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Spyro Mousses, John Hogenesch, Natasha Caplen, Carl Novina, Lucas Pelkmans, PerkinElmer, NCGC, ABI/MDS Sciex, Takara Bio, GE Healthcare, Cytogenix, NHGRI, Roche, Epigenomics and more


Qiagen has created a high-throughput RNAi user forum open to all scientists, the company said yesterday. The forum will be coordinated by Spyro Mousses, director of cancer drug development at the Translational Genomics Research Institute; John Hogenesch, professor of neurobiology at the Scripps Research Institute; Natasha Caplen of the Center for Cancer Research at NCI; Carl Novina, assistant professor of cancer immunology and AIDS at Harvard Medical School; and Lucas Pelkmans, assistant professor at the Institute for Molecular Systems Biology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

The forum will meet at twice-yearly conferences


BioCommerce Briefs

PerkinElmer to Supply NCGC with Reagents, Instruments

PerkinElmer said this week that it will provide reagents, instrumentation, and scientific support for the National Institute of Health's Chemical Genomics Center.

Under the terms of the deal, NCGC gets access to PerkinElmer's AlphaScreen, Lance, and Delfia technologies as well as the company's assay and protocol researchers.

PerkinElmer's remuneration was not released.

ABI/MDS Sciex to Sell ACD/Labs Products

Advanced Chemistry has signed a resellers agreement with Applied Biosystems and MDS Sciex.

Under the agreement, ABI/MDS Sciex will sell ACD/Labs' MS Manager, MS Fragmenter, and ChemSketch software in combination with ABI/MDS Sciex mass spectrometry products worldwide.

Financial details were not provided.

Takara Bio to Launch RT-PCR System in Japan Next Month

Takara Bio said this week that it would launch its Thermal Cycler Dice Real Time System on April 3.

The company said the PCR system will sell for 3.8 million yen ($32,000), and that it aims to sell 100 units in Japan in the first year and eventually market it abroad.

Takara Bio has been expanding its molecular biology tools portfolio over the past couple of years. It sells restriction enzymes and PCR enzymes as part of its portfolio, and last year the firm acquired Becton Dickinson's Clontech unit for $60 million (see BioCommerce Week 7/7/2005).

Takara also is developing cell- and gene-based therapies and biotech products for agricultural applications.

GE Healthcare to Supply Cytogenix with DNA Production Reagents

GE Healthcare will exclusively provide its DNA production reagents to CytoGenix where the intended application is the manufacture of therapeutic compounds, CytoGenix said last week in a statement.

A CytoGenix spokesperson said other labs or companies can license the reagents for purposes other than compound manufacturing.

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the agreement.

Houston, Tex.-based CytoGenix manufactures DNA-based vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases, inflammatory disorders, and cancer.

NHGRI Adds IP Management Guidelines to Genome Sequencing Center RFA

The National Human Genome Research Institute has amended a large-scale sequencing RFA that it issued in December to include guidelines for intellectual property related to the initiative.

In a notice issued Friday, NHGRI updated its previous "Genome Sequencing Centers" request for applications to include the stipulation that awardees manage IP and data in a way that will "maximize the public benefit of the data produced."

As a result, "applicants should develop a comprehensive IP and data management strategy that is consistent with the NIH Research Tools Policy," NIH said.

"Applicants should submit an IP Management Plan that assures that data is rapidly released according to approved criteria, that licensing and sharing practices ensure the availability of data and research resources for future use by the scientific community, and that research collaboration or sponsorship agreements are consistent with the requirements of the TCGA [The Cancer Genome Atlas] and the NHGRI medical sequencing program," NIH said in the notice.

Roche Extends Cancer Screening Project with Epigenomics

Epigenomics and Roche Molecular Diagnostics have extended by 18 months their collaboration on cancer screening products, the companies said last week in a statement.

Roche has agreed to extend a license it took from Epigenomics in December on a panel of markers for colorectal cancer screening, and it will continue working on the validation of breast and prostate screening products, the companies said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Epigenomics will take over sensitivity validation for its screening tests for colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer, the companies said.

The colorectal cancer screening project is scheduled to continue until the end of the year, the prostate cancer screening project is scheduled to last until at least Oct. 15, and the breast cancer screening project is scheduled to last until at least March 30, 2007, the companies said.

Sequenom Plans $30M Placement as Q4 Revenues Fall, Loss Widens

Sequenom this week posted declining revenues and a widened loss for the fourth quarter of 2005.

Separately, the company said that it plans to issue more than 54.5 million shares of common stock and around 32.7 million purchase warrants at $0.70 per share to raise $30 million by May 31.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2005, Sequenom revenues fell 28 percent to $4.4 million from $6.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2004.The company's net loss increased to $7.0 million, or $.17 per share, from $6.6 million, or $.16 per share, in the year-ago period.

Sequenom spent $3.0 million on research and development in the fourth quarter, down 23 percent from $3.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2004.

As of Dec. 31, the company had $8.7 million in cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and restricted cash.

Harry Stylli, president and CEO of Sequenom, said in a statement that the restructuring activities that the company announced in September "will positively impact 2006." He added that the company's recently launched iPLEX multiplexing assay and MassARRAY Compact system will be "the primary contributor[s] to top line revenue growth in 2006."

Sequenom projected 2006 revenues of $24 million — a 24 percent increase over 2005 revenues of $19.4 million. The company also expects to reduce its cash use by $10 million in 2006.

The company said it plans to complete development of a proprietary fetal DNA enrichment method in the third quarter, and to launch its iPLEX II system in the fourth quarter. It also expects to launch a research-use only prenatal diagnostic for Rhesus D "in early 2007," and that it plans to "establish relationships with CLIA-certified laboratories" prior to the launch.

Solexa Q4 Net Loss Rises; Plans to Hire Staff for Sequencer Launch

Solexa this week reported a higher net loss for the fourth quarter of 2005 despite solid revenue growth.

Solexa also said it plans to add staff to sales, marketing, and manufacturing "to support broad commercial release" of its Genome Analysis System to academic and government core labs, commercial sequencing companies, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Solexa has said in the past it will initially target large genome centers and other prospective customers in an early access release. The company reiterated its plan to begin reporting sales of the sequencer during the second quarter, which begins April 1.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2005, surged to $1.3 million from $23,000 in the prior-year quarter, mostly from service fees generated from its genomic services business. The firm's research and development expenses increased to $4.9 million from $2.3 million year over year.

According to Solexa, the net loss attributable to common shareholders for the quarter widened 73 percent to $3.7 million from $2.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

The company stated that cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2005, stood at $38.4 million.

The Scan

Follow-Up Data Requests to Biobank Participants Ineffective, Study Finds

An effort to recontact biobank enrollees for additional information reports low participation in a new BMJ Open study.

Study Finds Widespread Transmission of Resistant Bacteria in Vietnam Hospitals

A sequencing study in The Lancet Microbe finds widespread transmission of drug-resistant Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Acinetobacter baumannii in two Vietnam ICUs.

Novel Brain Cell Organoids Show Promise for Autism Research

University of Utah researchers report in Nature Communications on their development of brain cell organoids to study SHANK3-related autism.

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.