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Yale University, Gene Company, eGene, NorDiag, Affymetrix, DNAVision, Integrated Genomics, Advanced Liquid Logic, Nanolytics

Yale Researchers Use 454 Tech to Sequence Genome of Drug-Resistant Bacterium A. baumannii
Researchers at Yale University have used 454 Life Sciences’ Genome Sequencer to sequence the genome of Acinetobacter baumannii, a bacterium that is responsible for highly drug-resistant infections in hospitals.
Analysis of the genome sequence, published in the March 1 issue of Genes and Development, revealed that 17 percent of protein-coding genes in the organism originated in other microorganisms. The researchers found that 16 of the 28 so-called “alien islands” in the genome contain genes implicated in virulence, including several novel genes that may serve as effective targets for antimicrobial drug development.
A. baumannii causes infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis, and urinary tract infections in patients with compromised immune systems.
The Yale researchers studied the pathogen with a combination of 454 sequencing and functional screening utilizing transposon mutagenesis.

China's Gene Company to Market, Distribute eGene's Genetic Analyzer
Hong-Kong-based Gene Company will market and distribute eGene’s HAD-GT12 system in China for three years, eGene said last week.
EGene said its genetic analysis tool uses capillary electrophoresis, microfluidics, liquid handling, and automation to “detect, quantify, identify and characterize DNA and RNA.”
Gene Company sells through a Foreign Invested Commercial Enterprise company to research institutes, hospitals and industrial plants, and to genomics and proteomics research centers.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

NorDiag to Buy DNA Sample Prep Firm Genpoint for $13.3M
Norwegian cancer diagnostics company NorDiag has signed a deal to buy DNA sample prep company Genpoint, also based in Norway, in a stock deal worth NOK 83.3 million ($13.3 million), NorDiag said last week.
NorDiag said the acquisition will expand its cancer and infectious diagnostics line and will help speed its colorectal cancer test to the market.
Under the agreement, NorDiag will exchange as much as 9.8 million of its own shares to acquire 90.1 percent of Genpoint's outstanding shares. Proceeds from the placement will fund new product roll-out and company growth, NorDiag said.
The company also plans to conduct a rights issue of shares for as much as NOK 10 million after the deal closes.
NorDiag's board will meet to approve the transaction on March 16. It also plans to name Jan Olav Steensland, J. Frode Vaksvik, and Mattias Uhlen as new board members.
Last year, Genpoint worked with NorDiag to help automate and improve NorDiag's DNA isolation capability.

US Patent Office Names Illumina Senior Party in IP Interference Case With Affy
The US Patent and Trademark Office has determined that a patent interference exists between an Illumina patent application and Affymetrix’s molecular inversion probe genotyping technology, and has named Illumina the senior party in the case, Illumina said last week.
The decision pertains to a lawsuit filed by Affymetrix against Illumina in July 2004 that claims Illumina infringes six patented DNA microarray and related technologies.
Illumina said the USPTO named it the senior party in a dispute involving US Patent No. 6,858,412, which covers the molecular inversion probe technology that Affymetrix acquired through its purchase of ParAllele BioScience in 2005, because its “original patent filing predates that of the ‘412 patent.” 
Designation of Illumina as the senior party places the burden of proof on the '412 patent inventors to establish an earlier date of invention, the company said.
Illumina claimed that it is no longer using the technology, which was invented by Illumina scientists “during the course of early research and development at the company.”
In its suit, Affy is demanding lost profits, royalties, damages for willful infringement, and a permanent injunction prohibiting Illumina from using the technology in the future.

DNAVision Expands PGx Services by Acquiring Bioreg
DNAVision said last week that it has purchased Bioreg, a pharmacogenetics contract lab.
Brussels, Belgium-based DNAVision offers SNP genotyping and sequencing services to European customers. It said the acquisition brings together two labs that are experienced with “genotyping volunteers and patients in clinical trials.”
Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Integrated Genomics Sues Two Former Employees for Helping DOE’s JGI Develop Competing Technology
Integrated Genomics has sued two former employees for allegedly breaching their contracts by helping their new employer develop a technology that would complete with IG’s ERGO genomic-analysis software, IG said last week.
The suit, filed in a US District Court in Chicago, claims that former employees Nikos Kyrpides and Natala Ivanova broke the non-competition and non-solicitation stipulations in their contracts with IG after leaving the company.
Kyrpides, who was director of bioinformatics at IG, and Ivanova took positions with the US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute after resigning from the company, and then “proceeded to develop a competing software product while at the JGI,” IG claimed.
The company also said that Kyrpides “recruited other IG employees” to work at JGI to develop a software product that would compete with IG’s ERGO, a genomic analysis platform.
John Elling, IG’s president, said the company has "spent considerable time and resources for over a year trying to reach an amicable resolution,” and said the lawsuit is “not the option we wanted to pursue.
A spokesperson for JGI said the Institute has no comment.

Advanced Liquid Logic Acquires Nanolytics
Microfluidics startup Advanced Liquid Logic said last week that it has acquired Nanolytics, another microfluidics firm, for an undisclosed amount.
Advanced Liquid Logic, a Duke University spinout founded in 2004, is developing a technology it calls “digital microfluidics” that it is targeting toward the medical diagnostics and monitoring market. The company said that it can currently perform clinical chemistry assays, immunoassays, and PCR on the system and is “in the process of implementing DNA sequencing, analyte sorting, test multiplexing, and integrated sample preparation.”
The company expects to launch its first commercial product in late 2007.
Advanced Liquid Logic co-founder Michael Pollack was an early employee at Nanolytics, which was founded in the late 1990s. Pollack left the firm to further develop the technology at Duke and then went on to co-found Advanced Liquid Logic.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.