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Lynx Wins 2nd USC Contract, Sets Date for Solexa Vote

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Researchers at the University of Southern California will continue to use Lynx’s gene-expression technology to study oyster larval development after winning a new grant from the National Science Foundation, the company says.

Under the new agreement with USC, Lynx will be paid for performing genome-wide transcriptome sequencing services on oyster samples, using its massive parallel signature sequencing technology.

Separately, Lynx says it will hold its 2004 annual meeting of stockholders on March 21, where shareholders will vote on the proposed merger with Solexa.

Lynx also says it is scheduled to have a hearing before a Nasdaq listing qualifications panel this month to review Nasdaq’s decision to delist the company from the Nasdaq SmallCap Market after Lynx failed to hold an annual stockholder meeting by Dec. 31, 2004.

“We believe that following the upcoming stockholders’ meeting, Lynx will again be in full compliance with Nasdaq listing requirements,” says acting CEO Mary Schramke. This month’s meeting would be the first for shareholders since 2003. Lynx is hoping to amass enough votes at the shareholder meeting to secure its merger with Solexa, an Essex, UK-based DNA-sequencing products developer, with whom it signed a definitive merger pact in September.

Schramke says, “We urge our stockholders, regardless of the number of shares they hold, to vote in favor of the proposals ... including the items relating to the proposed Solexa combination.”

Before it formally merges with Solexa, Lynx must also meet a requirement that its stock trade above $4 for 90 trading days preceding the merger.

— Julia Karow and Justin Petrone

PATENT WATCH

US Patent 6,849,411. Microfluidic sequencing methods. Assignee: Caliper Life Sciences. Inventors: Michael Knapp, John Wallace Parce, Luc Bousse, Anne Kopf-Sill. Issued: February 1, 2005.

This patent covers “integrated systems, apparatus, software, and methods for performing biochemical analysis, including DNA sequencing, genomic screening, purification of nucleic acids and other biological components, and drug screening,” according to the abstract. “The devices and systems are used in performing fluid operations which require a large number of iterative, successive, or parallel fluid manipulations, in a microscale, or sealed and readily automated format.”

US Patent 6,846,633. Nucleotide sequences for detection of Bacillus anthracis. Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army. Inventors: Vipin Rastogi, Tu-Chen Cheng. Issued: January 25, 2005.

According to the abstract, this invention “provides purified and isolated DNA fragments from Bacillus anthracis chromosomal DNA, primer sets, and probes derived therefrom, as well as kits and detection methods for B. anthracis. The methods of the invention provide for specific detection of anthrax over closely related strains of Bacillus, as well as accurate detection of low numbers of B. anthracis in an environmental sample containing large amounts of non-specific DNA.”

Datapoint

$141 million

Revenues of Applied Biosystems’ DNA sequencing business for its second quarter of fiscal 2005, representing a 17 percent decline from the same quarter last year. It was an improvement over the previous quarter’s revenues, which were $116 million for the same division.

Researchers from the University of Göttingen in Germany and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have sequenced the genome of Gluconobacter oxydans, an acetic acid bacterium used in the production of vitamin C, flavoring chemicals, and the antidiabetic drug Miglitol. The genome consists of 2.7 million base pairs and contains 2,400 the bacterium possesses five plasmids with 232 open reading frames.

Scientists from NC State, Danisco, and California Polytechnic State University have sequenced the genome of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, a lactic acid bacterium that lives in the upper intestinal tract of humans and animals. The genome is made up of nearly 2 million bases.

In a malaria study undertaken by several groups of researchers at Sanger, TIGR, and elsewhere, scientists have gathered sequence comparisons as well as proteomic and gene expression data for malaria parasites. The genome sequences are available through GenBank.

Researchers at the Institute for Genomic Research and Stanford University’s Genome Technology Center have sequenced the genomes of two strains of Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungal pathogen that often attacks AIDS victims and patients undergoing immuno-suppressive therapies. The study identified 6,572 protein-encoding genes on the fungus’ 14 chromosomes.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.