• Compugen (Tel Aviv, Israel) reported the discovery and experimental verification of CGEN-327, a novel molecular biomarker candidate for the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. CGEN-327 is a previously unknown splice variant of the HE4 (Human Epididymis Protein 4) gene, which is a known biomarker for ovarian cancer. The company also said that it has entered into a research and license option agreement for the product candidate with an unidentified diagnostic company. Patent coverage for this discovery is being pursued by Compugen. VP of R&D Anat Cohen-Dayag said, "This is an excellent example of Compugen's 'discovery on demand' capabilities. In this case, we were approached by a leading company developing and commercializing immunoassay panels for rapid diagnosis of challenging diseases. Their specific interest was to determine whether any unknown splice variants exist for this known biomarker for ovarian cancer, an objective with a high level of industry interest and past research activity."

• Helicos BioSciences (Cambridge, Massachusetts) reported significant improvements in the performance of the Helicos genetic analysis system, available immediately for customers. With these improvements, the system is generating 20 to 30 gigabases (GB) of high-quality sequence data per run, an output equivalent to the sequencing of 7 to 10 human genomes per run. Proof of the system's performance was demonstrated recently by sequencing the 104MB genome of the nematode C. elegans at 27-fold coverage (~2.8 GB of sequence) using just 7 of the 50 channels of a single run on a HeliScope Single Molecule Sequencer. Consensus accuracy above 5-fold coverage was 99.999%, or 1 error in 100,000 bases, which resulted in the identification of hundreds of single nucleotide substitution polymorphisms in the strain sequenced. A sample of 24 predicted polymorphisms were sequenced with Sanger sequencing; all 24 predicted polymorphisms were confirmed.

• iTMP Technology (Santa Barbara, California), an iPhone hardware and software developer, reported the commercial launch of SMHEART LINK, a new technology that allows an Apple iPhone or iPod to double as a heart monitor and fitness tracking system that actually listens to a person's heart. In addition to the iPhone and iPod touch, SMHEART LINK can be compatible with other smartphones, PCs or other Wi-Fi enabled devices. SMHEART LINK is a wireless bridge that collects data from distributed health and fitness sensors such as heart rate monitors and cycling sensors and sends it to the iPhone via Wi-Fi. iTMP's suite of iPhone fitness apps allow users to track their fitness data on iPhone's display. It also is compatible with biking sensors to track speed, cadence and power (watts).

• MDS Analytical Technologies (Sunnyvale, California) reported that its Arcturus Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) instruments were used by researchers at the University of Cincinnati in their discovery of genetic variations that may prove to be key predictors of risk for colon cancer and indicators of the disease's progression. Researchers hope that these important findings will provide doctors with much improved diagnostic tools for colon cancer. The Arcturus LCM instruments isolate pure cell populations from heterogeneous populations of cells by employing MDS Analytical Technologies' exclusive infrared laser-based capture technology, which has been designed to maintain biomolecule integrity within the microdissected samples for use in downstream analyses. Whether researchers are using LCM alone or in combination with the ultraviolet laser cutting option, the gentle non-damaging IR capture technology allows the custody of the microdissected sample to be maintained throughout the process. This gives researchers confidence and assurance that their desired material has been collected.

Bjorksten, bit 7 now one company

Two product design and development consulting firms from Madison, Wisconsin – Bjorksten Research Laboratories and bit 7 – with more than 75 years of combined experience, said they will officially rebrand themselves as Bjorksten | bit 7.

"We've always focused on providing the best design and engineering offerings to our clients," said President James Frater. "As our clients' needs evolve, our services will evolve too. Bjorksten | bit 7 will continue to offer the best development capabilities – and a variety of new ones – helping us to bridge the critical client continuum between strategic innovation and product introduction."

The Madison companies formally merged in 2000 but continued to operate under separate names. The new brand encompasses both the new services and those offered under the previous Bit 7 and Bjorksten names.

Roche reduces pricepoints for diabetes products

Roche (Basel, Switzerland) reported that people with diabetes will see a significant price reduction on the price of both the Accu-Chek Aviva and Accu-Chek Compact Plus Meter Care Kits, effective immediately.

"We are pleased to be able to provide our customers with diabetes two of the leading blood glucose meters on the market at a significantly reduced price," said Roche Vice President of Marketing Dan Kane. "In today's economic environment, we know it's becoming considerably harder for people to make ends meet. Yet it is so important to continue to effectively manage health issues like diabetes by monitoring blood glucose."