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SAIC-Frederick, ABI, Dharmacon, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Takara, MDS, Sequenom, Solexa

SAIC-Frederick to Use ABI's TaqMan Collection to Genotype Cancer Samples

The Core Genotyping Facility of SAIC-Frederick, a contractor for the National Cancer Institute, will use Applied Biosystems' genotyping assays to study genetic variations in a number of cancer samples, the two organizations said this week.

SAIC-Frederick will use more than 2,400 of ABI's TaqMan drug metabolism genotyping assays to genotype samples from the International HapMap project and from NCI's SNP500Cancer standard sample panel. In addition, it will use a number of assays to genotype individuals from a study evaluating treatment for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

ABI and the Core Genotyping Facility will jointly analyze the resulting genotyping data and plan to post their findings on the SNP500Cancer website and publish further findings. The aim of the study is to better understand genetic differences associated with responses to cancer treatment.

Fox Chase Cancer Center Joins Dharmacon's Global RNAi Alliance

Dharmacon, a unit of Fisher Biosciences, said this week that Philadelphia's Fox Chase Cancer Center has joined Dharmacon's Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative.

Fox Chase becomes the 11th member of the alliance, and the first new member since the initiative was formed in October.

The alliance aims to use Dharmacon's complete siRNA library to conduct functional genomics screens of genes throughout the human genome.

Chinese Government Allows Takara Bio to Import Research Products

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has allowed Japanese biotech Takara Bio subsidiary Takara Biomedical Technology to import wholesale lab equipment and reagents for biological research.

Takara Biomedical Technology last week began selling in China wholesale products offered by two other Takara Bio subsidiaries, Takara Biotechnology and Clontech, the company said. Takara Biomedical Technology will also export bioscience products manufactured in China, the company added.

Takara acquired multi-platform tool provider Clontech from Becton Dickinson last year for $60 million.

MDS to Wind Down Mass Spec, LC Operations in Montreal to Hasten FDA Investigation

MDS will voluntarily and temporarily wind down all its commercial bioanalytical liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry operations in Montreal in order to accelerate a review by the US Food and Drug Administration, the company announced last week.

MDS, which has a mass spec joint venture with BCW Index firm Applied Biosystems, received a letter from the FDA shortly after the end of the second quarter of 2004 that brought up issues with a bioequivalence study conducted in the company's Montreal facility in 2001. In response to the letter, MDS embarked upon a retrospective review of bioanalytical studies conducted in the facility from 2000 through 2004.

A recent audit by the FDA identified a number of issues pertaining to the effectiveness and management of MDS' five-year review.

"I am disappointed that we have not made progress at the rate necessary on this review," said Stephen DeFalco, president and CEO of MDS. "We are enhancing the leadership and project management of this effort in order to complete this review to the FDA's satisfaction. Finalizing this effort in a high quality way is the top priority for the company."

Commercial activities will continue in MDS' other bioanalytical sites in Lincoln, Neb.; Blainville, Quebec; Zurich; and Sittingbourne, UK, the company said.

Sequenom Increases Private Placement by $3 Million

Sequenom said this week that its previously announced private stock placement has been increased by $3 million to $33 million.

The company said the increase comes with the addition of Siemens Venture Capital to the list of investors taking part in the placement.

Under the terms of the increased transaction, which remains subject to shareholder approval and other closing conditions, Sequenom will issue 60 million shares of common stock and 36 million warrants exercisable at $.70 per share.

The transaction is expected to close by May 31, the company said. Net proceeds from the transaction will be used for general working capital needs.

Solexa to Phase Out MPSS Activities This Year

Solexa plans to discontinue its activities involving Lynx's legacy Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing technology this year and is renegotiating with MPSS customers to provide them with services based on the company's Sequencing-by-Synthesis chemistry, Solexa said in an SEC filing last week.

This is the first time that Solexa has been specific about when it plans to phase out the MPSS technology it inherited from Lynx.

Last May, Solexa CEO John West told BioCommerce Week sister publication BioArray News that the company would continue to offer MPSS through the launch of the SBS-Cluster analysis system, and that it would encourage MPSS customers to switch over time. At that time, Solexa did not provide a timeline.

The Scan

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.

Study Offers Insights Into Role of Structural Variants in Cancer

A new study in Nature using cell lines shows that structural variants can enable oncogene activation.

Computer Model Uses Genetics, Health Data to Predict Mental Disorders

A new model in JAMA Psychiatry finds combining genetic and health record data can predict a mental disorder diagnosis before one is made clinically.

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.