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Markers/Short Reads: Jul 1, 2006

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Helicos Biosciences announced the first early access partner to its single-molecule DNA sequencing technology. The Institute for Systems Biology will test-drive the technology, known as True Single Molecule Sequencing, in cancer research. Meanwhile, Helicos hired Steve Lombardi from Affymetrix, to head up marketing.

A group of French and Belgian researchers found that the genetic diversity among Neanderthals was higher than previously thought, based on studies of the sequencing of mitochondrial DNA from a molar sample. Research was led by the Ecole Normale Superieur in Lyon.

PerkinElmer acquired Clinical & Analytical Service Solutions, a UK-based firm specializing in scientific equipment maintenance. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ulf Boberg, previously CEO of Global Genomics, is the new CEO of Affibody, which he joined earlier this year as senior VP for development. Boberg replaces Carl-Johan Dalsgaard, who has been acting CEO and will remain as a non-executive director.

The US FDA and the European Medicines Agency released a set of guidelines describing a joint procedure that will allow drug makers to voluntarily submit pharmacogenomic data to both agencies.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China attended a ceremony at the People’s Congress in Beijing, where the University of Lübeck and the Beijing Genomics Institute formally entered into a cooperation agreement. Huanming Yang and Wang Jing signed on behalf of BGI, while Thomas Martinetz and Rolf Hilgenfeld signed for the University of Lübeck.

BioNanomatrix is in the money. The company has received a grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop a cancer diagnostic prototype, in addition to seed financing from two venture investors, 21 Ventures and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of southeastern Pennsylvania.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada has pledged an additional CA$350,000 to the Atlantic Cod Genomics and Broodstock Development project. The project, expected to run for four years, will be conducted in part by the Huntsman Marine Centre and the Atlantic Genome Centre.

Cepheid has entered into a collaboration with the nonprofit Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics to develop a rapid molecular diagnostic test for tuberculosis. The test, which will run on Cepheid’s GeneXpert system, will detect TB mycobacteria in sputum and determine whether the organisms are drug resistant.

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has granted a free non-exclusive license for its hairpin RNAi technology to BioCassava Plus, a global consortium of plant scientists working to improve the nutritional value of cassava.

Sigma-Aldrich has gained an exclusive license to Rosetta Inpharmatics’ bioinformatics design tools for siRNA research and development purposes. Sigma plans to use the tools to launch human and model organism siRNA whole-genome libraries, to deliver siRNA panels targeted to specific gene families, and to provide access to single-target, predesigned siRNAs through a Web interface.

Windber Research Institute and the Shanghai Center for Bioinformation Technology will jointly develop data integration, visualization, and mining technologies for translational medicine research. The WRI Biomedical Informatics team, headed by Hai Hu, will work closely with the SCBIT, headed by Yixue Li.

Genome Canada will provide more than CA$18.6 million to six science and technology centers over the next 15 months, funding services in DNA sequencing, genotyping, microarrays, proteomics, bioinformatics, genetic analysis, and DNA mapping. The centers serve researchers funded by Genome Canada.

The National Cancer Institute has launched TAILORx, a pharmaco-genomics-based trial for breast cancer treatment. The study will use Oncotype DX, a diagnostic developed by Genomic Health.

ProMetic Life Sciences closed a private stock placement funding round valued at CA$10.8 million. The money will go toward developing a drug to treat anemia in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Harvard Biosciences will cut jobs at the Huntingdon, UK, facility of its Genomic Solutions subsidiary. Though a specific number of jobs was not disclosed, the firm expected to take a charge of $600,000 to $800,000 related to severance and benefits from the step.

The UK’s Medical Research Council renewed its sequencing contract with Cogenics, a division of Clinical Data. MRC also selected Geneservice to be another of its cadre of official DNA sequencing providers.

BitMap, an accredited, tuition-free bioinformatics training program for IT professionals, graduated its first class this spring. The program is sponsored by a $3 million grant from the US Department of Labor.

Lee Jong-Wook, director-general of the World Health Organization, died following a sudden illness on May 22, the opening day of the World Health Assembly. Jong-Wook was 61 years old.

 

 

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.