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Sirna Therapeutics, Galapagos, Asinex, Invitrogen, Caltag Laboratories, Qiagenn, Procognia

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Sirna Restructuring Detailed in SEC Filing;
Company Lays Off Eleven

Sirna Therapeutics said this week in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that its previously announced layoffs included the termination of 11 employees.

According to the company, the layoffs resulted in an annualized salary and benefits savings of $2.1 million. Severance and other costs related to the reduction in force will be $350,000, Sirna noted in the filing.

"As a result of the restructuring and the reduction in force, the company projects that its net cash expenditure in 2005 will be approximately $23.7 million, expects to reduce budgeted expenditure in 2005 by approximately $5.5 million (net of severance costs), and anticipates budgeted expense reductions in future years, in each case subject to significant variation resulting from, among other things, product development, and access to capital markets," Sirna added in the SEC filing.


Galapagos Inks Drug Discovery Deal with Asinex

Galapagos said last week that it has formed a drug discovery collaboration in the area of bone and joint diseases with Asinex.

According to the company, the first phase of the collaboration will see Galapagos' biologists working with Asinex's medicinal chemists to use Asinex's computational chemistry expertise and chemical compound libraries to generate new leads for Galapagos' proprietary targets.

The second phase will consist of the design and optimization of the lead structures, with the goal of developing a patentable candidate drug series for Galapagos.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.


Invitrogen to Acquire Immunological
Reagent Maker Caltag for $20 Million

Invitrogen said this week it will acquire Caltag Laboratories, a manufacturer of immunological reagents, for $20 million in cash.

Caltag, based in Burlingame, Calif., makes antibodies and reagents for flow cytometry applications, including tandem dyes for multi-color flow cytometry. In addition to research tools, the company has developed technologies for diagnostics. Fifteen of its products are FDA-approved class II in vitro diagnostic devices. The company's German subsidiary offers more than 200 antibodies approved for diagnostic sales in the European Union.

Invitrogen, which acquired antibody maker Zymed Laboratories earlier this year, believes Caltag will complement its proteomics technologies. "Caltag's strength in supporting flow cytometry work is a natural fit for this goal through its synergies with Invitrogen's upstream proteomics technologies," said Cheri Walker, Invitrogen's vice president of proteomics, in a company statement.

Caltag's US staff of about 50 will remain in the San Francisco area as part of Invitrogen's Antibody Center of Excellence. The acquisition is scheduled to close by the end of June, and Caltag is expected to have approximately $10 million in sales in the following year.


Qiagen to Include Procognia's 'On Chip' Tech
In its QProteome Products

Qiagen said this week that it has obtained an exclusive license from Procognia to market and sell its "on-chip" protein glycoanalysis technology with Qiagen's QProteome product line.

Procognia's "on-chip" products comprise lectin chips and analytical software.

Qiagen said it believes that this technology "addresses a previously unmet need for the preparation and understanding of proteins" in the field of glycomics.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.