A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Genetic Technologies (GTG; Melbourne, Australia) reported forming an alliance with MetaMorphix (MMI; Beltsville, Maryland), a developer of new genetic markers.

In 2004, MMI took a license to the GTG non-coding patents, and since then the two companies have maintained close contact. GTG and MMI have both pursued the development of new technologies with applications in human health and diagnostics and also in animal genetics and genomics.

GTG and MMI recently identified several overlapping interests and now will explore joint commercialization of these new opportunities, utilizing the combined power of the intellectual property held by each. The companies said they also would explore ways to optimize the geographic advantage of GTG's testing lab and MMI's testing lab in Davis, California.

BD Diagnostics (Baltimore), a segment of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.; Franklin Lakes, New Jersey) reported the signing of a multi-year agreement with Quest Diagnostics (Lyndhurst, New Jersey) to supply instrumentation and reagents for testing and diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

This enterprise-wide adoption of the BD Viper System by Quest Diagnostics "takes full advantage of the BD Viper System's robust industrial-class robotic design," BD said. Pipetting, incubations, amplification and detection all occur on the deck of the BD Viper System, with the majority of labor delegated to the robot.

The BD Viper System is designed to minimize technologist hands-on-time, enabling walkaway or "load and go" workflow. The new system is expected to help facilitate rapid turn-around of test results and provide more flexibility in sample types for testing.

In other agreements:

• Acacia Research (Newport Beach, California) reported that its CombiMatrix (Mukilteo, Washington) group has established a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Human Effectiveness Directorate, Biosciences and Protection Division, Applied Biotechnology Branch (AFRL/HEPB).

The CRADA will focus on "Development of a Biomonitor Device with Biomarker-based Microarrays."

AFRL/HEPB and CombiMatrix will develop a personal health monitoring system utilizing the company's Custom-Array technology. The goal of the program is to develop a miniaturized device capable of analyzing multiple bio-markers (either DNA or protein) that would aid the Department of Defense in its mission to effectively monitor the health status of military service personnel before, during, and after deployment where untoward exposures may impact on their performance or health.

• Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp; Burlington, North Carolina) reported that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut) to commercialize the university's new blood testing technology for epithelial ovarian cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Yale will receive signing, milestone and royalty fees. Additional terms were not disclosed.

The Yale technology is based on a collection of known serum proteins associated with cancer biology. Each protein marker is analyzed using a routine ELISA assay, and a straightforward statistical analysis is then performed to score the combined results. In published research, multiple statistical analyses on preliminary sample sets for a population of 206 women, including 24 patients with early stage (I/II) EOC and 76 with later stage (III/IV) EOC, showed very favorable sensitivity and specificity, as well as positive predictive value.

Yale expects to conduct additional clinical studies on the test technology prior to its commercial introduction by LabCorp.

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