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Qiagen and National Cancer Institute, Qiagen and Artus, Fisher Scientific, Exiqon, and Bio-Rad Laboratories

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Qiagen to Work with NCI on siRNA Development …

Qiagen said this week that it has struck a deal with the National Cancer Institute to develop a validated set of siRNAs for use by NCI researchers.

According to the company, the siRNAs will be made available to the general research community after characterization work is complete.

Additional terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.


… And Announces Acqusition of Diagnostics Firm Artus

Qiagen said this week it will acquire Artus of Germany, a maker of PCR-based diagnostic tests, for approximately $39.2 million in cash.

Artus focuses on diagnostic tests based on PCR and RT-PCR for infectious disease detection, pharmacogenomics, and veterinary diagnostics.

Qiagen said in a statement that "this acquisition is a perfect fit in its strategy to increase Qiagen's value as a partner to the molecular diagnostics industry." The company expects the acquisition will add about $15 million in net sales and $1.5 million to $2 million in net income to its 2006 earnings.

Qiagen reported $380.6 million in revenues for its 2004 fiscal year.


Fisher Scientific Considers More Acquisitions

Fisher Scientific is eyeing potential acquisitions as it continues to look for ways to grow its footprint in the life-sciences market, RNAi News' sister publication BioCommerce Week learned.

Fisher, which acquired proteomics shop Perbio in 2003 and RNAi tools provider Dharmacon one year later, is focusing on higher-growth consumables plays in the molecular biology tools field, Vice Chair Paul Meister said during a recent investor conference.

He said Fisher expects $400 million in cash flow this year, which would ensure the company is flexible for any potential acquisition targets that come its way.

Meister made his statement during the Banc of America Securities Health Conference in Las Vegas last week.


Exiqon Reports Use of Probes in microRNA Expression Research

Exiqon announced last week the publication in Science of a paper detailing the use of the company's miRcury detection probes to identify temporal and spatial expression patterns of 115 conserved vertebrate microRNAs in zebrafish embryos.

According to the company, the work was done by Ronald Plasterk at the Hubrecht Laboratory at Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology. The paper is entitled "MicroRNA Expression in Zebrafish Embryonic Development," said Exiqon.


Bio-Rad Completes $200 Million Exchange Offer for Senior Notes

Bio-Rad Laboratories has completed an exchange offer that allowed holders of $200 million worth of senior subordinated notes acquired through a private sale last year to obtain amended, publicly registered notes as of May 31, the company said this week.

According to Ron Hutton, the treasurer of the Hercules, Calif.-based life sciences firm, Bio-Rad offered the note exchange at the beginning of May to investors that had purchased the 6.125-percent notes, due 2014, in December 2004. The amended notes can be publicly traded, as opposed to the old privately issued notes, Hutton said.

 

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.