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Markers Short Reads: Mar 1, 2004


In a move that eliminates nearly 60 percent of its workforce, Incyte shutters its Palo Alto, Calif., research center and corporate headquarters. Incyte’s remaining staff will continue working from Wilmington, Del., and Beverly, Mass., in a more focused effort on drug discovery. Meanwhile, the company continues its disease-of-the-month program, in which Incyte’s proteomics data for a particular disease each month is made freely accessible to the research community. This month’s disease is colon cancer, and diseases to come include autism, osteoporosis, and arthritis.


Speaking of Incyte, good news for those who leave: former execs Scott Clarke, Beth Kennedy, Adam Kurland, Sandra Pace, and Jin Kim founded a company called Discovery Innovations. The San Francisco firm provides Web-based informatics services and software to the biotech and pharma industry.


NHGRI buzzes about its latest news: assembly of the honey bee draft sequence, deposited into public databases at the start of this year. Assembly of the 300-million-base-pair genome was led by Richard Gibbs’ team at Baylor.


Optical mapping firm OpGen announces the completion of a whole genome map of Aspergillus fumigatus, a pathogen that causes the most frequent fungal infection in the world.

San Diego State University joins forces with CardioDynamics, Invitrogen, and Pfizer to set up a joint MBA-PhD degree program for the life sciences. Currently, SDSU works together with the University of California, San Diego, to offer the PhD component. The companies are helping with startup funds, but the university is still seeking additional financing.


According to President Bush’s proposed budget, NIH would receive a 2.6 percent increase in its funds. It’s hardly the double-digit increases the institutes have seen in the past few years, but hey, it’s keeping up with inflation.


BioTrove of Woburn, Mass., rounds up $10.9 million in venture capital financing. The funding will go toward commercializing the company’s high-throughput mass spec technology and launching its nano-scale fluidics platform for genomic and other sample analysis.


Caliper Technologies changes its name to Caliper Life Sciences. The new name encompasses both the old Caliper and its recent acquisition, Zymark.


Affymetrix kicks off a consortia-model program through which it will underwrite design expenses to create new whole-genome arrays for the plant and animal genome researchers. Current plans involve designing 12 new arrays this year, including genomic information from corn, wheat, chicken, and citrus.

Ribonomics gets $150,000 to continue development of a system that can physically isolate genes in a process that enables a better understanding of their function and relationships to each other. The grant comes from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.


Paradigm Genetics, based in Research Triangle Park, NC, plans to acquire Pittsburgh’s TissueInformatics in an all-stock transaction.


Incogen gets $100,000 from an NSF SBIR grant for a six-month project to develop its bioinformatics software into a package that can be used as a teaching tool.


Yale University establishes its new Center for Genomics and Proteomics. Eugene Davidov and Paul Fletcher will direct the effort.


GeneProt and Novartis renew their partnership, which began in 2000. Under the alliance, GeneProt analyzes the protein contents of Novartis’ biological samples.


Perlegen Sciences and Galileo Genomics team up to build a linkage disequilibrium map based on the founder population in Quebec. The map will contain some 40,000 SNPs and will be used to scan whole genomes looking for 21 common diseases.


Artemis Pharmaceuticals will produce genetically engineered mice for Aventis for gene function analysis.


The Scan

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.

Tumor Microenvironment Immune Score Provides Immunotherapy Response, Prognostic Insights

Using multiple in situ analyses and RNA sequence data, researchers in eBioMedicine have developed a score associated with immunotherapy response or survival.

CRISPR-Based Method for Finding Cancer-Associated Exosomal MicroRNAs in Blood

A team from China presents in ACS Sensors a liposome-mediated membrane fusion strategy for detecting miRNAs carried in exosomes in the blood with a CRISPR-mediated reporter system.

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.