Bio Saga Headlines

Bio Saga

Friday, July 31, 2009

Agilent to Acquire Varian to Expand Footprint in Life Sciences

Agilent Technologies has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Varian for $52 per share, or a total of around $1.5 billion.

The acquisition is Agilent's largest in the life sciences space and continues a strategy by the firm to focus on that segment and its "transformation into a leading bio-analytical measurement company.

The deal will expand Agilent's presence in the life sciences research and applied markets, such as the environment and energy. Agilent said that it also will expand its product portfolio into atomic and molecular spectroscopy and in other fields including nuclear magnetic resonance, imaging, and vacuum technologies.

"This acquisition is a major step in Agilent's transformation into a leading bio-analytical measurement company," Agilent President and CEO Bill Sullivan said in a statement. "The combination of Varian with Agilent's bio-analytical measurement business will result in the broadest product offering in the industry."

The acquisition price of $52 per share represents a 35 percent premium over Varian's closing price on Friday of $39.20. The boards of directors of both firms have unanimously approved the all-cash offer, said Agilent. Varian's shareholders will need to approve the deal as well.

Following completion of the deal, which is expected by the end of 2009, Agilent CFO Adrian Dillon will be responsible for combining Varian with Agilent's Bio-Analytical Measurement segment consistent with Agilent's operating model. "We have the opportunity to create significant value for Agilent shareholders by leveraging the combined entity's infrastructure and global supply chain," Dillon said in the statement.

Agilent said that it expects the acquisition to generate $75 million in annual cost synergies and achieve the firm's 20 percent return on invested capital target within four to five years.

Varian had annual revenue of around $1 billion for fiscal-year 2008. The firm Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm also reported its third-quarter financial results today. It reported revenues of $196.6 million for the quarter, down around 20 percent.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

House Passes Proposed 3 Percent NIH Funding Increase

The US House of Representatives on Friday passed a 2010 budget for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education that would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health by nearly $1 billion over its appropriation for 2009.

The bill, which passed the house by a vote of 264 to 153, seeks an NIH appropriation for 2010 of $30.97 billion, which is an increase of $940 million over the 2009 level, excluding funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That increase also would boost NIH funding by $500 million over the $30.5 million asked for by President Barack Obama in his budget request.

The bill also seeks $6.8 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of $67 million over the 2009 appropriation and $38.4 million over the White House's 2010 request.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, which supports increased funding for biomedical research, said passage of the bill makes it more likely that the House will pass all of the fiscal appropriations for fiscal year 2010 before Congress breaks for its late summer recess, which runs from Aug. 4, through the Labor Day weekend.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

XTractor Premium Application Note on Nature|Methods

Published Literature findings act as a key driver for decision making in drug discovery and biotechnology industry. Majority of the researchers prefer PubMed for published literature since it is a free resource for dissemination of scientific information. Data mining biomedical information from PubMed has been a long-standing problem for many researchers across the globe. On an average more than 50,000 scientific abstracts get published in PubMed every month and for a researcher it is a highly time consuming task to pick the most relevant abstracts everyday and annotate them accurately for research purposes. Though many text mining NLP (Natural Language Processing) engines are used to address this problem, manually annotated data has its own advantages in terms of accuracy and quality of the data that is captured. However, one of the major disadvantages with manual data mining still happens to be the processing time and its cost intensive nature.

So the need arises for a system, which can accurately process this vast repertoire of scientific information with a quick turn around time. We have tried to address both these problems with XTractor. XTractor provides the researchers with the most relevant scientific facts manually annotated (It is proven by our analysis to be 12-35% more accurate than the text mining engines) and delivered with in the shortest turnaround time. Also, XTractor comes with advanced analytical features such as Semantic Search, Concept linking and comprehensive downloadable reports for faster analysis of the biomedical data.

Click here to view the full application note at nature|methods

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Even as the globe has lurched into recession, the Facebook economy seems to be booming

Is Facebook a phenomenon — or a fad?
In the two years since Facebook opened its platform to outside developers, more than 300,000 Facebook applications, or "apps," have been created — games, quizzes, digital gifts and more. The successful apps boost users' engagement with Facebook — sometimes called "stickiness" — but do not directly provide revenue.

Piggybacking on Facebook has been profitable for several startups. Zynga, which according to some reports is raking in annual revenues of $100 million with the poker game Texas Hold'em and other games, has grown from 45 employees to more than 250 in the past year, Pincus said. About "70 percent, perhaps 80 percent" of Zynga's growth, he said, could be attributed to Facebook.

Flixster's growth also illustrates Facebook's role as a driver of Web innovation. Founded in January 2006, was attracting about 4 million monthly unique visitors when Facebook opened its development platform. Fearing competition, Flixster built its own Facebook app. That app's traffic quickly surpassed visitors to

More recently, Flixster built an app for Apple's iPhone — and it's activated via Facebook Connect. "It's the glue," Greenstein said.

The success of Facebook's development platform has inspired a trend: Google, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo, Yahoo and the Apple iPhone have all opened up to outside developers.

Do you want to know more?

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Life Science and Informatics

What is this?
is this a new industry?
or a old wine in a new bottle?

Well Life Sciences and Informatics can be anything form computational biology, all omes and omics, core bioinformatics to curation and literature mining, database creation, in the area of biology, chemistry , bio-chem space.

There are number of companies in India and bangalore is the forefront as a major bio-cluster with 20 to 30 companies in this sphere.

now how good are these companies doing?
how good are they in terms of the international markets and how profitable is their business?
what do they do?
their clients?

These are some interesting things that could be discussed in this blog page...

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