new microbial forensics application of the company's TIGER (Triangulation Identification for Genetic Evaluation of Risks) biosensor system.

Microbial forensics involves comparing the genetic fingerprint of an infectious agent to that of a potential source, said Isis.

The contracts will also be used to add new genetic information on infectious agents to the Microbial Rosetta Stone database, a component of the TIGER system.

CytRx Completes Enrollment in Phase I Trial of HIV Vaccine

CytRx said this week that it has completed enrollment in a phase I trial of an investigative DNA-based vaccine for HIV.

According to the company, the trial is designed to determine the safety and tolerability of different dosages and routes of administration of the DNA vaccine, and a fixed dosage and route of administration of an HIV protein boost.

"We reached this significant recruitment milestone six months ahead of our internal timetable" Steve Kriegsman, president and CEO of CytRx, said in a statement. "We had previously announced that dosing would be completed by the end of 2005. Based on clinical investigators' efforts at UMMS to quickly complete enrollment, we now expect dosing to be completed by the end of July 2005, six months ahead of schedule."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.