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Invitrogen, Accelerator Corp., ISB, Procognia, GE Healthcare, Dharmacon, NCI, University of Wisconsin

Invitrogen Launches High-Density Human Protein Microarray

Invitrogen last week introduced a high-density human protein microarray for identifying protein-protein interactions.

The ProtoArray Human Protein Microarray contains more than 1,800 human proteins from the kinase, membrane-associated, cell-signaling and metabolic protein classes. The chip was designed specifically with the drug discovery researcher in mind, Invitrogen officials said.

According to Ben Hwang, senior director of global commercial operations in the Invitrogen Branford (Conn.)/Protein Array Center, the human ProtoArray is the first chip that contains full-length, sequence-verified probes. The exception to this is the kinases, which include the active domain only, Hwang explained. But, he noted, the firm knows the rest of the proteins are full-length because “they are QC’ed on Westerns for full-length expression and purity.”

The new chip utilizes Invitrogen’s ProtoP5 expression and purification technology, and according to Hwang, about 90 percent of the proteins on the chip should retain their conformation and biological activity. The proteins are derived almost entirely from the firm’s Ultimate ORF Clone Collection, and includes labeling and detection technologies from its Molecular Probes group and array development capabilities from ProtoMetrix, which Invitrogen acquired in April.

The company also used bioinformatics technology picked up with the acquisition of Informax.

The launch of the human ProtoArray follows the introduction of Invitrogen’s Yeast ProtoArray earlier this year.

— Ed Winnick, Editor, BioArray News

ISB’s Accelerator Adds $11.8 Million From OVP Venture Partners, Amgen

Accelerator Corp., an Institute for Systems Biology-affiliated enterprise founded in 2003 in Seattle with $15 million in funding to develop startup companies, has added $11.8 million in new funding from OVP Venture Partners of Kirkland, Wash., and the new venture fund of Amgen, joining previous investors MPM Capital, Arch Venture Partners, Versant Ventures, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Some $800,000 of the funding is being sunk into the two Accelerator startups VieVax, a vaccine company, and VLST, an inflammation and cancer company. Chad Waite of OVP and Jay Hagan of Amgen Ventures will join Accelerator’s board of directors. (For more on Accelerator, see BCW 9/9/2004.

Procognia Raises $23.5M in Funding

UK-based Procognia, which develops and manufactures analytical devices for use by drug manufacturers, has raised $23.5 million in funding led by Apax Partners with an investment of some $10 million and including new investor Star Ventures. Previous investors Evergreen and Koor CVC also participated in the round.

Procognia is commercializing a platform it acquired in 2002 when it purchased British biotechnology company Sense Proteomic, which is developing technology to analyze the biological funcction of proteins using chips. In early November, Procognia announced a deal with Sigma Aldrich to market its protein chip technology.

GE Healthcare Will Exclusively Distribute Dharmacon’s RNAi Products in Japan

GE Healthcare will be the exclusive distributor of RNAi research products for Dharmacon in Japan, the companies said this week.

Customers in Japan will be able to order Dharmacon products directly from GE Healthcare. GE’s sales and technical staff will be trained to support Dharmacon’s RNAi product line.

Dharmacon, a subsidiary of Fisher Scientific International, is based in Lafayette, Colo.

NCI Awards $9.8M to 17 Early-Detection Biomarker-Development Labs

The US National Cancer Institute has awarded $9.8 million to 17 Biomarker Developmental Laboratories within the Early Detection Research Network, the agency announced last week.

Institutions that were granted the first-year funding include the University of Pittsburgh, Fox Chase Cancer Center, the University of Michigan, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Johns Hopkins University.

Investigators at the BDL will examine the human genome, proteome, epitome, and metabolome to identify biomarkers that can potentially serve as early detection biomarkers and markers of progression of the disease.

The funding is the second round of five-year funding for components of the EDRN.

Wisconsin Governor Promises $750M for Biomedical Research

Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin last week announced that the state plans to invest up to $750 million for biomedical research, including $500 million for new facilities and support for scientists at the University of Wisconsin. Plans include a new $375 million public-private research institute called the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.


The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.