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Celera Mum on Talks with Israel

NEW YORK, Dec 5 – Celera would neither confirm nor deny on Tuesday that it is in talks to sell a database subscription to the Israeli government.

“I can’t confirm or deny” this story, Celera spokeswoman Heather Kowalski told GenomeWeb. “When we do any kind of deal we make an announcement.”

The comment followed a couple of press reports in the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz that said Yossi Cucik, director-general of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, had been in contact with Craig Venter to discuss acquiring access to Celera’s database for Israel’s universities and research institutes.

The newspaper also said that Venter would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak when he next visits Israel. Celera would not discuss Venter’s travel plans.

“Dr. Venter makes lots of trips all over the world. I don’t know that he’s got one [to Israel] on his schedule,” Kowalski said.

Ha’aretz quoted an Israeli Science Ministry official, who reportedly contacted Celera for a price quote in November, as saying that if Celera wanted “many hundreds of thousands of dollars” for a subscription, than a deal with the ministry would be unlikely.

Celera has previously said that academic subscribers pay between $6,000 and $15,000 per scientist for a subscription.

The Science Ministry official, Hagit Messer-Yaron, was also cited as saying that she wanted Celera to include software that would help to make the data more easy to use.

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