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Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, California) reported acquiring Computational Biology (Cambridge, Massachusetts), a biotech pioneer in ChIP-on-chip, a microarray-based technology used to understand gene regulation in disease. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Agilent said that the purchase gives it exclusive access to the patent and intellectual property for ChIP-on-chip analysis enabling the company to provide “unique microarray solutions for disease research, drug discovery and drug development.“

Computational Biology was founded by Drs. Richard Young and David Gifford of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge) and biotech executive Dr. Heidi Wyle.

Gifford, a professor in MIT's electrical engineering and computer science department, is an expert in computational biology and the development of software algorithms for biological analysis. Young, a professor at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (also Cambridge), is focused on the study of gene regulatory networks and is the primary inventor of ChIP-on-chip. Both will remain professors at MIT while consulting with Agilent to support the development of commercial solutions for ChIP-on-chip.

Agilent said that within six months of the acquisition, it would open a center in Cambridge to enable close collaboration with Young and Gifford, Whitehead and MIT, as well as other collaborators and customers. It will include an Agilent demonstration center for genomics, proteomics and informatics.

ChIP-on-chip uses chromatin immuno-precipitation (ChIP) to discover how regulatory proteins interact with the genome of living cells. Regulatory proteins bind to genomic DNA to control chromosome replication and gene activity, thereby functioning as switches in the regulatory circuitry of cells. The discovery of this circuitry is expected to help researchers develop new drugs targeting the proteins and pathways that play a role in disease.

Young said, “This is a pivotal step for biological research and our understanding of genetics. Only Agilent's microarray platform provided the specificity and sensitivity to turn our analytical method into a powerful research tool for the entire scientific community.“

Fran DiNuzzo, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Integrated Biology Solutions business, said, “This acquisition is strategically important to the expansion of Agilent's microarray platform into new array-based genomics applications. In addition to developing commercial products for ChIP-on-chip, we are committed to educating the scientific community about the uses of this technology in enabling target discovery and validation, disease research, pathway analysis, toxicogenomics and mechanism of action studies.“

As part of the acquisition, Agilent has acquired exclusive access to U.S. patent 6,410,243, “Chromosome-Wide Analysis of Protein-DNA Interactions,“ the property of the Whitehead Institute and licensed exclusively to Computational Biology.

Agilent's Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis (LSCA) business is a provider of instruments, supplies, software and services to the life science and chemical analysis markets. It is a leading provider of microarray, microfluidic, informatics, liquid chromatography, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry-based equipment.

S3 Investment (Temecula, California) reported acquiring TSPartner (also Temecula), a developer in healthcare information technology, in exchange for restricted S3 Investment stock and future funding of the TSPartner operation. The company said it intends to combine TSPartner and Securesoft Systems into one subsidiary that will become “the market leader in the enterprise compliance software and services industry.“

TSPartner has been the distributor of the Securesoft's Comply product since November.

Chris Bickel, CEO of S3 Investment, said, “This acquisition is a key step for S3 Investment. We are very bullish on the Comply product, the market for this comprehensive HIPAA compliance product and the capability of our new acquisition to work with us to make Comply the HIPAA compliance standard within the healthcare industry.“

Robert Margolis, MD, CEO of HealthCare Partners Medical Group (Los Angeles) reported his company's acquisition of Harriman Jones Medical Group, a 45-physician medical group. Terms were not disclosed.

Harriman Jones will join the Long Beach Region of HealthCare Partners and mark HealthCare Partners' entrance into the Orange County market. HealthCare Partners is now comprised of approximately 400 employed physicians and clinicians operating out of 36 offices throughout Los Angeles and now Orange County.

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