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Industry news in brief - week 51

By Dr Matt Wilkinson , 19-Dec-2007 brings you a round up of recent industry news, with developments at Agilent, Bruker BioSpin, EMD Chemicals, Gene Logic, Paraytec and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Agilent's acquisition of robotics and automation firm Velocity11 has been approved by US Federal antitrust regulators ahead of schedule. The deal was placed on the Federal Trade Commission's list of 'early termination' antitrust reviews as the review had been completed before the 30-day period required under antitrust law. Agilent's shares rose 10 cents on the news to $36.41 per share. Bruker BioSpin has launched a new online NMR store that offers a wide range of consumables and accessories from the company's NMR product line. The store is available at and offers the convenience of purchasing consumables and accessories with just a click of a button. "The Bruker BioSpin online store is another step in our objective to improve and simplify the ordering process for our customers," said Mark Chaykovsky, executive vice president of Bruker BioSpin Corp. "We are committed to providing our customers with online solutions that best meet their evolving business needs." EMD Chemicals, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, is to partner with Rules-Based Medicine (RBM) to develop and distribute multi-analyte immunoassay products for use on Luminex' xMAP platform under the Novagen brand. Under the terms of the agreement, RBM has granted EMD exclusive distribution rights to the largest catalogue of quantitative protein multiplex assays currently available. "We're pleased to be working with RBM to bring these highly validated multi-analyte profiling kits to the worldwide market," said Lisa Johnson, vice president corporate development at EMD. "Working together, we will leverage the first-class reputation of RBM and their extensive assay content with our global sales and distribution network to deliver a wide range of reproducible and quantitative immunoassay kits to researchers worldwide." Gene Logic has completed the $10m (€6.9m) sale of its genomics assets to Ocimum Biosolutions after the proposal was approved by shareholders. The Gene Logic name will be transferred to Ocimum with the company being renamed Ore Pharmaceuticals. The company's stock will trade under the ticker symbol GLGC for a few days and then will trade under its new ticker symbol ORXE. Ore Pharmaceuticals will focus entirely on drug repositioning and development and currently has eight pharmaceutical partners. Paraytec has completed its third round of equity funding, raising an investment of £0.5m (€0.7m) from the Viking Fund, Viking Club, and YFM Group, company staff, and private investors. The money will be used to enable the company to further leverage the technology in its ActiPix detector that enables "scientists to 'see' a complex reaction taking place in real time and to quantify the components". "Paraytec have done what so many university spin-outs fail to do; they have addressed manufacturing and certification issues from the outset to the point where they are already achieving a good gross margin that they know how to increase," said Dr Bill Gosling, non-executive chairman representing the Viking Fund on Paraytec's Board of Directors. "Viking Fund and YFM Group are happy to have had the opportunity to increase their equity stakes in this exciting business opportunity." Thermo Fisher Scientific has exclusively licensed certain RNAi sequences to CytRx Corporation's subsidiary, RXi Pharmaceuticals for use in its pharmaceutical development programme. "Licensing RNAi sequences is consistent with our strategy of building a portfolio of RNAi patents and proprietary rxRNA compounds for the discovery of novel therapeutics," said Dr Tod Woolf, CEO of RXi. The sequences were generated by Thermo Scientific's Dharmacon RNAi sequence selection algorithm and target an undisclosed number of genes. The sequences will be initially used to help in the development of RXi's rxRNA compounds in the areas of Type II diabetes, obesity, neurology and oncology. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

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