April 2007- Volume 3, Issue 4

April 2007

In this Issue

Informatics

Getting into the flow -- ScienceXperts and Invitrogen “demystify” multicolor cytometry

Getting into the flow -- ScienceXperts and Invitrogen “demystify” multicolor cytometry

Invitrogen Corp., a provider of life science technologies for disease research and drug discovery, is working with Palo Alto, Calif.-based ScienceXperts Inc., a provider of software tools for bioscience studies, on a new software tool.

Finding the right chemistry --Elsevier buys massive chemistry database

Finding the right chemistry --Elsevier buys massive chemistry database

Global scientific, technical and medical publisher Elsevier in March announced that it had acquired the Beilstein Database—reportedly the premier database in the field of organic chemistry and a key tool for drug discovery—through its subsidiary MDL Information Systems GmbH. The purchase price was not disclosed.

CATCH OF THE DAY: GENES --- Under Venter-UCSD collaboration, millions of genes and thousand of protein families

CATCH OF THE DAY: GENES --- Under Venter-UCSD collaboration, millions of genes and thousand of protein families

Using new computational tools and “whole environment shotgun sequencing,” researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) recently discovered millions of new genes and thousands of new protein families and characterized thousands of new protein kinases from ocean microbes.

PLAYING SOME HEAD GAMES -- ACD/Labs works with CSU researcher to refine predictive software for Alzheimer’s

PLAYING SOME HEAD GAMES -- ACD/Labs works with CSU researcher to refine predictive software for Alzheimer’s

Advanced Chemistry Development Inc., (ACD/Labs) recently announced that it has been collaborating with leading Alzheimer’s research scientist Dr. Gilbert Rishton, founder and director of the Channel Islands Alzheimer’s Institute at California State University, to evaluate central nervous system drugs and gain a deeper understanding of the parameters that effect blood-brain barrier permeability.

Genomics & Proteomics

$100 million psychiatric gift -- Stanley Medical Research Institute funds psychiatric research at the Broad Institute

$100 million psychiatric gift -- Stanley Medical Research Institute funds psychiatric research at the Broad Institute

A $100 million gift from the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard will establish the new Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. The Stanley Center will investigate molecular bases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Measured protein activity -- George Mason University researchers roll out oncology-focused start-up company

Measured protein activity -- George Mason University researchers roll out oncology-focused start-up company

In late March, George Mason researchers Lance Liotta and Emanuel “Chip” Petricoin announced the formation of a new company called Theranostics Health, LLC, based on what they say is a breakthrough proteomic technology that can measure not simply the presence of disease in a patient biopsy, but of the ongoing activity of the protein targets in the sample.

Stemming the attacks -- CIRM makes more progress overcoming legal challenges

Stemming the attacks -- CIRM makes more progress overcoming legal challenges

The First District Court of Appeal for the State of California has denied two petitions for rehearing in ongoing litigation that is challenging the constitutionality of the state’s stem cell program and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the agency created to manage the project.

Asterand establishes RNA e-commerce

Asterand establishes RNA e-commerce

Asterand in March announced a new program for selling human RNA samples over the Internet.

Editor's Focus

BY ANY OTHER NAME

BY ANY OTHER NAME

When is a drug not a drug? When it is a biologically active device...or so I learned while attending Insight Information’s Medical Devices conference in Toronto last week. And that subtle difference could make a huge difference as the biopharmaceutical industry tries to make its way forward.

DARAs: an innovative approach to treating disease

DARAs: an innovative approach to treating disease

The recent approval of Novartis’ Tekturna marked the first new class of antihypertensive drugs to gain the FDA’s blessing in more than 15 years. This development clearly indicates that there continues to be a need for innovative treatments for hypertension despite the broad menu of therapies currently available.

Automation & Instrumentation

STRAIGHT TO THE PLATE -- Nanosys, Bruker team up to get researchers analyzing samples faster

STRAIGHT TO THE PLATE -- Nanosys, Bruker team up to get researchers analyzing samples faster

Nanosys Inc., based here, and Billerica, Mass.-based Bruker Daltonics Inc. have entered into a broad research and development collaboration and distribution agreement for Nanosys’ nanotechnology-enabled matrix-free target plates for use primarily with Bruker’s FLEX-series of laser desorption ionization time-of- flight (TOF) mass spectrometers. These Nanosys plates are known as Capture and Analyze NALDI chips.

