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Marker/Short Reads


Roche Molecular Diagnostics and Applied Biosystems settled their PCR-based lawsuit with MJ Research. Through the settlement, Bio-Rad, which acquired MJ Research in 2004, will make an undisclosed payment to Roche Diagnostics and ABI to settle all outstanding patent-infringement claims.

NIH named five new directors to its advisory committee. They include: Nancy Adler of the University of California, San Francisco; David Botstein, director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute of Integrative Genomics at Princeton; Alexander Lerner of the Illinois State Medical Society; Christine Seidman from Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital; and Tadataka Yamada, chairman of R&D at GlaxoSmithKline.

The Institute Pasteur Korea and Euroscreen have announced a partnership to perform screening of G-protein-coupled receptors using internalization assays. Under the deal, Euroscreen will provide receptor cell lines and GPCR library compounds for analysis on IPK’s high-throughput screening platform.

Digilab has acquired peptide-profiler BioVision, a Hannover, Germany-based company that patented the Peptidomics technology and Differential Peptide Display software for peptide biomarker discovery.

Gerald Vardzel is the new CEO at Gene Express. Vardzel, who was previously VP of business development at the company, formerly worked at Becton Dickinson.

Molecular diagnostics insiders sounded a cautious note when describing the state of the industry during Cambridge Healthtech’s Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference in February. Jorge Leon of Orion Genomics said during a presentation that, in particular, “the cancer diagnostic market is really pathetic.”

Coda Genomics has secured $1.6 million in a Series B funding round led by the Life Science Angels. The round included venture capital firm Monitor Ventures and previous investors Tech Coast Angels.

PerkinElmer has completed the sale of its semiconductor business to Tara Capital. The sale, which came to approximately $26.5 million in cash and assumed liabilities, was originally expected to close by the end of last year and follows the December 2005 sale of PerkinElmer’s aerospace division.

Roche and MorphoSys, a German synthetic antibodies producer, have expanded their six-year partnership to develop therapeutic antibodies in oncology. The new agreement is expanded from a collaboration on Alzheimer’s disease that Roche and MorphoSys began in 2000.

Thermo Electron announced plans to buy back $100 million of shares of its own common stock, both in the open market or in negotiated transactions, by the end of February 2007.

Clinical Data reorganized its business into three units: PGxHealth, which includes assets from newly acquired Genaissance; Cogenics, the combined operations and marketing infrastructure of Genaissance, Lark, and Icoria, which will provide comprehensive pharmacogenomics and molecular services; and Vital Diagnostics, derived from operations of Clinical Data, Vital, and Electa Labs, which is geared to IVD services for customers in 100 countries.

Barbara Baird, Kathryn Edwards, Martin Rosenberg, and Megan Sykes were named as new members to the principal advisory board of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Evogene, a crop genetics company, has completed its second round of financing, raising $7 million from existing and new investors from Israel, Europe, and North America.

USDA Secretary Mike Johanns announced plans to award more than $5 million to advance technology to a consortium of wheat breeders and scientists at 18 universities led by the University of California, Davis. The consortium is aiming to rapidly identify genes that may produce higher-quality, disease-resistant wheat.

The University of Toronto’s Canadian Program on Genomics and Global Health released a report calling for leaders at this summer’s G8 summit to establish a global network to help resolve potential conflicts between bioterrorism control and biotechnology development.

George Mason University teamed up with the Instituto Superiore di Sanitá in Rome to develop a proteomics research program to discover new drug targets and biomarkers for early cancer detection. Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin will lead the research through George Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine.

Thomas Williams is the new chief science officer and vice president for R&D at Exagen, where he was previously a special advisor for molecular pathology. He is a part-time professor of pathology at the University of New Mexico.

NIH awarded a phase I SBIR grant to Protein Discovery to develop a fractionation system that prepares human serum for high-throughput mass-spectrometry analysis.

Compugen will lead an international consortium developing a platform to simulate the MAP-kinase pathway. The consortium is funded by the European Commission to the tune of €3.1 million over three years.

The Scan

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.

Genome-Wide Analysis Sheds Light on Genetics of ADHD

A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

A mouse-based study appearing in BMC Biology implicates two microRNAs with overlapping target sites in lupus.

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.