In early September, Caliper Life Sciences announced it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Hanover, Md.-based NovaScreen Biosciences Corp., a privately-held company that provides screening, profiling and assay development services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide and for government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health.
MultiCell Technologies Inc., will leverage its human hepatocyte line and associated products by developing therapeutics on its own through a new majority-owned subsidiary, Monticello Immunotherapeutics Inc. In conjunction with the formation of Monticello, MultiCell recently acquired the intellectual property and equipment of Astral Inc., a San Diego-based biotechnology company that focuses on the development of novel therapies for the treatment of type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer and infectious disease.
Imaging specialist Gamma Medica-Ideas (GM-I) recently announced the installation of a FLEX preclinical SPECT/CT system at the Houston-based MD Anderson Cancer Center. The new system will allow Dr. Juri Gelovani, chairman of experimental diagnostic imaging, and his colleagues to develop new methods for imaging tumors for cancer diagnosis and monitoring the targeting and efficacy of tumor-specific drugs.
SpinX Technologies, a provider of biological assay technology, recently secured Euro 10 million ($12.5 million) in Series B financing led by Bio Fund Management. Also involved in the financing—which will support the further development and initial commercialization of SpinX’s programmable microfluidics platform to perform biological assays—were Index Ventures, Auriga Partners, DFJ ePlanet Ventures and the CERN Pension Fund.
Simplifying the use of microarrays and increasing the reproducibility of experiment results are two of the rationales behind a new co-marketing agreement that bundles Eppendorf’s DualChip microarray slides and PerkinElmer’s ScanArray GX microarray analysis system.
Affymetrix recently announced a new program that is designed to provide GeneChip users with the assurance that the genetic data they derive from its use can be directly applied to compatible software and informatics tools. Called the GeneChip-compatible Applications Program, the program already counted 19 software providers including Genedata, GeneGo, IMC, Rosetta Biosoftware and Stragene, among others when launched in the middle of September.
A recent study by the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) showed a correlation between levels of certain proteins in human tumor cells and the effectiveness of two of the most common chemotherapy drugs for lung, prostate and breast cancer. The findings, published in the July-August issue of Cancer Genomics & Proteomics could suggest future methods for both determining an individual patient’s susceptibility to cancer and to help design the most effective treatment regimen for individual patients.
In late summer, Genome Canada awarded more than $346 million in grant money to 33 different researchers and research organizations across Canada. The recent grants mark the fifth year of funding provided by Genome Canada to Canadian researchers and their international associates, and pushed total funding over that time to more than $1.2 billion.
Novartis AG jumped feet first into the RNAi fray early last month with the announcement that it would make initial payments of $56.8 million to RNAi specialist Alnylam consisting of both an upfront payment and a 19.9 percent stake in the company via the purchase of company stock. The three-year deal, with provisions for two additional single-year terms, could eventually pump as much as $700 million dollars into Alnylam coffers based on the development and commercialization of multiple products and other performance conditions.
Genotyping specialist Illumina announced recently an agreement with the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) of Psychiatry, based in Munich, Germany, that will see the MPI researchers apply Illumina’s Sentrix BeadChips and Infinium assay to a large-scale genotyping study of patients with psychiatric disorders. The study will be performed at the MPI’s Center for Applied Genotyping (CAGT).
After cementing a relationship last year to develop a novel oral insulin product, U.S. based-Nobex Corp., a drug development company specializing in oral peptide drug delivery, and Biocon Limited of India have decided to team up again. This time, they will tackle the challenge of developing an oral brain-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) product for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
ProlX Pharmaceuticals recently announced that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the company four SBIR grants totaling more than $1.2 million and covering preclinical work on four promising drug candidates.
Using a sequencing platform that it hopes to introduce commercially by the end of 2005, genetic technology specialist Solexa helped University of Delaware researchers study the small RNA component of the transcriptome, the machinery of gene expression. When more widely applied, the technology may improve the understanding of biological pathways and facilitate drug development.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is the latest organization to license Gene-IT’s GenomeQuest—a genomic information service and software application that provides sequence comparison solutions for biological and patent investigators—joining a list of clients that includes the European Bioinformatics Institute, European Patent Office, Institute for Systems Biology, Monsanto, Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis.
In late summer, instrumentation powerhouse Waters Corp. and bioinformatics provider Nonlinear Dynamics announced a co-development and co-marketing agreement that will result in an integrated bioinformatics package for protein identification and quantitative protein profiling using Waters’ ProteinLynx Global Server and Nonlinear’s Progenesis 2D gel informatics platform.
In a move that continues to widen its base of proteomic offerings, Invitrogen Corp. announced that it will distribute a range of advance analysis software solutions from Nonlinear Dynamics, based here. The deal involves a broad selection of Nonlinear products including those for the detailed analysis of 1D and 2D electrophoresis gels.
Scientists at the University of Warwick, led by Dr. Gregory Challis, may be unlocking the door to new drugs and therapeutic targets by mining the genome of microorganisms for hidden metabolic keys. They published their work in the October issue of Nature Chemical Biology. Applied widely, genome mining should provide access to new natural products with molecular diversity unmatched by synthetic chemical techniques.