A platform for service growth --GenTel acquires protein chip research assets from GSK

A platform for service growth --GenTel acquires protein chip research assets from GSK

GenTel Biosciences announced in mid-March that it had acquired the protein chip platform assets of GlaxoSmithKline, in a move that greatly widens the scope of its contract protein screening services and provides it with a location in the Research Triangle Park hotbed of activity in North Carolina. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Public affair -- Helicos decides to go public; issues registration for IPO

Public affair -- Helicos decides to go public; issues registration for IPO

Helicos BioSciences Corp. recently announced it would go public, filing a registration statement at the end of February with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock.

New beginning: Aruna grants license to Millipore

New beginning: Aruna grants license to Millipore

The world of biotech is certainly no stranger to promising claims, but nonetheless, Aruna Biomedical’s pops off the printed page: “To our knowledge, there has never been a human neural cell product offered that was derived from human embryonic stem cells.”

Research & Development

Teaming up on cancer, allergy

Teaming up on cancer, allergy

In mid-March, Array BioPharma Inc. and VentiRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced a licensing agreement under which VentiRx receives exclusive worldwide rights for discovery and development using Array’s Toll-like receptor (TLR) program.

A shot in the arm -- Oxford BioMedica’s acquisition of Oxxon boosts vaccine pipeline

A shot in the arm -- Oxford BioMedica’s acquisition of Oxxon boosts vaccine pipeline

In a transaction valued at £16 million, Oxford BioMedica, a gene therapy company, announced in mid-March its acquisition of Oxxon Therapeutics Ltd. Oxxon, a private biotech company, held assets including a Phase II melanoma vaccine, the proprietary Hi-8 PrimeBoost immunotherapy platform, and approximately £3 million cash.

A trio for Teva with Vaccinex deal -- Vaccinex teams with MS leader on antibody-based treatment

A trio for Teva with Vaccinex deal -- Vaccinex teams with MS leader on antibody-based treatment

With Copaxone established as a market leader and laquinimod from Active Biotech in late phase clinical trials, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical has now entered into a collaboration with Vaccinex Inc. to develop and commercialize a third anti-MS therapeutic, VX15, a novel human antibody discovered by Vaccinex.

Calistoga wraps up $21 million financing round

Calistoga wraps up $21 million financing round

When newly formed Calistoga Pharmaceuticals announced it had successfully closed a Series A venture round of $21 million, Michael Gallatin, the company’s president, wrapped up an interesting venture of his own. Formerly a senior member of the scientific management staff at ICOS Corp., from which Calistoga was recently spun out by Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Gallatin left ICOS about two years ago to, as he says, “retire and coach little league.”

Global News

Eisai leaps into biologics with Morphotek acquisition

Eisai leaps into biologics with Morphotek acquisition

In an effort to expand it capabilities for discovery and development, Eisai Co. announced on March 22 that it, along with Eisai Corp. of North America in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., and Morphotek Inc. of Exton, Pa., has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Morphotek for $325 million after excess net cash.

BMS inks deals with Biocon, Accenture in Indian market

BMS inks deals with Biocon, Accenture in Indian market

Expanding its research and development capabilities in India, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. recently announced two deals, one with Biocon Ltd. and another with Accenture. Both deals are an integral part of the company’s overall R&D global strategy of accessing top-talent around the world in support of its goal of achieving sustainable, cost-effective growth. In total, the deals represent a $300 investment by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Takeda to acquire CNS ally Paradigm Therapeutics

Takeda to acquire CNS ally Paradigm Therapeutics

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Paradigm Therapeutics Ltd. have agreed as of March 12, 2007, to the acquisition of Paradigm by Takeda. Financial terms were not disclosed, but it has been reported that upon completion of the deal, Paradigm will become a subsidiary of Takeda Europe Holdings B.V.,....
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