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Cenix, Schering, TGen, CombiMatrix, Sigma-Aldrich

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Cenix, Schering Expand RNAi Target Validation Partnership

Cenix BioScience said this week that it has signed a new agreement with German drugmaker Schering extending the companies' target validation partnership.

According to Cenix, the new deal comes after the successful completion of a pilot project, begun in late 2004, that combined the company's high-throughput RNAi technology with multiplexed, high-content phenotypic analyses to generate for Schering in vitro validation data for over 100 target candidates in multiple mammalian cell types.

Having met all the performance milestones under this arrangement, Cenix has signed the latest agreement with Schering that will involve Cenix carrying out up to six more similar projects in human cells to screen through large collections of target candidate genes previously identified by Schering.

Specific terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.


TGen Awarded $15M for Pancreatic Cancer Drug Research, Including siRNA Project

The National Cancer Institute has awarded the Translational Genomics Research Institute a five-year, $15 million grant to research pancreatic cancer treatments, including siRNA research, TGen said last week.

"Our goal is to develop one successful candidate molecule for each year of the grant that can be offered to patients in order to turn the tables on pancreatic cancer," Daniel Von Hoff, director of TGen's Translational Drug Development Division and the grant's principal investigator, said in a statement.

The funding will be applied to three related projects, TGen said. Its collaborators include the Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the institute said.

TGen's Cancer Drug Development Laboratory will use siRNA as an adjuvant therapy, and to identify additional drug targets and biomarkers. Researchers at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will test drugs to change tumor micro-environments in order to prevent growth. A project conducted at TGen aims to produce drugs that selectively kill tumor cells having genomic deletions.

Approximately 35,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and 31,800 people will die from the disease, TGen said.


CombiMatrix Reports 94-Percent Jump in Q3 Revenue, Though Losses Jump 10 Percent

CombiMatrix last week reported a 94-percent increase in third-quarter revenues atop a jump in R&D spending and widened net losses.

Total receipts for the period ended Sept. 30 increased to $1.5 million from $753,000 year over year, the Acacia unit reported. The brunt of the growth came from product sales and services, which increased to $490,000 in the third quarter 2005 from $68,000 in the prior year. Revenue from government contracts increased to $973,000 from $685,000.

R&D costs increased 34 percent to $1.5 million from $1.1 million in the year-ago period.

Net losses in the third quarter widened almost 10 percent to $3.9 million from $3.5 million, CombiMatrix said.

The unit had around $24.7 million in cash and short-term investments as of Sept. 30.


Sigma-Aldrich Posts 21-Percent Sales Growth in Q3 as Profit Surges 16 Percent

Sigma-Aldrich reported this week revenue of $412.2 million for the third quarter, a 21-percent increase over third-quarter 2004 sales of $340.6 million.

The firm said that the industrial cell culture business of JRH Biosciences, which it acquired in February, contributed 11.3 percent of the total increase for the quarter. Organic growth accounted for 9 percent of the increase, Sigma said, while currency benefits contributed .7 percent of the increase.

Sigma said net income grew 16 percent in the period to $63.9 million, or $.94 per share, from $56.3 million, or $.81 per share, reported in the third quarter last year.

The firm's R&D spending increased to $12.8 million from $10.6 million year over year.

As of Sept. 30, Sigma-Aldrich had $155.3 million in cash balances.

Sigma said it predicts sales growth of 17 percent to 20 percent for the full year 2005.

The Scan

Not Kept "Clean and Sanitary"

A Food and Drug Administration inspection uncovered problems with cross contamination at an Emergent BioSolutions facility, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Resumption Recommendation Expected

The Washington Post reports that US officials are expected to give the go-ahead to resume using Johnson & Johnson's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Canada's New Budget on Science

Science writes that Canada's new budget includes funding for the life sciences, but not as much as hoped for investigator-driven research.

Nature Papers Examine Single-Cell, Multi-Omic SARS-CoV-2 Response; Flatfish Sequences; More

In Nature this week: single-cell, multi-omics analysis provides insight into COVID-19 pathogenesis, evolution of flatfish, and more.